Thanks for responding Mustafa. Your comments are extremely interesting.
In other discussions on this forum I have stressed that I am a huge fan of community rights recording and registration. If done properly it has the potential to truly empower communities and to facilitate responsible and responsive governance by the political powers.
I am becoming massively concerned, however, that the mapping exercises are being pursued as a ‘total solution’ by various actors and that, as a consequence, programmes of community registration are actually making communities more vulnerable. The primary focus seems to be on creating a map, or a lot of individual maps, rather than an improved governance framework. Often there seems to be an assumption that the map itself improves governance. The same names appear with increasing regularity heralding their success in mapping township X, village Y or community Z but what is the outcome? Are livelihoods improved? Are needs met more effectively? Are revenues more transparent and fair? I recently invite comment on a ‘success’ in India whereby it was claimed that the rights of a million people were protected. As far I can see the outcome simply ties people to their existing property and forbids hem from selling it while the government gains the potential to tax them in perpetuity. Is that all we aspire to? Is that a successful improvement in land rights?
Hopefully you are cataloguing your experiences with the Nubian community thoroughly. It has the potential to be an incredible learning resource that will be able to guide others in similar circumstances and/or to create a more informed debate on future approaches.
I am interested in a particular aspect of your experiences. The whole Namati ethos appears centred on improving rights toward legal empowerment. Securing land rights is typically the starting point of that journey and a lot of material has been developed to guide participants toward better opportunities. What was the background of the person that led the process? The majority of the reports I see outlining approaches to community registration centre on the technical aspects of creating the map and people get very excited by the application of technology so all it proves is how easy it has become to map what were previously complex features.
The difficult bit, that seems to be slipping through the net, is the analysis of that map and the local social structures to define a road map for reform that will improve governance, create employment, provide responsible land use and investment and generate inclusive inclusive outcomes across society.
Those debates can be guided by the adoption of basic checklists derived from the principles of sustainable development tailored to suit local needs but these key issues are often lost in the excitement of “we mapped a 1,000 plots” or " we mapped 500 hectares."
Mapping is a relatively minor component in all of this. It is the dialogue and enforcement of the law that is challenging - but possible.
So please let us know more about your experience Mustafa. And maybe we can invite some of those involved in creating the scenario that the Nubian community finds itself in to contribute.