Community-based monitoring of land acquisition. Lessons from the Buseruka oil refinery in Uganda

June 2015
IIED (Bashir Twesigye)

Under Ugandan law a person whose land is identified for a public purpose must be compensated fairly, promptly, and prior to the acquisition of the property. But often laws and best practices remain on paper only. Many individual landowners are often ignorant about their basic rights, and lack the capacity and courage to speak out against injustice meted on them by development projects. The decision by the Ugandan government to construct an oil refinery meant that over 1,200 households were to be displaced. A community-based monitoring tool was used to empower people affected by the project to be aware of their rights and responsibilities. As a result community monitors spoke from an informed and knowledgeable position which influenced the resettlement process in a positive way. The experiences in the application of this tool provide important lessons, notably that it is important to tailor the tool to local contexts, needs and capacities.