Land is one of the significant productive resources and remains one of the most contentious and essential aspects all over districts in Uganda today. To many people, it’s regarded as a source of political power, cultural identity and further to that it’s used for agriculture by small scale farmers to be able to improve their livelihoods and feed the nation. In most cases, the majority of Uganda’s poor people are rural majorly women whose rights have continued to be trampled upon by the various cultural norms and religious beliefs which are prohibitive to women’s access, control and use of land.
Article 237(1) of the Constitution states that land belongs to the citizens of Uganda and Article 26(1) protects the right to own property either individually or in association with others for instance groups of people who hold land communally. Most citizens in Uganda have rights to their land through four land tenures, customary tenure arrangement representing 75%–80% of landholdings, however, only 15%–26% of the land is formally registered and 7% owned by women yet grow between 70% and 80% of the food crops (World Bank 2019). The World Bank further indicates that of 75%-80% land holdings, only 3.3% access information on land management, dispute resolution, land registration processes, succession among other land rights challenges.
Small-scale farmers in Uganda suffer a variety of issues linked to their land rights, such as disputes and conflicts over land that have an impact on their agricultural productivity. In addition to numerous human rights violations and socioeconomic inequalities, land grabs by investors have resulted in the forcible eviction and destitution of thousands of communities.
The existing laws governing land rights and land use management are often unfamiliar to many small-scale farmers, leaving them open to abuses of their rights like land grabbing. Since 2013, ESAFF Uganda has used a practical, effective, and all-encompassing approach to address the land rights challenges faced by small-scale farmers. This approach primarily entails conducting capacity-building training to give farmers the knowledge and skills they need to address some of the land rights issues in their communities, setting up advocacy meetings with various stakeholders in communities and at the national level to influence favourable policies and laws, and conducting media campaigns.
ESAFF Uganda strengthens the land rights of small-scale farmers to guarantee their food sovereignty using different models. On the 26th of August 2022 during the 2022 Land Awareness Week that was held in western Uganda, ESAFF Uganda officially launched the Land Rights Support Centre with an objective of promoting land rights for inclusive and sustainable development and sustaining communication and discussions between land actors and the affected communities. The Land Rights Support Centre was officially launched by Mr. Abel Bizimana, LC5 Kisoro and Mr. Obbo Denis, Commissioner Communication, MLHUD.
“Some time back, the Ministry of lands started a platform like this but citizens never embraced it. I think this is a good innovation and I want to ask ESAFF Uganda to come to us and see how we should work together on this. I believe if this is done, citizens’ access to information and guidance to critical information to land governance will increase and will help secure land rights of vulnerable people.” Mr. Obbo Denis, Commissioner Communication, MLHUD
“There are so many land issues amongst the communities and this innovation of the Land Rights Support Centre will help restore public confidence in the government’s commitment to fighting land injustices, especially if ESAFF Uganda is to work with the Ministry to run this Centre.” This lLand Rights Support Centre launched today should aid in the quick access of land rights information to citizens and support the reduction of volumes of land case backlogs,” Mr. Abel Bizimana, LC5 Kisoro
The National Coordinator of ESAFF Uganda, Ms. Nancy Mugimba said that there are so many land issues amongst the communities and this innovation of the Land Rights Support Centre will help restore public confidence in the government’s commitment to fighting land injustices. She added that the birth of the Centre was from a huge gap in people's access to land rights information and legal guidance as well as a lack of sustained communications between the communities and land actors. The platform is supporting affected land users to access critical land rights information and legal guidance directly from our revered legal aid team by just a text or voice note through 0776892211
The Land Rights Support Centre can be accessed in the following steps:
Save 0776892211 land rights support centre number
Go to your Whatsapp or SMS platforms
Text or use a voice note on your land rights challenge (s) or issue (s)
Indicate your name, area of residence and personal contact
Send a voice/text/SMS to our legal team
Don’t call; just text/SMS or voice note and thereafter, please sit back, relax and wait for legal advice or information from the team
The Land Right Support Centre works with experienced legal personnel and translators who are working voluntarily. The Centre prioritizes 12 local dialects (Runyankore, Rutooro, Rukiga, Runyoro, Lugbara, Ma'di, Kiswahili, Ateso, Luo, Luganda, Lumasaba and Alur) in which to receive land rights issues. Our revered team of translators translate these different local languages into English and then back to local languages after guidance from the legal team.
The Land Right Support Centre targets building technical and infrastructural capacity to support over 350 people per month. Currently, this Land Right Support Centre is being supported by Oxfam in Uganda under the Power of Voice Partnership.