Contact Us  |  Search  
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research
Development, Security, and Cooperation
Policy and Global Affairs
Home About Us For Applicants For Grant Recipients Funded Projects Email Updates
Graduate Student Research (2020 Deadline)

Ethiopia - Project E3-002: Effects of formalizing customary land tenure systems on pastoral livelihoods and resilience to climate change in Borana and Guji  Zones, Oromia Regional State, Southern Ethiopia (FOCULATE)

Mentor: Dong-Gill Kim, Hawassa University, Ethiopia
U.S. Partner: Paul Evangelista, Colorado State University
Mentee: Tesfaye Dejene

Project Overview:

The proposed study will be conducted in two different land systems: (1) state-owned and (2) formalized customary land tenure systems in the Borana and Guji pastoral communities in Oromia Regional State, Southern Ethiopia. In the past, customary land ownership was common in the study areas (Flintan, 2011). However, the traditional land tenure system was replaced by state-owned livestock ranches (Mcpeak and Little, 2019; USAID, 2013; Ellis and Swift, 1988). Consequently, it brought critical problems such as natural resource degradation, livelihood insecurity, growth of cultivated lands, and escalated land and resource based conflicts among pastoral communities in the study areas (Mcpeak and Little, 2018 and 2019; Beyene 2017). In addition, serious rainfall variation and frequent droughts occurring in the areas have been accelerating the problems (Anbacha and Kjosavik, 2019; Amogne et al., 2018). Therefore, it is important to determine whether formalizing the customary land tenure system can bring positive impacts on livelihoods, climate change resilience, and conflict resolution in the pastoral communities. The results will guide land policy reform in pastoral areas of Ethiopia. This, in turn, will directly support the goals of the USAID Land Tenure LAND project in managing pastoral land tenure insecurity and associated risks in the study areas.

As part of this study, two workshops will be held for pastoral communities, extension workers, local researchers, and NGOs in the study areas. The first workshop will aim at improving understanding of customary land tenure systems and related indigenous knowledge and their roles for enhancing livelihood, climate change resilience, and conflict resolution. The second will aim at sharing the results from the proposed study and discussing their implementation and further studies. The workshops will motivate participants to recognize the important roles of land tenure rights of pastoral communities and consider renovating customary land tenure systems, customary Gada institutions and related indigenous knowledge. The results of the study also will be critical inputs to various policy makers for reforming the country’s land policy. A policy brief will be provided to higher level policy and decision makers to engage them in dialogue and provide policy options on appropriate management of land tenure rights of pastoral communities. It will be useful to government agencies, international organizations, and NGOs for developing appropriate schemes for securing land tenure rights of pastoral communities.