UN-HABITAT and the Global Land Tool Network last year conducted a three-day workshop to validate a new training course on improving gender equality and grassroots participation in land governance. The training took place in Naivasha, Kenya from 17-19 November 2009.
The objectives of the training were facilitating the understanding of the concept of land governance, showing the link between good land governance and gender equality as well as genuine grassroots participation and exploring, identifying and unpacking competencies that contribute to good land governance.
Twenty six participants drawn from 17 countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean attended the training. Of these, 14 were women. In terms of institutional affiliation, the experience and expertise that the training brought together was likewise diverse and well suited to achieving the training objectives. People from academia made notable methodological contributions while those from government and civil society reflected on challenges and opportunities from their respective vantage points.
Vulnerable groups, women and the poor face disadvantages in securing land and property, in many countries of the developing world in both rural and urban settings. The GLTN training package is a response to these disadvantages. The package brings out basic principles of good land governance and links them up with intractable gender and grassroots issues that stand in the way of realizing equal property rights as well as genuine community ownership of land interventions.
UN-HABITAT and GLTN emphasise that good governance involves participation of a wide cross-section of society, including women and the grassroots. The training package explores some of the knowledge and skills that can be developed, and the approaches that can be used, to improve land governance. More specifically, it worked on building the competencies and internalising values underlying good land governance, such as inclusiveness, negotiation, conflict resolution, enabling and communicating competencies. The training targets surveyors, land administrators, urban planners, policy makers and community advocates on land and housing matters.
One of the highlights of the training was the candid and intense discussions that took place between civil society actors and those working in government land and housing departments. These two have different and at time conflicting perspectives on issues, but came to conclude that training opportunities like this one could contribute to build bridges. It is against this background that training participants underlined that governments and land administrators can, and should, use targeted strategies and approaches to effectively protect land and housing rights of women and other vulnerable groups.
At the end of the training, participants in the workshop developed action plans to work with a variety of partners to take the training agenda forward into their daily working activities. UN-HABITAT and GLTN will finalise the training course and materials in the next months before disseminating it widely. Materials will then be available on the UN-HABITAT and GLTN websites.