Kenya
Redressing Historical Land Injustices

Contract: May 2021 – November 2021

Funds: Various

Implementor: IMPACT Trust; Wumweri Ghodu CBO (WG); Ogiek Peoples’ Development Program (OPDP)

Project Summary

This Strategic Response Mechanism provides timely and urgent support to Kenya’s rural and customary communities seeking to compile and file their claims with the National Land Commission to redress historical land injustices.

Context

The question of who owns the lands and natural resources has long been a major source of conflict in Kenya. An avenue to redress historical land injustices in Kenya opened in 2010 when Kenya adopted a new constitution, which set in place significant reforms on land governance, use, and ownership. It also paved the way for the creation of the National Land Commission in 2012, which is mandated to receive, investigate, and redress communities’ claims against historical land injustices. Communities can claim for land that was stolen from them during colonial occupation or due to occupation by government agencies, individuals or conservation agencies. While these claims are referred to as ‘historical,’ they present ongoing injustices that must be redressed immediately.

How did we help?

Through its Strategic Response Mechanism, RRI’s collaborators in Kenya helped 35 communities to collate, document, and submit their Historical Land Injustice claims to the National Land Commission. RRI collaborators IMPACT, Wumweri Ghodu, and OPDP provided communities knowledge support and training on strengthening their claims and helped them provide them in a timely manner to meet the Land Commissions’ filing deadlines.

The impact

  • RRI collaborator IMPACT supported the compilation and submission of 10 historical land injustices claims from three counties (Laikipia, Samburu and Meru) which affects an estimated 439,259 hectares of land. It provided training to three communities to strengthen their claims, supported their self-organization, and coordinated their Free, Prior and Informed Consent for each of the claims.
  • Wumweri Ghodu supported the compilation of 35 claims for 21 communities in five counties (Taita Taveta, Kwale, Lamu, Tana River, and Kilifi), 29 of which were submitted to the NLC. Interviews, data collection, and technical support sessions were conducted to assist communities in the submission process.
  • OPDP supported the submission of eight claims, seven of which were for Ogiek communities and one for an Endorois community, totaling 130,000 hectares affecting approximately 79,000 people, and was covered by local media. Women and youth helped draft the claims and used oral and archival evidence to complement the technical legal expertise needed to compile the claims.