In a remarkable feat, Nkomolo II village, situated in the Rukwa region of southwestern Tanzania, has issued an impressive 1743 Certificates of Customary Rights of Occupancy (commonly known as CCROs). This special report takes you on a comprehensive journey through the heart of this coal-rich village, nestled amidst the breathtaking Lyamba lya Mfipa landscape. Thanks to the unwavering support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID-Tanzania) and the Resilient Natural Resources Governance (RNRG) Activity, the issuance of 1743 CCROs stands as a shining example of success. Welcome to witness the transformation!Top of Form

Introduction and Background:

Nkomolo II village is a vibrant and culturally rich community situated in the Kipande Ward, Nkasi District Council (DC), within the scenic Rukwa Region. Nkomolo II is one of 90 Nkasi DC villages. Generally, Nkomolo II is found in the Rukwa region which is known for its breathtaking landscapes, characterized by two prominent Rift Valleys – one of which cradles the second deepest lake in the world – the stunning Lake Tanganyika, while the other embraces endorheic, silted Lake Rukwa. The region's geographical diversity and vast mineral resources, including the notable coal belt where Edenville Energy PLC engages in coal mining, contribute to its economic significance.

The village prides itself on its distinctive customary land tenure system, which has served as the cornerstone of community cohesion and sustainability for centuries. The issuance of Certificates of Customary Rights of Occupancy is a topic of paramount importance within Nkomolo II, as it struck a delicate balance between preserving its cultural heritage, securing land rights for its people, and embracing modern land administration practices.

Amidst its rich resources and cultural heritage, Nkomolo II (like most villages in Tanzania) has encountered pressing challenges that demand immediate attention. The village grapples with swift transformations in land use and management, fueled by factors like mining ventures by Edenville, population surge, expanding settlements, unlawful logging, unsustainable grazing, and agricultural practices. The consequences of such changes, including deforestation for household and commercial purposes, wildfires, and more, raise serious apprehensions about preserving natural ecosystems and ensuring fair land rights distribution. Moreover, a rising consciousness advocates for safeguarding the rights of vulnerable groups, particularly women and marginalized communities, during the crucial land allocation process.

Legal Framework:

Top of FormThe legal and regulatory framework governing land tenure and management in Nkomolo II village is guided by several key legislations and policies, each playing a crucial role in shaping the community's land rights and administration. The framework in Nkomolo II is that of any land in the country. At the core of this framework is the Land Act of Tanzania (1999), which serves as the primary legislation governing land tenure, administration, and management in the country. This Act provides for the classification of land, including customary land in Nkomolo II, and outlines the procedures for issuing Certificates of Customary Rights of Occupancy (CCRO) to individual and community members. It also addresses land use planning, dispute resolution mechanisms, and rights of occupancy under different land tenure systems.

Complementing the Land Act is the Village Land Act of Tanzania (1999), which specifically addresses land governance at the village level. This Act empowers village councils to manage village land on behalf of the community members and recognizes customary land rights. It further facilitates the allocation and registration of CCROs to individuals and groups in Nkomolo II, enhancing land security and formalization. The Local Government Authorities Act of Tanzania (1982) establishes the legal framework for district councils, including Nkasi DC, in managing land and natural resources within their jurisdictions. This Act delineates the powers and responsibilities of these authorities in overseeing land administration and governance in the region.

Recognizing the importance of gender equality and women's empowerment, the Gender and Development Policy (2000) advocates for equitable access to land for women in rural communities like Nkomolo II. It seeks to address historical disadvantages faced by women in land ownership and reinforces their land rights. It is crucial to bear in mind that the legal framework guiding land management and governance is subject to updates and amendments over time. As such, continuous vigilance and awareness among stakeholders in Nkomolo II are vital to stay informed about any changes to the laws and regulations that govern land rights and administration in their village. With this robust legal foundation, Nkomolo II aims to navigate its path towards sustainable development and equitable land tenure for the benefit of the entire community.


Land Use Planning: The process of obtaining Certificates of Customary Rights of Occupancy in Nkomolo II village began with a comprehensive fifteen-day participatory land use planning exercise. Facilitated by the Lawyers' Environmental Action Team (LEAT) and the National Land Use Planning Committee (NLUPC), the exercise involves Participatory land use planning (PLUM) team from Nkasi DC and the local villagers who are recognized as landowners by both customary and country laws. During this period, the community actively engaged in discussions, and formed the Village Land Use Management Committee (VLUMC), mapping, and identifying land use priorities, ensuring the incorporation of their aspirations and needs into the planning process.

