2030 Agenda, Gender-Responsive Development, Land + Housing

Trainer of Trainers Workshop on Gender-Responsive Land Tools

Hosted by Uganda Community Based Association for Child Welfare (UCOBAC) in partnership with the UN-Habitat Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) and the Huairou Commission, grassroots and government leaders convened in February 2017 in Kireka, Uganda, to undergo peer-to-peer learning on pro-poor and gendered land tools. 8 men and 22 women represented 8 districts of Uganda and Zambia and multiple organizations and agencies: Uganda Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development (MLHUD); ACTogether/SDI; Action for Women and Awakening in Rural Environment (AWARE), Slum Women Initiative for Development (SWID); Kawempe Home Based Care Alliance (KHBCA); People’s Process on Housing and Poverty in Zambia (PPHPZ); and others.


In opening the workshop, each participant was given an opportunity to define ‘land tool’ according to their understanding, with some insightful responses:

• Land tools are guidelines that help people to understand their rights and usage of land and to solve their land-related disputes.
• Anything like a policy that provides clarity on improved land tenure security.
• A tool for solving land issues and management. It also helps grassroots people to understand how land is handled.
• Refers to legislation, policies and policy framework to manage, protect and ensure equitable access to land and all persons concerned.

When asked to share experiences and procedures of processing a freehold land title, workshop participants responded that it is a tedious, lengthy and expensive process; overall, it was clear that the existing system in Uganda is inimical to the grassroots, who can neither afford to pay for each of the steps involved nor unravel the many technicalities. On a global scale, these same challenges are amplified when coupled with the complexity of land rights, climate change and natural disasters, rapid urbanization and population growth, and resource conflicts. Such challenges cause particular strain for rural and grassroots women as drivers of food security.


“Almost 80 percent of agricultural production in this country [Uganda] is by women; so if they do not have equal access, control and ownership of land, they cannot be motivated to continue producing food for the nation.”
– Dr. Samuel Mabikke, UN-Habitat GLTN


That’s where two main pro-poor and gender-responsive land tools come in: the Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM) and Gender Evaluation Criteria (GEC). The Huairou Commission has worked closely with UN-Habitat and GLTN partners to develop these tools, which have proven successful in research, pilots, and implementation. Furthermore, these tools can be customized to suit a particular community context.

Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM)

Adjumani Paramount Chief capturing social data using a tablet.

STDM is an open-source tool, also participatory and community-driven, which collects spatial data using Global Positioning System (GPS). It has been used to map and profile formal and informal settlements in both rural and urban areas to improve tenure security and to clearly delineate and register a person’s or communal property. In this way, STDM can be of great help in resolving existing land conflicts over demarcation or boundaries. The GPS coordinates used with STDM are permanent, thus making it a more secure system than, for example, the mark stones that are currently used in Uganda to mark land boundaries.


One of the greatest advantages of STDM is that it can be used by a layperson with minimal guidance, instead of incurring the costs of hiring a land surveyor. So after learning about the STDM conceptual model, participants took their knowledge to the field to test it out. Guided by a team from ACTogether, participants successfully carried out a mapping and enumeration exercise in Nabusugwe-Misindye village in Goma division, Mukono district. Trainees additionally learned how to import data from the GPS into the QGIS/STDM system to produce property maps.


Gender Evaluation Criteria (GEC)

Participants were then introduced to the GEC, which is a set of 22 questions under 6 criteria. These questions are designed to analyze the gender responsiveness of land policies and practices; in other words, they check whether the requirements and priorities of women and men have been considered, and foster improved access to land tenure for people of all genders.


Overall, participants were pleased with the new knowledge gained from the workshop and the ability to network with other organizations utilizing these innovative land tools. Moving forward, they requested additional training to more fully comprehend the STDM software and that grassroots youth (who are enthusiastic about acquiring technological skills) to be incorporated into the initiative.

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