In Uganda, talking about development and poverty reduction cannot be done without taking into account the land question.
Land issues are central in Uganda with the land topic gaining more and more importance. The number of conflicts, both in court and out of court, are undeniably on the rise with tensions increasing and ownership of land becoming a political debate.
The FES Land programme started in 2016. The land programme is meant to bridge the communities, civil society organizations working in land, researchers and academicians on one hand with the policy makers on the other hand. The programme seeks to foster research and facilitate dialogue into key land issues in Uganda and across the region.
The programme aims at opening of the political processes to ensure that protection of land rights, access to land and security of land ownership is achieved for majority of Ugandans and East Africans.
The programme also highlights and disseminates information pertaining to the current issues in the land sector across the country through publications in the hope that there will be policy change for better in the land sector.
In 2016,FES held several national public dialogues that successfully brought together Civil Society Organisations, Government departments, academicians, Policy makers and implementers. The dialogues revolved around land use in relation to food security, the policy, law and practice of compulsory land acquisition especially compensation issues and challenges. FES also convened dialogues about linking the informal dispute resolution mechanisms with the formal dispute resolution mechanisms.
In 2017, the land programme will be more focused on issues related to land rights of women and other vulnerable groups with special attention in the Albertine region. This is because the situation of women and their land rights is dire. Despite the National land policy of 2013, which provides for strategies on addressing gender inequality in landholding and particularly women’s rights to land concerns, it still remains to be seen how this policy framework translates into practice.
Through this programme FES aims at including aspects of social justice such as equal access to land, security of land ownership and equal distribution of wealth by all in the development agenda of the Uganda and the entire East African region.