Sensitization and Training: Following the completion of the land use planning exercise, various training sessions on land laws were conducted for the village council, village committees, and community members. These training sessions aimed to enhance understanding of the land tenure system to appointed Village Adjudication Committee members (VACs) and Communities on land rights, and the process of obtaining Certificates of Customary Rights of Occupancy. Sensitization meetings were also organized to reach a wider audience and create awareness about the importance of formalizing land rights.

Adjudication and Demarcation: Adjudication is the process of verifying and analyzing the claims typically relating to ownership and other use rights, while Demarcation is the identification and agreement of land parcel boundaries. This provides identification of individual land parcel boundaries and claims of parcels, in the presence of VAC members, neighbors, members of the community, and Para-surveyor. Always Para-surveyors alongside VACs, Village Leaders, and land owners tirelessly have to walk on foot across the hilly terrain, collecting spatial and attribute information, which was instrumental in the success of this exercise. The process provided clear demarcations and boundaries for each land parcel, resolving longstanding land disputes.

Objection and Correction: After the adjudication and demarcation exercise, a thirty-day objection and correction period allowed landowners to review the spatial and attribute information of their respective land parcels. This step ensured transparency and allowed villagers to address any discrepancies or errors in the land registration process, thus enhancing the accuracy and legitimacy of the land titles.

Printing and Registration: Following the objection and correction period, printing of the Certificate of Customary Rights of Occupancy (CCROs) and registration of all the information in the district and village land registry is taking place at the Lawyers' Environmental Action Team (LEAT), in Sumbawanga satellite office. The process was facilitated by the Mobile Application for Secure Tenure (MAST) application, which was adopted from DAI. This innovative technology streamlined the registration process, making it more efficient and secure.

Issuance by the Minister: Finally, upon the successful completion of the land registration process, the issuance of Certificates of Customary Rights of Occupancy was carried out by the Minister of Lands, by the provisions of the Land Act and Village Land Act of Tanzania. This formal recognition of land rights provided the villagers of Nkomolo II with legal protection and security over their land, fostering a sense of ownership and empowerment within the community.

In conclusion, the process of obtaining Certificates of Customary Rights of Occupancy in Nkomolo II village exemplified a collaborative effort, involving participatory land use planning, sensitization, adjudication, demarcation, objection, registration, and issuance. The tireless dedication of para-surveyors, the support of the MAST application, and the commitment of various stakeholders contributed to the success of this transformative land administration initiative. This effort was completed by the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Land, Housing and Settlement Development, Mr. Geofrey Mizengo Pinda on July 27, 2023, by issuing 1748 CCROs. 


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Impact on Local Community:

Top of FormThe issuance of Certificates of Customary Rights of Occupancy and the formalization of land tenure in Nkomolo II village have brought about significant impacts on the livelihoods and well-being of its residents. The benefits and drawbacks of this transformation are worth examining, shedding light on both the opportunities and challenges that have arisen as a result.

One of the most significant advantages of formalizing land tenure is the enhanced land security it provides. With clear legal recognition and protection of land rights, the risk of land grabbing and disputes has diminished, giving villagers long-term security for generations to come. This newfound security also enables villagers to access credit and financing more easily, using their land as collateral for agricultural activities or business investments, thereby empowering them economically.

Formalization has also encouraged investment in the community, as individuals feel secure in their land rights. This, in turn, has the potential to stimulate increased agricultural productivity, infrastructure development, and overall economic growth within the village. Moreover, the participatory land use planning exercise has allowed the community to prioritize sustainable resource management, fostering conservation efforts and mitigating environmental degradation.

One of the most critical achievements of the formalization process is addressing gender disparities in land ownership. By registering land titles, the process ensures that women have equal access to land rights and decision-making, promoting gender equality within the community. Additionally, the formalization process has promoted transparency and accountability in land administration, effectively reducing corruption and enhancing the overall governance of land resources.

However, along with the numerous benefits, formalization has not been without its challenges. The process can be time-consuming and capital-intensive, demanding significant financial resources and administrative efforts that might prove burdensome for some communities. Despite efforts to involve the entire community, marginalized groups may still face challenges in participating in the process or having their interests adequately represented.

Furthermore, formalization might lead to potential land disputes if not managed effectively, especially if boundaries are not clearly defined during the adjudication and demarcation exercise. Additionally, as traditional land practices and communal ownership encounter the impact of formalization, the social fabric of the community may gradually change.

