Through USAID’s Supporting Access to Justice, Fostering Equity and Peace Program, NCSC works in partnership with local government and civil society organizations to bolster access to justice, increase the recognition of land rights, and improve land administration systems.
The SAFE program has trained more than 1,600 government officials responsible for land administration, provided legal aid services to resolve land disputes to more than 8,500 people, and raised public awareness for many thousands more on land rights through community sensitization activities and media campaigns.
In the village of Kakwesa in Masindi district (a large district in eastern Uganda where land tensions are particularly high) the SAFE program assisted 89 families (approximately 746 people). In 2014, the families use of land was disputed, resulting in turmoil affecting the entire community. The SAFE program conducted a community dialogue in Kakwesa, educating the residents that they could challenge attempts at land-grabbing which are common in the district. Working closely with the Area Land Committee, tribal elders and local political leadership, SAFE supported community members to defend their rights, and residents were encouraged to create demarcations on their land boundaries and legalize their land ownership through documentation. As a result of SAFE intervention, 18 families in Kakwesa have now applied for customary ownership documentation.
The USAID SAFE Program is a five-year initiative to improve access to justice and strengthen local capacity to mitigate conflict, particularly in northern Uganda. SAFE provides technical assistance, training, and capacity-building for non-governmental organizations and local governmental institutions. For more information, please visit www.safeprogram.ug.