A voice for local communities on land issues

Posted on 19 February 2014    
Community views are vital in the policy formulation process
© WWF/Johnstone Mulary
Land is perceived to be the most priced possession among the majority of Kenyans. Its control and development is such a vital cog in the development of this country that an entire chapter exists in the Constitution of Kenya 2010; that addresses the issues of land and the environment.

The Community Lands Bill is currently being drafted, and with many regions in Kenya having large swathes of community land, WWF felt that it was necessary to get involved in this key law to ensure that communities fully benefit from the resource they possess.

WWF Kenya working closely with the Kenya Land Alliance (KLA) organized community forums that scrutinized this piece of legislation. Forums were organized in Lamu (bringing together communities from Lamu and Tana River counties), Mombasa (bringing together communities from Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale counties), Eldoret (bringing together community members from Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet and Nandi counties) and finally in Narok (bringing together communities from this vast county).

The input from communities were consolidated and submitted to the Secretariat of the Land Reforms Transformation Unit, then forwarded to the Commission for Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) then ultimately to the Kenyan Cabinet for consideration.

The community members were keen in identifying the contradicting sections in this law. More specifically, gender equality was of particular concern, where recommendations were provided that would see the two thirds gender rule being applied in the community assembly which would galvanize the participation of men and women in ratifications made by these local bodies. Additionally, benefit sharing was discussed with recommendations being provided that will see a clear benefit-sharing plan defined within the law.

This exercise is a demonstration of the participatory approach towards formulating relevant legislation that WWF is championing in the country.

By Virginia Kamau

Community views are vital in the policy formulation process
© WWF/Johnstone Mulary Enlarge

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