Environmental concerns also emerge as the potential for increased investment and development could lead to environmental impacts, such as deforestation or overexploitation of resources, if not managed sustainably. External interests, sparked by formal recognition, could lead to land grabbing or exploitation if the community's rights are not adequately protected.

The overall impact of customary land rights and formalization in Nkomolo II hinges on how the process is managed, the level of community involvement, and the implementation of supportive policies and programs. While formalizing land tenure offers various benefits in terms of security, investment, and gender equality, careful consideration must be given to addressing challenges and drawbacks to ensure a balanced and sustainable approach to land governance in the village.

Land Use and Conservation:Top of Form

The formalization of land rights in Nkomolo II has brought both positive and negative implications for land use and conservation efforts. Let's delve into each aspect to better understand the impact.

Positive Implications of Formal Land Rights on Land Use and Conservation: One of the significant benefits is the establishment of planned land use through participatory land use planning exercises. This process facilitates a clear and organized plan for land utilization, promoting sustainable agricultural practices, safeguarding sensitive areas, and supporting conservation efforts. Formal land rights have empowered individuals with a sense of ownership and responsibility for their land, leading to better resource management and conservation practices. Encouraging sustainable approaches reduces the risk of overexploitation, preserving natural resources for future generations

The security provided by formal land rights has attracted investment and development to Nkomolo II, leading to improved infrastructure and economic opportunities for the community. With clear ownership, land use arrangements become more certain, minimizing disputes and uncertainties often associated with communal land practices. Potential Risks and Challenges of Formal Land Rights: While formalization presents numerous benefits, it also entails potential risks that must be addressed. Improper land management may lead to land degradation, where communal land conversion to individualized ownership results in fragmentation, soil deterioration, reduced agricultural productivity, and ecosystem disruption.

Deforestation poses another challenge, especially if investment and development are not accompanied by robust environmental protection measures. Commercial land conversion could result in the loss of precious forest cover and biodiversity. A critical concern revolves around the erosion of traditional communal land practices, where individualized ownership might shift the focus to personal gain rather than communal interests, potentially undermining longstanding cultural practices.

Moreover, formalized land ownership may lead to encroachments on protected areas or environmentally sensitive zones if not appropriately regulated, posing threats to vital habitats and ecosystems. The inequitable land allocation remains an issue despite formalization, with gender disparities and social inequalities persisting, leading to an unfair distribution of land rights and resources within the community. The recognition of land rights might also attract external interests and corporations seeking to acquire land, potentially leading to land grabbing and the loss of land for local communities.

Addressing the Implications: To ensure sustainable land use and conservation efforts, Nkomolo II needs to implement a comprehensive land management strategy. Environmental protection must be prioritized, alongside the promotion of sustainable agricultural practices and the safeguarding of marginalized groups' rights.

Ongoing community engagement, capacity building, and the involvement of relevant stakeholders are essential in striking a balance between formalized land rights and conservation objectives. Supportive policies and regulations should be in place to monitor land use changes, promote sustainable practices, and protect natural resources.

With careful consideration of the potential risks and proactive measures to address them, Nkomolo II can effectively harness the benefits of formal land rights while safeguarding its precious landscapes and preserving its unique communal identity. Balancing progress with conservation will pave the way for a sustainable future for the community and its treasured land.

Community Participation and Consultation:

The level of community participation and consultation in the issuance process of Certificates of Customary Rights of Occupancy in Nkomolo II village has been laudable, as evident from the diverse mechanisms implemented to involve community members in decision-making related to land rights. These measures have created a culture of inclusivity and empowerment, ensuring that the land registration exercise truly reflects the aspirations and needs of the local community.

The process began with sensitization and awareness programs conducted by the Lawyers' Environmental Action Team (LEAT), raising awareness among villagers about the significance of formalizing land rights and the process involved. This knowledge-sharing enabled community members to understand their rights and actively participate in the exercise.

The participatory land use planning (LUP) exercise further exemplified the commitment to community involvement. Stakeholders such as the local community, the Village Assembly Committee, and other relevant groups collaborated in designing the land use plan. This participatory approach ensured that the plan was a true reflection of the community's vision for sustainable land use and development.

To enhance community representation and engagement, committees were formed within the approved bylaws, allowing local members to actively participate in decision-making related to land allocation and management. This democratic structure empowered the community to have a voice in shaping their land's future.

