The Baseline Evaluation Report launched by Search for Common Ground shows that agreater percentage of the population in Port Loko, Pujehun and Bombali District lack knowledge on the country’s Land Policy.
It aims at increasing popular understanding of land rights in communities affected by corporate land concessions, promote equitable land rights in the three districts covered by the report .
According to the Design, Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator, SaaBandabla 98.9% of the total number of respondents from four hundred and eight households in thirteen villages in the three Districts stated that they had no knowledge on the land policy being prepared by the Ministry of Lands while the few informed, disclosed that they were deceived that the companies will provide social amenities in their communities.
The survey is part of the cooperate agreement between Search for Common Ground and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) which is aimed at promoting equitable land rights in the three districts and to generally strengthen equitable natural resource management in Sierra Leone.
He explained that information about the people’s perception and knowledge about key land issues among others were articulated around access to information on land issues, understanding of land legislation and rights by citizens, improvement in land management, citizens’ mobilization to monitoring land management and demand transparency, citizens’ engagement and participation in dialogues around land allocation and use.
The report further stated that greater a percentage of the communities are not involved in land lease agreements decision.
It was recommended that the contents of the land policy being formulated by government should be made known to the public and decisions-making processes around land transactions are transparent and inclusive.
The report also recommended that land-owners and users should be sensitized on the essence of proper documentation around land transactions or negotiations in each of the three districts, as that will minimize conflict.
It was equally recommended that forums should be established in the districts where competent local authorities in land policies and agreements interface and dialogue with communities around land transactions.
Wednesday May 13, 2014