New app to boost land conflict resolution

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By Denyse Tuyishime

Mediators who work with RISD under the pilot project to test the app receive certificates of merit.

The work of mediators (Abunzi) on land related conflict resolution has now been made easy with a new smart mobile phone application dubbed ICT4D (ICT for Development).

The application launched by Rwanda Initiative for Sustainable Development (RISD) will enable mediators to file a case using a smart phone unlike in the past when they had to fill files.

Abunzi are local community volunteers who sacrifice their time to handle conflicts within the community. The government doesn’t pay them but facilitates them with basic needs to perform effectively.

“It will now take less than a day for a land conflict case to be submitted to the responsible authorities for a resolution to be found. We used to have to make reports to each authority and this was a lot of work for a volunteer” said Joselyne Ingabire, the president of mediation committee at Kimironko sector.

For data collection, users must first download the application from the RISD website (www.risdrwanda.org). To enter the system, one need to create a username and password, and then follow the prompts and conditions.

The system has four different data repositories including RISD District coordinators data, RISD Toll free (1516) data, ABUNZI data and then the Community Focal Persons data.

Once data is collected, it is interpreted and categorized in form of tables (numbers), Bar chart (numbers and percentages) and Pie chart that also uses numbers.

The launch of this new application requires a comprtible smart phone device. This means that all abunzi have to have smart phone in the reach to use the app.

While many mediators don’t have such phone, RISD has promised to discuss with government and its partners to avail such phones.

“We are aware of this challenge. Out of ten abunzi one has a smart phone. We will try to see how we can avail phones, with the help of our partners”  Annie Kairaba, RISD Director said.

The most common land related disputes that appear in the system include inheritance boundaries, divorce, land registrat, polygamy, land renting, ascending part, land transactions, expropriation, and genocide  land related conflicts.

Some conflict mediators will have where to report the long lasting land based disputes that have been subjects of fraternal killings especially in the last 5 years.

According to Land Dispute Assessment Report and Toolkit, a report released in 2014 by USAID/Rwanda chapter shows that dispute over inheritance and gifts of land (Umunani) seemed to be the most common followed by disputes involving informal and polygamous unions, disputes about land transactions, and boundary disputes.

Keeping this in mind, RISD aims at ensuring equitable access to land for peace, justice and economic stability, has designed an ICT based system that aid in mapping and monitoring land related disputes.

ICT4D was designed for the better implementation of the second phase of Securing Land Rights Project (SLRP-2), a 3.5-year extension program being implemented by RISD through the support of the Royal Kingdom of the Netherlands Embassy.

The main goal of SLRP is to contribute to the effectiveness of the Rwanda land reform implementation process for poverty reduction as a basis for food security of Rwandans who depend on land in their everyday life.

Karaba told Rwanda Eye, that the idea of designing ICT4D came after RISD has been supporting the land tenure regularization program since 2007, and realized there are an increase of land related disputes and their resolution process lacks an important point.

“After the regularization, there was pending land related disputes after the and as long as we have been working with Abunzi, there was lack of quality data: well structured and for timely action. Hence an ICT tool was sought to as the most appropriate tool to support in this areas of managing broad data in the most accurate and timely way possible.  ” said Kairaba

ICT4D is to be used particularly by Abunzi, RISD District coordinators, and Community focal persons although the main beneficiary becomes the population who receives better service from such institutions.

The tool consists on calling the RISD toll free (1516) to record and report land related disputes.

After collecting data, the system is able to analyze them, then share with relevant beneficiaries who are for now MINIJUST, MINALOC, RNRA, Ombudsman Office and districts Officials, then be archived in the system and finally, the information will be shared to the general public while to be shared to the public.

RISD will roll-out the program in 11 districts where the organisation is operating and depending on the success of this tool in these, it will be replicated in other areas of the country.

The 11 pilot districts include: Gasabo, Nyarugenge, Kicukiro, Kamonyi, Muhanga, Karungi, Musanze, Gakenke, Rubavu, Kirehe, Nyaruguru.

The application been piloted in Kimironko sector-Gasabo district where  it has generated positive results.   All three Cells in Kimironko were considered, and two Abunzi were trained in each of the existing Abunzi Committee.

ICT4D comes after the Ministry of Agriculture has in October launched a the web portal referred to as Agriculture Land and Information System (ALIS)which helps interested land investors to access land online by logging in to www.minagri.gov.rw/investorapp/.

Also in April this year, the country launched a phone application from which subscribers can dial *651# -Yes to obtain information about a particular plot number.

According to Agriculture ministry, Rwanda has 1.4 million hectares of arable land.

Rwanda has an area of 26 thousands square kilometers. The national land center has about 11 million registered parcels of land.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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