LEAT's introduction of various projects, including smart agriculture, bonanzas, school clubs, tree planting initiatives, economic groups, beekeeping, water conservation projects, and village saving and loan associations, showcased a dedication to empowering the community in sustainable land use and livelihood activities. These projects served as platforms for community members to contribute actively and benefit from the exercise. To equip the community with the necessary knowledge and skills, training programs on land laws and relevant topics were organized for village council members, committees, and the wider community. This capacity-building effort allowed community members to participate effectively and make informed decisions throughout the land issuance process.

An emphasis on environmental conservation was evident through initiatives such as tree planting and water conservation projects. These undertakings encouraged community members to actively participate in conservation efforts, promoting responsible land use practices and safeguarding the region's ecological balance. The Village Assembly, functioning as a decision-making body, played a crucial role in providing community members with a platform to voice their opinions and participate in vital land-related decisions. This transparent and democratic forum ensured that the interests and concerns of the community were taken into account.

Overall, the exceptional level of community participation in Nkomolo II has fostered a sense of ownership and responsibility for the land and its resources. The inclusive approach and community engagement mechanisms have resulted in a land registration exercise that truly reflects the needs and aspirations of the local community, promoting sustainable land management and development in the village.

Legal Protection and Vulnerable Groups:

In Nkomolo II village, legal protection for vulnerable groups, including women, children, and marginalized communities, in the land allocation process is essential to promote gender equality, safeguard the rights of children, and ensure inclusivity and social justice. Here's an examination of the legal protection and initiatives in place:

Legal Protection for Vulnerable Groups:

Gender and Development Policy: Tanzania's Gender and Development Policy aims to promote gender equality and women's empowerment. It recognizes the importance of ensuring women's access to and control over land and other productive resources.

Village Land Act: The Village Land Act recognizes the customary land rights of the local community and explicitly acknowledges the equal rights of women to own and manage land. It provides a legal framework for equitable land allocation and ensures that women can participate in the decision-making processes related to land.

Land Act: The Land Act also enshrines principles of gender equality and provides provisions to protect vulnerable groups in land allocation and management. It prohibits discrimination based on gender and ensures equal treatment in land rights.

Initiatives to Ensure Equitable Access to Land:

Sensitization and Training: Through the sensitization meetings and training programs conducted by the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LEAT), community members, including women and marginalized groups, were educated about land rights and the importance of equitable access to land.

Participatory Land Use Planning: The participatory land use planning process allowed for the active involvement of all community members, ensuring that the interests and needs of vulnerable groups were considered in the land allocation process.

Gender Mainstreaming: Gender mainstreaming efforts were likely integrated into the land allocation process to ensure that gender perspectives and concerns were addressed at every stage of the formalization exercise.

Representation in Committees: The formation of committees within the approved bylaws, likely including representation from vulnerable groups, could ensure that their voices are heard in decision-making related to land management and allocation.

Training and Economic Empowerment: Initiatives like economic groups, village saving and loan associations, and beekeeping provided opportunities for women and other vulnerable groups to participate in income-generating activities and improve their economic status.

Legal Aid and Advocacy: Access to legal aid and advocacy services might have been made available to vulnerable groups to address any land-related disputes or violations of their rights.

Child Protection Measures: The issuance process must have taken into account the rights of children and ensured that their interests were protected, particularly in cases where they were affected by land allocation decisions.

Overall, the legal protection and initiatives implemented in Nkomolo II aimed to create an inclusive and just land allocation process. By recognizing the rights of vulnerable groups and empowering them to participate in decision-making, the community sought to ensure equitable access to land and foster sustainable development that benefits all its members.Top of Form

Challenges and Issues:Top of Form

A series of challenges impacted the efficiency and effectiveness of the process, warranting careful attention from stakeholders and local authorities alike. The foremost concern was the time-consuming nature of the land registration exercise. From land use planning to final issuance, the process entailed prolonged durations that risked causing delays and frustrations among the villagers. Moreover, the formalization proved capital-intensive, demanding significant financial resources to cover various expenses, including payments to multiple agencies and individuals involved in the exercise.

Transparency and integrity were crucial, yet multiple stakeholders' involvement created the potential for corruption and a lack of transparency. Irregularities in land allocation and registration could undermine community trust. Additionally, disputes over land rights remained a challenging aspect, despite efforts to resolve conflicts during the adjudication and demarcation exercises.

