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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 LANDforum, CITYforum, the Securing Women’s Land Rights in Africa Programme 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

LANDac launched the programme in 2019, bringing together 10 researchers and practitioners working on the impacts of land-based investments in sub-Saharan Africa in Utrecht, the Netherlands. After participating in the annual conference and LANDac Summer School ‘Land Governance for Development’, fellows returned to their home base from where they monitored selected land-based investments and their impacts on local communities. Furthermore, they identified opportunities to make these investments more inclusive and profitable for local people.

In October 2020, nine fellows from across sub-Saharan Africa joined the existing network that now includes 18 professionals from 13 different countries. During monthly exchange seminars, fellows share their work related to the impacts of land-based investments on local communities. In addition, together, they design and implement action and research on the ground to fill knowledge gaps, monitor trends and identify best practices. In addition to the monthly meetings, LANDac continuously facilitates learning and exchange between fellows and LANDac partners. With the programme, LANDac creates an international network of land governance fellows that regularly comes together, addressing the need for more South-South 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.

Introducing the LANDac fellows

Kenya: Arach David James (Senior Program Officer, Namati)
David is a Ugandan national who has experience working with local communities on land governance and strengthening of tenure security. Currently based in Nairobi – Kenya, David is Namati’s Senior Program Officer working on Community Land Protection. He is armed with a strong passion for justice, advocating for security of tenure, and strengthening communities’ ability to protect, document and defend their land rights. Before joining Namati, David worked with Land and Equity Movement in Uganda (LEMU) to implement a Community Land Protection Program in Northern Uganda. David graduated from Makerere University, Kampala in 2009 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Chemistry, where he also attended post-graduate courses in M&E and Statistical Data Management. In addition, he has received formal training in facilitation skills.

Keywords: community land, social justice, facilitation

Uganda: Judith Atukunda (Surveyor and geomatics engineer, LANDnet Uganda)
In her position at LANDnet, Judith Atukunda supports research in various aspects of land governance on topics such as  customary land administration and land-based investments. In her work, Judith aims to leverage geospatial technology for land governance and is keen on redefining the use of open data as well as the application of earth observation technology in land management and administration. Judith is experienced in creating and using geospatial data for humanitarian causes and has been involved in voluntary mapping with YouthMappers. She currently is an active trainer and member of OpenStreetMap Uganda. As a fellow, Judith is interested to work on data collection and analysis of large-scale land-based investments and their impact on customary land rights. Judith holds a deep passion for youth involvement, leadership and participation as a mentor and former scholar of the Tertiary Education Scholarship Trust (TEST) for Africa and is part of the committee steering the development and implementation of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Youth and Land Governance Strategy 2019 – 2024.

Keywords: customary land rights, youth involvement, geospatial technologies

South-Africa: Wegayehu Fitawek (Land Matrix Africa and PhD student at the University of Pretoria)
Wegayehu is a PhD candidate in Agricultural Economics at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Besides her PhD, Wegayehu is currently working on the Land Matrix Africa database as a data editor. The Land Matrix is an independent land monitoring initiative that promotes transparency and accountability in decisions over large-scale agricultural investments in low- and middle-income countries by capturing and sharing data about these deals at global, regional, and national level. The Land Matrix open-access platform help to find detailed information about deals in almost 100 countries all over the world, including intended, concluded, and failed attempts that acquire land through purchase, lease or concession for a wide range of agriculture and non-agriculture investment deals. Wegayehu has a Bachelor of Sciences (BSc) in Agricultural Economics from Haramaya University and Masters in Agricultural Economics from the University of Pretoria and Haramaya University. Her PhD research focus on the impact of large-scale agricultural investments on household food security in Africa. Her interest as a LANDac fellow is to improve the availability of information on land-based investments in Africa to ensure local communities are not missing out.

Keywords: Land Matrix, agricultural economics, food security

South-Africa: Molatelo Mohale (Land activist, writer and programme officer at Nkuzi Development Association)
Molatelo Mohale is a land activist and a writer advocating for social and economic justice in the land and agriculture sector in South Africa. He is currently working as a Programme Officer at Nkuzi Development Association, a land rights based support non-profit organisation based in Polokwane, Limpopo in South Africa. He is a fellow of  international Land Coalition-Jai jagat Fellowship 2020, an international movement advocating for justice and peace. During this fellowship programme he joined a global march for peace that started in October in India, New Delhi before it was abruptly called off amid the spread of the global Coronavirus Pandemic.  

