Last year, we announced that we had awarded a grant to ActionAid to help them build an online tool to map incidents of land grabbing in rural Tanzania. Last week, I caught up with the ActionAid UK team at their London offices and this was what they had to say about the project:
Our focus over the last few months has been on revamping the Land Portal and setting up the mapping and monitoring system. In response to feedback from our partners, the Tanzania Land Portal has been redesigned to improve it for users. The website has been recreated with built in Google analytics, and has been renamed Let’s Talk Land Tanzania. The land deals mapping and monitoring tool, using Ushahidi crowdmap and Frontline SMS services, is functioning and ready to be used. The system has been tested and can send and receive SMS messages within the Ushahidi crowdmap window.
We have had positive training sessions with our partners to introduce them to the mapping system, and they have then gone out and shared their knowledge with the communities. Community Development Facilitators have been doing additional awareness raising work with communities which has generated a lot of interest and enthusiasm around the project. Continuing this work will be a priority over the coming weeks.
Other priorities over the next few months will be doing further work with local and national media, to engage journalists to highlight land issues, as well as the work of ActionAid and our partners. We will also be putting in to practice the mapping system and building on the groundwork which has been done to ensure the SMS system is being used by communities, and land rights abuses cases are investigated.
We officially launched Let’s Talk Land Tanzania to communities on the 16th October, which was World Food Day. We spent the day in Kiharaka Village, where we presented the website to people in the local area who have been affected by land grabbing. There they shared some of their experiences, and their passion around the injustices they have faced was inspiring. Victims of land grabs have not given up, and there is hope that justice will be done – they are a living testimony that land grabbing is real and happening, and they are playing a part in helping to stop it.
Thanks to ActionAid for providing the text of this blog post.