Friday, September 28, 2012

Land rights research gets $12m US funding

The United States Agency for International development (USAID) has committed $12 million to fund a study on land related issues in the country.

The five-year project seeks to find solutions to wrangles emanating from land, the single most cause of conflict, especially in rural areas.

The USAID vice president in Rwanda, Brian Frantz, made the announcement during a workshop to discuss land related issues in Kigali on Wednesday.

The three-day workshop brought together officials from the Ministry of Natural Resources, USAID, NGOs, and universities, among others, to consider the priority areas of the study.

“USAID has different issues it supports (in the country) but land issues research will be addressed during this period,” Frantz stated.

He noted that his organisation would support research in selected areas to help the government and other stakeholders to solve land conflicts.

”The land project was designed in five years and Abunzi, community mediators, will be trained to acquire enough knowledge to solve land disputes,” he revealed.

“Abunzi have previously been criticised as having acted as judges rather than playing their role as mediators but they also play a critical role in solving land disputes”.

USAID’s chief of party of the land project, Anna Knox, said; “Through hosting a workshop dedicated to establish the most critical land related policy research priorities, the land project will have the basis to support Rwandan researchers on this through competitive subcontracts.” 

The selected priorities are inheritance and succession law and practice in relation to land rights, land use consolidation about environmental and socio-economic impact, assessment of the determinant factors of land market value and mapping land dispute resolution processes and institution and making comparisons.

Qualified researchers will be helped through the USAID support to find the solutions and measures taken to resolve them.

 The acting Director General in charge of Land and Mapping at the Ministry of Natural Resources, Pothin Muvala, appreciated USAID’s initiative to support the study saying land issues still persist.

“When the research is carried out in these selected areas, it will help implementers to know where they are, their weaknesses and improve their jobs thanks to the research results.”

Article from the Newtimes

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