Civil society and social movements: Advocacy for land and resource rights in Africa

August 2004
Munyaradzi Saruchera and Michael O Odhiambo (PLAAS Policy Brief 12)

Civil society formations in Africa have historically played an important part in the establishment of organising people in the pursuit of common goals. The majority of Africa’s people reside in rural areas where they derive their livelihoods from land, and for this majority secure access to land is the foundation of any efforts to alleviate poverty. Land reforms in Africa are at various stages of development in a number of countries, partly in response to pressures for liberalisation and privatisation from the World Bank and other like-minded institutions. Civil society organisations have played an important role in the development of progressive policies in some countries. The lessons learned from those countries must be applied in continuing advocacy for reforms which increase access among the poor to land and resource rights.