Within the framework of the Burundi Resilience and Landscape Restoration Project (PRRPB), the communes of Isare (Bujumbura province) and Buhinyuza (Muyinga province) benefit from support for the establishment and operation of services in charge of formalising land rights by issuing land certificates (LC) to owners. The activities of the ‘land certification’ component of the PRRPB are implemented by the group of companies IGN FI (www.ignfi.com) – GEOFIT (www.geofit.fr ) and LADEC (www.ladec.bi). What changes does this formalisation of customary rights bring about in the daily lives of the populations? This question was answered during the field visit of the World Bank supervision mission and the PRRPB project steering committee. This visit took place on Wednesday 23 November 2022 in ISARE Commune, then on Thursday 24 November 2022 in Buhinyuza Commune. During this visit, more than 500 LC were handed over to the beneficiaries.
Systematic land certification, an approach that significantly contributes to the reduction of land conflicts and social cohesion.
The land services of the communes supported by the PRRPB secure private land rights using two approaches: individual and systematic. The first approach, which has a limited impact, consists of processing individual requests for certification. In contrast, the systematic approach, also known as ‘Grouped Recognition Operations’ (OGR), concerns all land in a given area. In the PRRPB’s area of action, systematic land certification has covered 22 hills, including 10 in the Isare Commune and 12 in the Buhinyuza Commune.
The OGR approach is very much appreciated by communal administrators. Indeed, on the OGR hills, land certification has greatly contributed to social cohesion in households and communities.
“The Commune has seen a considerable reduction in land conflicts from the hills already covered by OGR,” says Gilbert Niyonkuru, administrator of the Isare Commune. In the Buhinyuza commune, Espérance Ndayisenga, Communal Administrator, also testifies that ‘the OGR constitute an appropriate framework for the peaceful management of land conflicts, so that cases of accusations of witchcraft, which are basically rooted in land conflicts, have been greatly reduced in the OGR hills’.
It should be noted that the rate of conflicts managed by mediation during land surveys in the field is 67%, the rest of the conflicts being referred to the judicial authorities.
Systematic land certification, a favourable framework for the protection of the land rights of women and vulnerable groups.
Women are happy to be taken into account in the land certification process. According to Séverin Nibitanga, Managing Director of LADEC and head of mission of the IGN FI-GEOFIT-LADEC consortium, 70% of the land certificates bear the names of women, alone or with their spouses, which contributes to the reduction of conflicts within households. The women affirm that they will redouble their efforts to exploit the certified land on behalf of their families.
According to a couple from the Isare Commune, the land certificate is also a godsend for families seeking credit from microfinance institutions, which accept financing for micro-projects in exchange for a guarantee of the document.
“My land certificate, my diploma”, says a resident of Benga hill with a smile on his face, having just collected his land certificate, as if to say everything about the importance of this document.
Land certification also involves other vulnerable groups such as the Batwa. The only limitation is that they have little land. It should be noted that the PRRP has helped the Batwa to acquire about 50 hectares of land, by employing them in the protection and development work of the RUVUBU nature reserve.
Another step forward…
Systematic land certification is an approach that requires significant technical, financial and human resources. If the results achieved in the two communes of Isare and Buhinyuza are satisfactory, it is thanks to the support of the PRRPB.
Land certificates have been produced for 21 hills, i.e. 30,581 for Buhinyuza and 51,254 CF for Isare. The production rate of land certificates is 88%.