Convening of Policy Actors on Omidyar Network Supported Interventions in Ghana’s Land Sector

On the 8th of November 2018, COLANDEF convened an event that brought together all the policy actors in the land sector to update them on all the investments Omidyar Network is making in the land sector in Ghana through the three different projects that are implemented by COLANDEF, Micro Aerial Projects and MERIDIA. The main goal for this convening was to build a shared ownership of the initiatives and commitment towards sustaining the outputs from each of the three initiatives.

The event was attended by the Honorable Minster of Lands & Natural Resources, Honorable Members of Parliament, Representatives from the National House of Chiefs, Regional Houses of Chiefs, the Ghana Institution of Surveyors, the Heads of various public land sector agencies, Civil Society Organizations, the Academia, the Private Sector, and the Media.

The event was chaired by Kumbun Yiri.

In his keynote address, the Honorable Minister, Mr. Kweku Asomah Keyeremeh expressed hope that even though there are many challenges in the land sector in Ghana, initiatives such as those that Omidyar Network is funding, will compliment Government’s efforts in bringing about the desired improvements in Ghana’s land sector.

Nana Ama Yirrah, the Executive Director of COLANDEF, delivered the first presentation on the Customary Land Rights Documentation (CLARID) project, one of the initiatives funded by Omidyar Network.  To begin her presentation, she provided a quick description of COLANDEF, explaining the organization’s mission and vision, and outlining its thematic areas and approach to work.

On the CLARID Project, she explained COLANDEF’s reason for introducing the project was to help address problems that customary land rights holders face because of undocumented land rights such as dispossession, loss of livelihood and conflicts arising from undocumented land rights. The solution to this problem, she said, was to improve the documentation of customary land rights by building the capacities of customary land authorities to be able to preside over the recordation and documentation of customary land rights. As part of the project, a handbook will be developed to guide customary land authorities in documenting customary land rights.

The next presentation was done by Walter Volkmann, the founder of Micro Aerial Project. In his presentation, he explained that Micro Aerial Projects is working to introduce drone and structure from motion technique in land mapping in ways that are timely, affordable and suitable for cadastral surveying in Ghana. Drone and structure from motion technique will encourage personal accountability, improve tolerance for errors and help to generate cadastral plans in higher resolution that also provides a pictorial representation of the surveyed land parcel. Using evidence from pilot projects, Micro Aerial Projects plans to demonstrate how drone mapping for cadastral surveys can be upscaled for global use.

 Joseph Okyere of MERIDIA delivered the final presentation. He explained that MERIDIA provides tailor-made surveying, documentation and other land related services. In doing so, it provides Farmseal, Homeseal and Orgseal as branded documentation purposes for farming, residential and commercial properties respectively. 

Focusing on the main subject of his presentation, Joseph Okyere defined Ghana Ground as an online platform designed for Traditional Authorities and Customary Land Secretariats (CLSs) to record and manage land transactions. The conception of the platform, he added, stemmed from MERIDIA’s exploration of avenues to advance the integration of IT tools in processing applications for land services, storage of land rights data and institutional monitoring. Included in the platform are core modules for ground rent collection, indenture creation, site plan generation and document lodging. One benefit of the platform is its capability of improving ground rent collection through the integration of Mobile Money and SMS. This platform will support government’s efforts to incorporate technology in the activities of customary land secretariats to improve their ability to record and transfer relevant land information.

In his closing remarks, the Chairman who is a retired Surveyor himself, applauded the efforts by the COLANDEF Team in pulling the event together and pledged the support of the National House of Chiefs in working towards the achievement of the project goals.

This convening of Policy actors on Omidyar Network’s supported interventions in Ghana’s Land Sector was an opportunity for all the stakeholders to be on the same platform to discuss these three initiatives and to build a consensus on modalities for adaptation and integration of outputs.