APPEAR in practice invites project partners to reflect on and discuss their experiences referring to a specific topic in the project implementation process of their partnerships. The EduLAND project aims to establish a Land Administration Competence Centre at Debre Markos University in Ethiopia to alleviate the shortage of trained academic workforce and to conduct problem solving research in the field of land administration.
In Ethiopia, a number of policy and strategic steps have been made both by the Federal State and Regional Governments for poverty reduction and sustainable development. The establishment of a modern land administration system is one of the key issues, since it addresses the core components of economic, social, and environmental sustainability. Recently, Ethiopia has been launching modern land administration practices in almost all regions of the country. In the rural areas, the first stage of implementing the land administration system is almost completed. Now the second level of land registration has been launched: This is the establishment of the link between the land title and the individual pieces of land (cadastral surveying). Without specific attention to gender inclusiveness, important segments of society may be excluded from the benefits of land administration, management, and development schemes. Equal access and ownership of property rights is one of the major problems that women have to face in developing countries. Until the near past, women in Ethiopia were not considered as right holders towards land property rights. Currently, there is great endeavour to provide women with full access to these property rights. As an essential driver for achieving this goal, women have to be educated in land administration activities and they have to be employed at land administration authorities. In this event, researchers of the APPEAR project EduLAND in Ethiopia and from the University of Vienna gave an overview of current land use rights as well as ongoing developments, efforts, achievements and drawbacks in this regard. They discussed gender inequalities in access, use and heritage of land and gave insight to current findings from research.
One way to increase awareness on the topic and promote legal advice concerning land use and land heritage rights, is by increasing the number of female graduates in land administration which will further be employed in related professions. The EduLAND project is aware of its responsibility and has determined a quota for female students which was by far exceeded during the first year of the newly established Bacheler programme in land administration at Debre Markos University.
Another topic of discussion was the question whether social aspects of land use rights are taken into consideration in a rather technical education and which dimensions exactly have to be addressed in order to secure equal and fair land rights for all.
The discussion was closed with a statement of the project's coordinator, according to whom a single project can only make a contribution but it cannot solve all problems related to land rights.
Sayeh Kassaw AGEGNEHU has PhD from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna and is currently the Vice President for Business and Development of Debre Markos University (DMU) and staff member of the Institute of Land Administration. He is in charge to design a bachelor curriculum in land administration, to implement this academic program at DMU, to prepare training materials, and to conduct problem solving research.
Birgit ENGLERT is Assistant Professor at the Department of African Studies at the University of Vienna. Her research interests include contemporary history of Africa and development studies with a focus on social, cultural and political developments, among others land rights and land reform processes, gender and land rights.
Reinfried MANSBERGER is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Surveying, Remote Sensing and Land Information at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU) and the project coordinator of the APPEAR project EduLAND. His research work is focusing on land administration systems and on the acquisition of land information by means of remote sensing technologies.
Ayelech Kidie MENGESHA has a MSc in Rural Development, is a lecturer at Debre Markos University and is starting an additional Master course at BOKU in which she will focus on the analysis of land management frameworks to strengthen marginalized groups in the Amhara Region.
Stella ASIIMWE, journalist