Landnet Uganda Trains Land Observatory Informants in Data Collection
Landnet Uganda has trained Land Observatory Informants from 14 regions of Uganda in skills of collecting data from different parts of the country, which will inform the observatory for Uganda’s one stop center that will enable stakeholders have one information center, where they can access information transparently and in an accountable manner from which they can make evidence based decisions.
The purpose of the data collection to one information center is to help to inform and as well guard Investors and communities against befalling land challenges in the country. The collected data will be useful to the Government, Land stakeholders and the Investors coming to invest in the country, to have knowledge of the land they intend to purchase or rent before they do investment.
The Land Observatory, being hosted by Landnet Uganda, is a Multi-stakeholder Project that benefits every person in a way that it provides the necessary information one wants on a particular investment in the country. It is an Information and knowledge sharing platform that provides transparency and accountability of data collected on large scale land acquisition and investment on both foreign and domestic scale in Uganda.
The Director Democratic Governance and Accountability at Landnet Uganda, Bob Anyuru says that the informants will be sending in information on large scale land acquisition both on foreign sacand domestic in the country to create transparency that enables evidence based decisions.
“We know some of the Investors may have some positive effects for development in this country and we cannot run away from it; but we also want investment that takes care of the human rights and respects the population.” Bob Anyuru says.
Anyuru adds that the information collected will not only benefit the Government and stakeholders, but the investors as well so that they do not lose their funds for lack of knowledge.
“So that they know that when they come into the country they purchase land which has proper title, you are not disadvantaging the community, and so you are doing a right thing and you avoid situations where one particular are is being sold to two investors and you lose your money. So this is being done to establish one stop center to help investors avoid some of these challenges they may face.”
Once the Data collection Center is established, it will be able to stop all individuals and groups that take advantage of ignorant persons to grab their land and property.
Anyuru says, “we hop that with transparency and accountability that will have been brought in, the unscrupulous characters who have been taking advantage, to employ withing this investment of theirs people who do not take care of women, the human rights aspect, creating employment opportunities for the community who live in this area will be avoided; the idea is that we want then to do some kind of responsible investment that takes care of everybody’s interests according to international standards and or course the Ugandan standards as well; so we are looking for best practice.”
The Data center will also help to stop land grabbing in the country, as it will be easy to notify that something fishy is taking place in this particular location; which also helps government to reduce some conflict in the country, where the conflict may create misinformation and sometimes makes it difficult for the government to do its projects properly on the acquired land.
In order to establish the Land Observatory, Landnet Uganda took a step to identify 14 key individuals to work as Informants in 14 sub regions of Uganda. Joseph Wangusa Muruye, the Public Relations Officer Landnet Uganda says that for the Land Observatory platform to operate, it requires trained personal informants at regional level with skills of collecting necessary data.
“The objective of having these personal informants is for them to be the ones to gather data for the Land Observatory on district and regional level that can feed into the national land observatory.” Joseph Wangusa says.
In a training at Foyer De Charite in Namugongo near Kampala, the Informants were taken through the necessary tools that help them in conducting research adequately. The Informants were also taken through the current situation and the overview of land and investment in Uganda, as well as the introduction of land matrix initiative to enable them understand the in depth of issues of land and the intentions Land Observatory.
Wangusa says, “what we are going to be doing is basically capturing information and data on foreign based large scale land acquisitions in Uganda that fall in the scale of 200 he tares and on domestic level we will be capturing data that falls within the investors coming into this country to acquire land at a minimal scale, which is 50 hectares in the aim of providing a platform with free and open source data on large scale land acquisition in this country, which can best foster debate on large scale land acquisition and inform different sectors.”
He says the Land Observatory is a process which is being championed by a multi-stakeholder platform that has been established and is constituted by many stakeholders from the World. The Informants have now been empowered with skills to collect data that will be uploaded into the platform of the Uganda Land Observatory and also onto the online platform, which is the Land Matrix under which Uganda has a page on the country’s profile.
The information here is freely accessible by anybody as it is intended to provide information that can better inform decision makers to make decision concerning land and investment. The open source information will help people differently, including the private sector to academicians who quote and reference the information to government that can have better information on land investments taking place in the country, to the civil society that can advocate for transparency and accountability.