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Preventive legal empowerment: early alert and action to strengthen rights in the context of land-based investments

For the past decade, foreign investments in land and agriculture (for mining, logging, infrastructure, agro-industries, and conservation purposes) have increased around the world, with Africa being a continent of particular focus. The scale of acquisitions that have taken place across the region have led to numerous injustices and conflicts. However, past actions to support communities to claim and access their rights were reactive and focused on land injustices after they occur. Building on learning from past initiatives in Cameroon and Uganda, this project proposes a paradigm shift. It aims to preventively address conflicts related to land-based investments and elite capture of community lands before violations occur.

In addition to applying a gender and inclusion-analysis framework and an action-research approach, a diverse and multidisciplinary team will develop, pilot, and up-scale innovative new approaches and methods for identifying how to best support and equip communities to proactively develop strategies and actions to preserve their rights. The research will generate new knowledge on how a preventive approach to legal empowerment can contribute to preventing conflict and injustices related to land-based investments. It will strengthen the ability of rural people, particularly women and vulnerable groups, to protect their rights in the face of land-based investments.

This project was selected for funding through a competitive call for proposals entitled “Closing the Justice Gap - A Legal Empowerment Research and Learning Agenda”. The resulting cohort of projects will cover 12 country case studies in West Africa, East and Southern Africa, and Southeast Asia, and include a regional hub for each of those sub-regions. A global knowledge-translation hub will also be established.

Project ID
Project Status
36 months
IDRC Officer
Ramata Thioune
Total Funding
CA$ 787,500.00
Democratic and Inclusive Governance
Institution Country
United Kingdom
International Institute for Environment and Development
Institution Country
Project Leader
Samuel Nguiffo
Centre Pour L'Environnement Et Le Développement
Institution Country
Land and Equity Movement in Uganda (LEMU)