Land Dispute Mitigation on the Way -As 15 Liberians to Benefit from Foreign Training

By: Rancy S. Teewia

Liberia stands to benefit from a training program from the Swedish International Development Agency SIDA) in collaboration with Lantmateriet for 15 persons to build their capacity on applied land governance as part of the  ways of mitigating the chaotic situation associated with urban land ownership in the country and Africa. Liberia will be sharing the same opportunity with Zimbabwe which has had its own share of crisis for land ownership.

Making the disclosure on Friday Aug. 20, 2021, at the one meeting with the Liberia Land Authority and other stakeholders in Monrovia, the ITP project manager Lennart Wastesson said the total number of participants is limited to 30 per course and 15 participants per country.

Mr. Wastesson asserted that the main objectives of the Programme is to strengthen capacity and cooperation between institutions and organisations in the land sector. “This in order to make a difference on the ground to enhance the living conditions for poor and vulnerable people living mainly in peri-urban and urban areas,” he added.

He noted that this Program is aimed to give participants new tools and knowledge on how to approach and elevate a settlement towards formal status with increased security of ownership and access to land as a result.

The ITP project Manager further stressed that the project will strengthen knowledge, capacity and awareness among the participants to influence and inspire their home organization, initiating improvements in line with adopted national plans and policies for the land sector.

“This covers aspects of accountability, transparency, effectiveness and quality of service delivery for women and men with different ethnic backgrounds. It is essential that selected change projects derive from the local context and are implemented by participants’ organizations,” he said.

He said the program is divided into 3 courses with different participants, each to last one year. Noting that each course will have its own change project with a strong local ownership and experiences and results achieved will be handed over to the next course.

According to him the SIDA funded, Lantmateriet project will address inventory and deeding of government land in Bensonville, Montserrado county, adding that the initiative will place prime priority on cluster areas of land dispute in Montserrado County.

Also speaking at the one day stakeholders meeting, the Superintendent of Montserrado County Madam Florence Freeman Brandy extolled the Swedish government for their initiative to disengage Liberia from land quandary. She said over the years there have been chaotic scrambling over land ownership in Liberia and this initiative from the Swedish government will help to regulate the land sector of the country in an honorable way.

Madam Brandy said this training is very significant because impacting knowledge is the best thing to do in order to handle a difficult situation. “This training is good because impacting knowledge is the best thing. Our young people will go there and get trained and when they come back they will be professional, responsible in handling land cases and attitude toward ownership so we want to thank the Swedish government for such a good opportunity,” Madam extolled.

She also said the proper regulation of land will help the government of Liberia in revenue generation for the development of the country.

At same time the Liberia Commissioner for Land Administration J. Josephus Burgess Sr. said his focus as a Commissioner is to see the land sector of Liberia improved to the level that there will be proper security and land information available, accessible to help the general public.

“If you look at the land sector in the country and take into consideration our past system on land governance was very weak, lack of land information and because of that there are lots of dubious and fraudulent deeds taking place in the country.

He also said the training is very important because they will be able to have the capacity of people and also build the capacity of the country on land governance, noting that there will be intensive training for the community people to broaden their knowledge on land matters.

Commissioner Burgess said one of the serious predicaments that Liberia is facing right now is that there is no institution to teach land administration which has been one of the serious bottlenecks in the sector.

“Over 34 years now up to present there is no formal training on land administration so this training will help Liberia with expertise in the land sector not only to the land authority but to the Liberian people, meaning every information about land in the country will be on the website and with a well-designed system. And if you come to me and say I want to buy your land that land information will be on the website and you will read about the land yourself so there will be no dubious deeds and fraudulent attitude anyone,” Commissioner Burgess added.

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