TNRF's diary from knowledge to action: Experience with the Community Land Initiative

While villagers still struggle with using current legal frameworks to access land rights in Tanzania, the government plans to trigger yet another revised national land law. Our team learnt how to help communities make the most of the upcoming legislation. 

In Nyeri, Kenya a community land protection-learning initiative teaches land activists, including two of us from the Tanzania Natural Resource Forum (TNRF) how to help villages access and secure lands using varied approaches.

“Indigenous people do not know laws and legal systems that permits them to understand their rights,” says Gonzalo Varillas, a lawyer and land rights activist working for the Environmental Management and Law Corporation (ECOLEX) in Ecuador.

Gonzalo’s over 15 years of working with indigenous communities in the Amazon helped him establish legal systems are out of touch with communities. “Legal systems are for people living in the cities,” he says.

Ecuador is about 8 000 miles from Tanzania. Yet, problems villagers face in the Amazon is somehow close to what our people in Dodoma, Iringa and Chemba in Tanzania witness. With goals to learn better ways of teaching men and women in villages how to claim and protect their community lands, my colleague, Masalu Luhula and I (Digna Irafay) from TNRF joined the community land co-learning initiative workshop.

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