Launching COLANDEF’s Legal and Alternative Dispute Resolution Department

Over the past two decades, COLANDEF has nurtured partnerships, collaboration, and sustained commitments toward securing customary land rights in Ghana. COLANDEF has also delivered interventions that have strengthened land sector institutions. We have engaged in public education and advocacy for inclusive land policies and developed, disseminated, and offered training on tools for documentation of customary land rights. Legal counseling and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) have been an integral part of all these interventions. In all of these areas of interventions, legal counseling and ADR have been treated as a mainstreaming theme. 

Through the leadership of the Executive Director, Nana Ama Yirrah, COLANDEF has restructured the way it would be offering legal counseling and ADR support. Beginning in the second quarter of 2024, legal counseling and ADR support will no longer be a mainstreaming theme. Rather, it will be a department on its own, providing customized legal counseling and ADR support to our stakeholders in both the public and private sectors and with special focus on customary land institutions to resolve land tenure challenges and disputes. 

This approach is in response to the Land Act’s promotion of ADR as the first step in resolving land disputes. We note from our experience that application of ADR principles along with technical understanding of the land sector and land governance are necessary in successfully resolving land disputes. This is why we have restructured to establish a department which will have a dedicated focus on legal counseling and ADR support. The department will not only focus on supporting COLANDEF project stakeholders. The department will also offer training to other ADR professionals who have limited knowledge of the land sector as a specialized area, to equip them with the techniques  required for land dispute management and resolution. The department will also offer support to other NGOs implementing projects in the natural resources sector who may be encountering  difficulties. This is why legal and ADR support is now a whole department and not a mainstreaming theme at  COLANDEF. While the department’s primary focus is to offer support to the COLANDEF project teams, it will also be supporting other projects outside COLANDEF. 

Surveyor. Dr. Gad Asorwoe Akwensivie, ESQ., is the Head of Department of the restructured Legal Counseling and ADR support Department of COLANDEF. We have training packages designed for different target groups such as Traditional Authorities, Queen Mothers, Cooperatives, Land Based Investors, CBOs working in the forest sector, environment, carbon and climate change. Reach out to us for a discussion in our joint and collective quest to resolve land sector challenges through  ADR.