Since 2014, UCBC’s Natural Resource Governance (NRG, previously Sharing the Land) has been instrumental in reshaping the conversation around land reform and creating a more peaceful Congo. What began as a small project of the Integrated Research Institute, has grown to significantly influence the National Land Policy of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This policy was officially approved by the Council of Ministers in April 2022 and improves the management of land and provides much needed mediation for land disputes.
In conjunction with Tearfund and Christ’s Church in Congo, UCBC has been working on an NRG project in the Nyunzu Territory since March 2022. The goal of this project was to empower local communities to solve land related matters through mediation and help with conflict resolution between the Twa and Bantou people. An office for land management was built in the South-Lukuga sector and will be staffed by the Nyunzu Territory Administrator. Another is planned for completion in November. These offices are equipped with a high-capacity computer, a high-capacity printer, and Garmin GPS units to aid in mapping and land management. The keys to the South-Lukuga building were handed over to the Administrator in July in the presence of representatives from UCBC, the UN Peacebuilding Fund, and the National Minister of Plan.
One of the focuses of the NRG is to create a more equitable land management system, especially for women and youth. The team hosts community dialogue and mediation workshops in various areas of the country. Over 8,000 people participated in the workshops in Nyunzu Territory! Of that number, 4,691 were women. It’s estimated that over 500 women’s land rights were secured by being digitally mapped through this process. The South-Lukuga Section Administrator said, “We are overjoyed to see that we were also remembered through the investment of means to develop a system which will allow us to manage our land well and without any type of discrimination. We are grateful to Tearfund and Congo Initiative, to the government and UNPBF for allowing this to be possible. Now it is to us to continue the work and be good stewards of what we have received today. And we promise to do so.”
UCBC continues to shine as a leader in Congo, bringing solutions to longstanding challenges and land disputes. Our hope is to see the NRG continue to expand its reach, contributing to peacebuilding efforts in territories across the country.
As said by the UN Peacebuilding Fund representative, “This is a wonderful work which proposes a solution to the land management problem, a problem that undersets many conflicts in the country. But many at the national level are not aware of such good work being done. Please, share news about what is going on so that more means can be mobilized and for such good work to also be replicated in other corners of the country.”