Land Professionals Workshop on Gendering Land Tools organised by UN-HABITAT in Co-operation with FIG Commission 8

Bagamoyo, Tanzania, 10-11 March 2008

The Global Land Tools Network (GLTN) held a Land Professionals Workshop on Gendering Land Tools, in Bagamoyo, Tanzania from 10-11 March 2008, this workshop was co-hosted by Commission 8 of FIG.

The Global Land Tool Network (GLTN), secretariat is hosted by UN-HABITAT, located in the Land Tenure and Property Administration Section (LTPAS). It is focused on establishing a continuum of land rights and the creation of innovative, pro poor, scalable and gendered land management and land tenure tools. It achieves this by a range of activities including organising workshops to facilitate stakeholder inputs.

Land access for the poor is still a challenge. GLTN’s remit to develop pro poor land tools that are gender sensitive is one of the core objectives of the network. The Workshop discussion was set in the context of the Gender Mechanism (GM) for Gendering Land Tools, and gave careful consideration of how tools can be made responsive to gender and what methodology would enable the gendering of existing land tools?

In keeping with GLTN’s multi-stakeholder approach, the Workshop sought to gain and input the views, perspectives and experiences of land professionals into the GLTN process by concentrating upon two objectives:

  1. Devise gender responsiveness criteria to evaluate existing large-scale land tools; and
  2. Define strategies, activities and criteria to assist development of new large-scale gendered land tools.

This meeting brought together 12 participants from Sub Saharan Africa, Europe and Asia Pacific to collectively bring their professional knowledge and experience to the network debate and contribute to a road map that will identify the way forward. The participants represented experiences from land government departments and private practice, specifically including professional backgrounds in land tenure, land administration, land law, planning and surveying engineering.

The rationale for the meeting sequentially broke down the two objectives into segments during working group sessions. Each group examined particular issues in some depth based on each participant’s own personal experience and the bigger picture, together they compared findings:

i) How can the gender responsiveness of large- scale tools be determined?

From this exercise a clear list of criteria emerged, not surprisingly, the information gathered was very rich, with probing questions asked during the workshop surrounding the selection of criteria, which focused upon whether they should be input, process or output criteria. Thinking was moved forward regarding narrowing down the critical factors, as well as highlighting a framework based on a process orientation that will assist in identifying the evaluation criteria. Also emerging from the debate was the need to be cognisant of the societal fabric, expressed throughout the days during the workshop.

ii) What process should be mapped out for developing new tools?, and How can such initiatives be included in the GLTN road map?

Key items coming out of these discussions were action in: rigorous training, work with different stakeholders (beneficiaries and upstream decision-makers), constant evaluation and continuous feedback to key stakeholders, and piloting. Collectively the participants agreed that to effectively address a gender approach to large scale land tools, it is important that evaluation criteria need to adopt and merge two ‘lenses’, i.e. looking at both the technical AND the social issues.

In conclusion:

This workshop represented another step in the process of gendering large-scale land tools to work towards achieving GLTN objectives.

A holistic gendered approach to large- scale land tools requires a cognitive approach that combines criteria and a process of evaluation that can provide a basis for re- directing existing rights and systems, combined with new ways of implementing processes and strategies for the poor to effectively claim land.

Ultimately the need is to persuade possible change agents of the consequences of the gender limitations of the existing institutional system and its tools and the negative impacts on the poor. They need to be persuaded that, without a gender approach, they will not be able to generate sustainable wealth and contribute to society.

It achieved a focus on developing criteria as a first priority and subsequently identified activities and strategies for the way forward to:

  1. Consider criteria as input, process or output criteria.
  2. Map, express and formalise the basis for women’s claims/ rights.
  3. Generate a framework or a set of questions that could be informed by established programme and Project management approaches.
  4. Draw up guidelines to inform the new tool implementing process, because practitioners’ tools will be applied in practical situations, but also on a large- scale level; practice and scale have to be linked and any gap closed.

It was considered that GLTN’s next step in gendering tools could be to engage change agents with land professionals and grassroots organisations to work toward a methodology that bridges the technical and political gap in tool evaluation.

Next steps

LTPAS officers will welcome continued cooperation and engagement with the Workshop participants and the organisations that they represent. The workshop report would be finalised with further input from the group, with a subsequent plan to set up an internet discussion.

In addition LTPAS would combine the workshop output with the outputs and results of a complimentary Grassroots workshop (held in Lukenya Oct 2007). Once a set of criteria was agreed upon, this could lead to a short publication “How to Develop Gendered Land Tools”.

Finally, the future steps would include setting up the Gender Mechanism Expert Group (GMEG), which will necessitate identification of stakeholders (including professional groups). The full Workshop document can be viewed at GLTN’s Website (

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Dr. Diane Dumashie
Chair of FIG Commission 8