Walking with villagers: How Liberia’s Land Rights Policy was shaped from the grassroots

October 2014
IIED, Sustainable Development Institute and NAMATI (Ali Kaba and Gaurav Madan)

In Liberia it is estimated that around half the country’s land mass has been promised to foreign companies and investors. From 2009-11 the Sustainable Development Institute and NAMATI embarked on an action research project to support rural communities to protect, document, and manage their customary lands and natural resources. Drawing from lessons learned in the field, they sought to bring the voices and realities from rural Liberia to influential policymakers. In 2012-3 they embarked on a policy advocacy campaign utilising a diverse set of tactics to influence Liberia’s newly proposed Land Rights Policy. The Policy, passed in 2013, is an historic and progressive document which recognises and guarantees customary land ownership to rural communities in an unprecedented way. Provides insights that may be of interest to practitioners in other countries engaging in land reforms.