A land they can finally call their own

Alegria Bambi, 53, lives in the community of Kandona, in the province of Bie, southern centre of Angola. “I was born and raised here, this land belonged to my great grandfather. My family was here since 1940, so I feel part of this land”, says Alegria. He has been a farmer for his entire life. Land for him is significant. He has a small plot where he grows maize, cassava, sweet potato, ginger, peanuts and other crops but he never had a legal title.

For millions of families living in the rural areas of Angola, access to land is a vital issue. Land represents much more than just an asset for these people. Apart from economic value for all kinds of livelihoods, it has social and cultural significance as it represents shelter, a sense of belonging, a legacy received from the ancestors and can be handed over to the future generations.

He is aware that the land is a property of the state, but Alegria did not know that they can claim their right over the land they occupy. A household which have no access to land is likely to face food insecurity and children are the most affected by these issues. In the long term, the lack of opportunities in the rural areas may force young generations to move to the cities.

World Vision launched Securing Land Tenure and Natural Resource Management for Improved Food Security in Central Angola Project to help empower national, provincial and municipal level government, organizations and communities to facilitate the recognition of tenure rights. In the provinces of Bié and Huambo, all land tenure matters are dealt with following the rules and regulations stated in the law.

For the farming families of the central highlands, the principles of the existing customary system are still widely observed. Village territories are administered under the leadership of traditional leaders depending on the needs of the families, considering the availability of arable land for all families, with allowances being made for other needs.

Through the project and after carrying out the Participatory Rural Delimitation (DRP) with the project staff, the community of Kandona obtained the legal title over the land they occupy for a long time. Eighty-four families, including Alegria’s, together with their 154 children, now have security over their land.

Domingos Camalata, a World Vision staff says, “The DRP in Kandona community was very good. The community showed a great interest in the project and was enthusiastic with the possibility of legalizing their land. Community participation increased especially among women. The project supported 12 communities, benefitting approximately 2,400 families with 2,600 children.

Alegria and the rest of the community officially received their title in a ceremony that took place on 19th of July 2016 handed by the Bié Provincial Vice-Governor who encouraged the community to make a productive use of the land. “I am truly grateful for the work that has been done, now my entire family can live and cultivate this land peacefully”, says Alegria.

The project helped enhance the skills of technical staff from local administrations on issues related with land administration and the implementation of a digital cadaster at provincial level. The tool is tailored on the needs of the provincial governments, and will provide a significant improvement in terms of transparency, accountability, and efficiency of the land registration system.

Camalata adds, “The DRP methodology helps communities to think about their history, and their relationship with the land. It allows communities to actively participate in the delimitation process, as required in the Land Law. For the technicians that lead the implementation, the methodology permits to collect information relating the community and the territory in a structured way.”

In October 2015, the Provincial Government of Bié issued a by-law defining the process for the registration of collective land titles in benefit of traditional rural communities. This is an important milestone, not only for the project, but also for the country. Since then, twelve communities received their official title over land and twelve more are awaiting for the final approval from the provincial Governor.

It is anticipated that, at the end of the project on December 2017, 150 communities will be supported through the participatory delimitation and through the registration process. At present, over 100 communities have started the process and over 50 are now being supported in the registration.