Expanding Access to Land Services in Zambia
Land is the most valuable asset of rural stakeholders, yet in Zambia the vast majority of the population has no ownership documentation over the land they farm or rely on for their livelihoods. While growing, global efforts seek to support large scale, systematic documentation of such rural land rights, keeping this information updated is a challenge.
Tetra Tech, through the U.S. Agency for International Development-funded Tenure and Global Climate Change (TGCC) project, is adapting and extending the existing information system and tools used by the Zambia Ministry of Health and community health officers to promote the expansion of access to land services to the village level by leveraging a tool the community has experience using—mobile technology.
We are partnering with local experts to integrate land administration tools into a much larger government-sponsored health information and collection system. Because this system is already used successfully in Zambia’s health sector, our approach builds on existing individual reporting capabilities and lowers costs of program development, training, and equipment purchases.
This approach provides a mobile tool on a low-cost phone linked to a dynamic database that allows community land committees to request new land parcel demarcations and transfer parcels to new individuals after a resident dies or leaves the community. It supports planning and decision making by providing real-time data about land disputes, meetings on land issues, and applications for changes to land status to chiefs and government leaders.
Through TGCC, and in collaboration with our subcontractor AKROS, Tetra Tech developed this innovation in an effort to provide a simple approach for communities to report on land ownership changes, and as a reference tool for communities, chiefs, and government officials to monitor land disputes in real-time.
Our system currently is being tested and implemented with more than 10,000 people in 154 villages across five chiefdoms over the course of three years. Since the system’s launch, our team has received more than 150 records of land disputes and more than 175 requests for community land mapping support. The Tetra Tech team also has received positive feedback from chiefs who now have a way to monitor and effectively manage their community’s land allocation, thus preventing future disputes and resulting in systemized land access and rights distribution across Zambia.