We are excited to say we participated in a pilot application to help deploy data collection software that focused on evaluation GIS base data collection software for a land rights mapping documentation system. We traveled to Albania with Landmapp, one if the organizations working towards developing better systems for land management.
Landmapp is developing a platform and mobile app that delivers affordable land tenure mapping for rural communities. Landmapp was founded as a for-profit social venture in Amsterdam by Thomas Vaassen, Simon Ulvund and Paul Chatterton; and supported by WWF and IIASA. Landmapp will be doing feasibility pilots in three continents to validate its innovative crowd-validation mechanism, while deepening understanding regarding the cultural, political, legal, geographical and technological aspects of its solution. Landmapp will develop its platform specifically for organisations like NGOs, farmer cooperatives, micro-finance providers, certifiers and governmental agencies. (http://www.landmapp.net/blog/2015/03/09/albania-field-trip/)
Since 2014, CNVP is leading the Forest for Local Economic Development (FLED) project in Albania. CNVP is a locally rooted NGO that has built collaborations with the forestry organisations, the Ministry of Environment and the local municipalities. The program is funded by the Swedish Development Cooperation and supported by the World Bank. The main objective of the project is improved decentralized and sustainable Communal Forestry providing increased production, service and income to rural communities. One of the key activities is to map and register land rights for communal forestry.
To map and register land tenure, CNVP engages in a participatory process with the local community. Garmin GPS equipment is currently used to map parcel boundaries and forest management plans are developed together with the families.
Landmapp engaged end 2014 with CNVP to explore opportunities for piloting its methodology for land tenure mapping using mobile devices and crowd-validation: neighbors validating each other’s claims.
When we came to Golaj, we met with a group of eight people: there were experts of the forestry federation and representatives of two families who’s land parcels were neighboring. After initial introductions, they explained their age-old method of using stones to demarcate boundaries. We then walked the boundaries of one parcel, using our pre-installed GeoODK field survey to track the GPS coordinates. After arriving back at the point of departure, the map showed an accurate GeoShape and follow up survey questions about the land right holder and neighbors were answered by the families.
We were able to interview the families on their motivations for engaging in this process. Most importantly, they said, for documenting and digitizing their parcels is having evidence of the rights to their land. An older gentleman said “we used to live in an age where we marked parcels with stones, now we live in a time where we are making legal documents. We don’t want to stay behind.” They also confirmed to be looking to use their land certificates when engaging with the bank.