Keywords: social justice, land rights, journalism

Ghana: Paul Andoh (Founder and executive director of the Centre for Land Policy Initiative)
Paul is a land tenure and real estate professional with over ten years of experience in the land sector in Ghana. Driven by the challenges he encountered, Paul founded the Centre for Land Policy Initiative(CLPI), a land policy Think tank in Ghana to address those challenges. Paul holds master’s degree in Land Policy and Administration from the University of Cape Coast, and a bachelor’s degree in Land Economy from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana. His area of expertise covers Land Tenure and Property Rights, Land Policy Analysis, Real Estate Development, Land Administration and Management as well as Project Management. He is a member of Commonwealth Association of Surveying and Land Economy (CASLE).

Keywords: land policy, land tenure, real estate

Sierra Leone: Buawah Jobo Samba (head of National Land Policy and VGGT implementation secretariat at the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Country Planning)
Buawah Jobo Samba has over ten years’ experience working in rural and urban areas in Sierra Leone in the field of natural resource management. As the head of the National Land Policy and Voluntary Guidelines implementation secretariat at the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Country Planning, Samba has been instrumental in the development of the National Land Policy for Sierra Leone and establishment of the institutional framework that promotes multi-stakeholder collaboration on responsible Governance of Forest, Land and Fisheries. Building on his experience with GIS and Remote Sensing,  Samba has successfully delineated, demarcated and surveyed several forests reserves and national parks in Sierra Leone using GIS and Remote Sensing techniques.  In addition, he has trained staff from several ministries to use and mainstream GPS/GIS technologies. Buawah attended the Prince of Wales Secondary School, where he joined the Conservation Society. This motivated him to pursue a Bachelor degree in Environmental Physics at the Njala University, which he completed with Honors. He also holds a Masters’ degree in GIS and Remote Sensing from the University of Aberystwyth in the United Kingdom. He is currently the Head of the National Land Policy and VGGT implementation secretariat in Sierra Leone.

Keywords: legal frameworks, VGGT’s, geospatial technologies

Mozambique: Clemente Ntauazi (project manager at LIVANINGO)
Clemente Jorge Ntauazi is a Programme Manager at LIVANINGO (Associação para a Preservação e Defesa do Meio Ambiente). He has over 6 years of field based research experience in land based investments in Mozambique and more recently in southern Africa. He has conducted various research on land-based investments, food security, food sovereignty and land governance commissioned by and or in collaboration with national and international organizations. Clemente has wide experience in project management mainly in the field of Community Development projects. He is an expert in designing projects that include good governance, lobby, and advocacy. In this field, he is well-known within Mozambique and can rely on a wide network of Civil Society organisations, as well as government actors. He conducted community training on lobbying, advocacy, movement building, and community development.

Keywords: community development, advocacy, good (land) governance

Ethiopia: Hanna Habtemariam (Lecturer at Addis Ababa University)
Hanna Habtemariam has a background in biology and environmental science and has combined this expertise with her interests in sustainable land management and agriculture. She held a position as a Young Expert at Wageningen University and Research, focusing on sustainable and equitable land management: helping farmers to increase their livelihoods while taking care of the land and environment. She furthermore has experience as a consultant for the International Center for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) and is frequently consulted as an expert on developmental interventions in relation to environmental pollution and water management. She currently works as a lecturer at the Center for Environmental Sciences at the Addis Ababa University

Keywords: Environmental pollution, water management, climate change

Liberia: John Fayiah Kelvin (Land Rights Program Coordinator at the Rice and Rights Foundation)
As a program manager and coordinator in the field of land governance, John has a wealth of experience setting up and running programmes that aim to accomplish more equitable and sustainable land governance within Liberia, particularly for women, youth and other minority groups. His organization, the Rights and Rice Foundation promotes social justice and economic empowerment throughout the country. During his career,  John has contributed to a variety of development projects from a young age and during turbulent times in Liberia. John is a skilled trainer and facilitator of multi-stakeholder dialogues on land governance, always bringing together relevant actors and starting a dialogue between them. He is currently the National Coordinator Multi-Actor Partnership Platform (MAP) on Land governance, in collaboration with the International Land Coalition through the National Engagement Strategy,

Keywords: Multi-stakeholder dialogue, social justice, land rights

Would you like to know more?

Would you like to get more information on the programme or is your organisation interested to have one of your employees become a LANDac fellow? 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. Contact Dominique Schmid (

The activities of the Professional Learning Programme are planned and coordinated by James Wangu (Utrecht University), Teddy Kisembo (Makerere University), Annelies Zoomers (Utrecht University), Griet Steel (Utrecht University), and Dominique Schmid (Utrecht University and Universitat Pompeu Fabra).

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
After an inspiring training period in the Netherlands in June and July, LANDac fellows returned to the countries in which Read more