Gender disparities in land allocation surfaced as a pressing issue, calling for efforts to ensure equal access for women. Addressing traditional norms and practices was necessary to foster equitable land distribution. Moreover, adopting technology like the MAST application presented technical challenges, requiring maintenance and support, particularly in remote areas with limited infrastructure.

Administrative burdens weighed on local authorities, managing land registries, books, and files, leading to concerns about efficient execution. Stakeholders' conflicting interests further complicated the landscape, necessitating a delicate balance between traditional practices and modern land administration.

In light of these challenges, information accessibility and post-issuance monitoring emerged as key considerations. Ensuring all villagers have access to clear information and understanding the processes involved in land registration is essential. Post-issuance, sustained monitoring and enforcement mechanisms will be vital to uphold land rights and usage regulations.

Despite these obstacles, Nkomolo II's successful completion of the land registration exercise signifies unwavering determination from the local community and stakeholders. Addressing these challenges with proactive strategies can pave the way for improved land governance and sustainable development, heralding a brighter future for Nkomolo II and villages across Tanzania.


Based on the findings, here are actionable recommendations for improving the issuance of Certificates of Customary Rights of Occupancy in Nkomolo II village:

Policy Changes and Legal Reforms: a. Review and update land-related policies and laws to ensure they align with the principles of gender equality and protection of vulnerable groups. b. Introduce specific provisions to protect the rights of women, children, and marginalized communities in land allocation and management.

Capacity Building: a. Provide training and capacity-building programs for local authorities, village council members, and committees involved in land administration to improve their understanding of land laws, gender mainstreaming, and sustainable land management practices. b. Offer training on alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to efficiently handle land-related conflicts.

Community Engagement Strategies:  a. Continue conducting sensitization meetings and awareness campaigns to keep the community informed about land rights, formalization processes, and the benefits of equitable land access. b. Promote inclusivity by actively involving vulnerable groups, especially women, in land use planning, decision-making committees, and community-led initiatives.

Environmental Conservation and Sustainable Land Use:  a. Implement measures to protect the environment, including promoting agroforestry, sustainable farming practices, and reforestation initiatives to mitigate deforestation and land degradation. b. Encourage the adoption of smart agriculture techniques to ensure efficient land use and resource management.

Strengthening Land Registration Process: a. Streamline the land registration process and explore the use of technology, such as mobile applications, to improve efficiency and reduce administrative burdens. b. Establish transparent and accessible land registries to facilitate easy access to land information and enhance accountability.

Addressing Financial Challenges:  a. Explore avenues for securing funding and resources to support the formalization process, such as through partnerships with government agencies, NGOs, or international development organizations. b. Seek opportunities for financial assistance or grants to support vulnerable groups, especially women, in acquiring land titles.

Monitoring and Evaluation: a. Establish a robust monitoring and evaluation system to assess the impact of land formalization efforts on community livelihoods, gender equality, and environmental conservation. b. Use feedback from the monitoring process to make continuous improvements to the land issuance process.

Conflict Resolution Mechanisms: Strengthen mechanisms for resolving land disputes promptly and fairly to avoid prolonged conflicts that may hinder the land formalization process. b. Promote mediation and community dialogue to address disputes amicably.

By implementing these recommendations, Nkomolo II can create a more inclusive, sustainable, and transparent land tenure system that protects the rights of vulnerable groups, empowers the community, and fosters equitable land access for all its members.Top of Form


Nkomolo II village in the Rukwa Region of Tanzania underwent a transformative process of securing land rights through the issuance of Certificates of Customary Rights of Occupancy. This comprehensive effort involved participatory land use planning, community sensitization, adjudication, and registration exercises. As a result, the community experienced numerous positive impacts, including enhanced land security, improved access to credit and investment opportunities, and increased economic development.

The formalization of land rights has fostered sustainable land use planning, empowering the community to prioritize conservation efforts and resource management. Moreover, it has attracted investments and infrastructural developments, paving the way for economic growth and prosperity. By addressing gender disparities and promoting the rights of vulnerable groups, such as women and marginalized communities, the process has contributed to inclusivity and social justice within the village. Ensuring equitable access to land and protecting the rights of all community members has become instrumental in reducing land conflicts and promoting transparent land governance. The village now stands poised to cultivate a harmonious balance between traditional practices and modern development. The secure land tenure has strengthened the local identity and provided a foundation for sustainable development, fostering an environment where both nature and the community can thrive for generations to come.Top of FormTop of Form



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