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Professional Learning Programme

The Professional Learning Programme

On June 26th, 2019, LANDac launched the Professional Learning Programme on Land Governance and Field Mediation. The programme brings together professionals working on sustainable and/or inclusive land governance in a community of practice. While working at NGOs, governmental agencies, universities or businesses,  these LANDac fellows (based in different African countries) will exchange experiences and best practices. Furthermore, they will bring stakeholders together in the field to identify ways to make land-based investments – whether in agriculture, infrastructure, nature conservation or natural resource extraction – more inclusive and sustainable. 


Over the years, through extensive research and multi-stakeholder projects like the Land Forum , CityForum, the Securing Women’s Land Rights in Africa Program and Learning Platforms, we have found that when it comes to (foreign) investments in land in the global South, the quality of environmental and social impact assessments (ESIAs) tends to be poor and does not allow for mapping the full range of socio-economic impact pathways. Often, engagement with local communities takes place at the tail end of investment preparations and the level of community participation is limited. Due to the lack of information, expectations about the benefits of the investments are often not met and there is no systematic approach of monitoring or keeping communities ‘in the loop’. There is a clear need for more knowledge about ‘best practices’: how do we ensure Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), fair consultation processes and equal benefit sharing between investors and communities? Through learning and exchange, this programme aims to address those questions.

The programme

The programme launch took place on the 26th of June, 2019 in Utrecht, the Netherlands. This year, the first eight LANDac fellows will come together in Utrecht for a learning and exchange trajectory prior to the LANDac Annual International Conference on July 4-5. After also participating in the LANDac Summer School ‘Land Governance for Development’, fellows will return to their home base from where they will monitor land-based investments and bring together communities, investors, NGOs and the (local) government to identify opportunities to make investments more beneficial for local groups (e.g. men, women youth, farmers, etc) . During a year, LANDac will continuously facilitate learning and exchange between fellows, between fellows and LANDac partners, and LANDac will organise another exchange meeting in the Netherlands in June 2020.

With the programme, LANDac creates an international network of land governance fellows that regularly comes together for learning and exchange. By expanding the network each year with a new group of fellows, LANDac aims to strengthen its ties with professionals on the ground and contribute to more sustainable and inclusive investments.

The Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) and the UN-Habitat Sudan Country Programme, in close collaboration with the United Nations Country Read more
In the newly lanched blog series, LANDac fellows from the Professional Learning Programme share their experiences in the field. '"This Read more
To download the programme brief, click here. Read more

Introducting the 2019 LANDac Fellows  

Ethiopia: Bethelehem Fikre Beyene (Coordinator, Ethiopian Netherlands Business Association)
Betelehem is currently working for the Ethiopian Netherlands Business Association (ENLBA), where she brings together and assists Dutch companies that (want to) invest in Ethiopia. Before working for the ENBA, Betelehem worked for different investment companies as a communication officer and business analyst, and advised the United Nations Migration Agency on monitoring guidelines for rural job opportunity strategies. Betelehem obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Administrative Services Management at Addis Ababa University and her Master’s degree in Social Policy for Development at the Erasmus University.

Senegal: Elhadji Faye (Program Coordinator, Enda Pronat Senegal)
Elhadji Faye is a rural development expert, with a background in rural sociology (BA) and rural development (MSc). At the NGO Enda Pronat, ElHadji focuses specifically on land and natural resource governance. Land transactions and (foreign) investments are a major part of his work. For ElHadji represents his organisation in a network organization called CRAFS: the Framework for Dialogue and Action on Land in Senegal. CRAFS was initiated by Enda Pronat together with farmers associations, and supports local communities in securing their land rights. CRAFS also mediates when conflict is the result of land transactions. Last but not least, Elhadji is involved in the Observatory on Land Governance that tracks land acquisitions and dynamics in Senegal.

Kenya: Fridah Githuku (Executive Director, GROOTS Kenya)
As head of GROOTS Kenya, Fridah leads a grassroots movement that champions land tenure security for women and marginalized groups. Fridah advocates for a bottom-up and rights-based approach toward tenure security and has worked to build and disseminate evidence on the importance of land rights for women through the Women2Kilimanjaro Initiative and LANDac’s Women’s Land Rights Programme. Fridah has a Bachelors in Arts-Economics and Political Science.

Ethiopia: Hiwot Tadesse (Agricultural Value Chain Facilitator, Resilience BV Ethiopia)
With a background in Economics and Development Policy Analysis, Hiwot is currently working for Resilience BV to consult (Dutch) agribusinesses in Ethiopia. Over the past years, through her work within agribusiness consultancy, Hiwot has knowledge and experience working together in a multi stakeholder context with businesses, farmers and governmental actors. In a context in which land disputes have led to displacement, violence and political turmoil, Hiwot aims to assist both communities and investors to solve land disputes and set clear and effective agendas. 

Uganda: Junior Alves Sebbanja (Physical Planner ACTogether Uganda)
Junior Sebbanja is a physical planner currently working at ACTogether in Kampala, Uganda. At ACTogether, as an assistant Program Officer, Junior supports urban poor communities organized in the National Slum Dwellers Federation of Uganda. Junior specializes in participatory data collection and planning activities together with urban poor communities. For example, in collaboration with IHS, Junior supervised a research team that aimed to understand how land values have influenced the distribution of urban population in both Kampala and Arua region. Through his work and the challenges he encounters related to urban growth and development, Junior is committed to address and learn more about issues of urban land governance and securing the rights of vulnerable groups in the city.

Mozambique: Nzira de Deus (Executive Director, Fórum Mulher)
At Fórum Mulher, a network of organisations that promote gender equality and women’s rights, Nzira initiated a rural women’s network where women farmers share their challenges and work together for their rights. Nzira has managed the LANDac Women’s Land rights Programme and is part of the Coordination Committee of the International Civil Society Mechanism for the United Nations Committee for food security. She has a background in International Relations and Diplomacy, Local and Territorial Development and Leadership and Management Projects in Gender Approaches.

Sudan: Salaheldin Abukashawa (Program Manager, ISTIDAMA Centre for Land and Environmental Governance)
As a land mapping specialist from Sudan, Salaheldin has worked on land governance for the past seven years. Before he initiated the Centre for Land and Environmental Governance in Sudan (the ISTIDAMA Centre), where he works as a strategist, researcher and lecturer, Salaheldin worked as a manager at the Ministry of Physical Planning. Salaheldin obtained a master’s degree in International Relations, Geoinformation Science and Earth Observations at the University of Twente and a Bachelor’s degree in Surveying Engineering.

Uganda: Teddy Kisembo (Researcher, Urban Action Lab Makerere University)
Teddy is a an urban planner and researcher working on urban resilience projects in Uganda, with previous experience as a supervisor for IIED and the Young African Refugees for Integral Development on a project on Refugees’ access to health and infrastructure services in East Africa. She obtained a Master’s degree in Land Use and Regional Development at Makerere University and collaborated with the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS) on spatial inequality, urban transitions and complex land markets. Her interest as a LANDac fellow lies in her experience working on flood risk management investments and resettlement in Kampala.

Would you like to know more?

Is your organisation interested to have one of your employees become a LANDac fellow and join the programme? It is a great opportunity for your organisation to gain in-depth knowledge and skills on sustainable and inclusive land governance and become part of a broad and international network. We still have a few spots available! Contact Romy Santpoort (