Rachael walks us through how to draft community by-laws, the rules that a community makes and adopts about how they’d like to govern their land and natural resources
Rachael Knight is a Senior Associate at IIED and an independent expert on community land protection. She's co-leading with ILC, NAMATI and IIED the Community Land Protection Learning Initiative. Together with land rights advocates across Africa, Rachael created the process of Visioning, Valuation and By-Laws Drafting. In this video, she takes us through the last step of the process.
The Community Land Protection Learning Initiative is designed to build a supportive cross-regional community of practice that facilitates learning between community land rights advocates . It equips ILC members with the practical skills to support communities to document and protect their indigenous and customary lands while strengthening local land governance, natural resource management, and the land rights of women and members of marginalized groups.
THE COMMUNITY LAND PROTECTION LEARNING INITIATIVE IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR ILC MEMBERS TO LEARN FROM PEERS HOW TO PROTECT COMMUNITY LAND
Strengthening Community Governance
Following the "Visioning" and "Valuation" steps, the activities in the Strengthening Community Governance of Lands and Natural Resources phase support communities to document their existing rules for land and resource management, then modify and add rules that increase protections for all peoples’ rights and lead to community-driven development and prosperity.
When well-facilitated, these activities can support communities to: create protections for the rights of women and minority groups; hold their leaders accountable; increase community members’ democratic participation in land and natural resource-related decisions; improve natural resource conservation and promote biodiversity; and align customary rules with national laws. This phase includes the following activities:
1) Creation of Community By-laws
- Communities collectively brainstorm all existing local rules and all rules followed in the past. (1st Draft)
- Facilitators provide legal education on national laws and basic human rights.
- Communities review the 1st Draft of their by-laws, add new rules, delete old rules, and change existing rules to reflect emerging community needs. (2nd Draft)
- Facilitators, lawyers and/or judges review the 2nd Draft to ensure that it does not contradict the national constitution and other relevant laws.
- Communities modify any rules that contradict national law and make any final changes. (3rd Draft)
- Communities hold large “by-laws adoption ceremonies,” inviting district and regional leaders, judges, neighbors, and others, at which they review the final draft of the bylaws, then vote to adopt the by-laws by consensus (100% agreement) or supermajority vote (66% agreement).
2) Creation of a Zoning Plan
Communities make basic zoning plans to connect their by-laws to the physical landscape and to ensure that the community develops according to its future vision.
3) Financial Management Training
Facilitators train community members in basic principles of good financial management and record keeping to support transparent management of revenue generated from community lands and natural resources.
4) Creation of a “Land Governance Council”
Communities elect a Land Governance Council, composed of trusted community leaders and members of all local stakeholder groups, including women, youth and marginalized groups, to manage community lands and natural resources according to the adopted by-laws.
5) Ensuring Implementation and Enforcement of the By-laws
Communities build relationships with relevant leaders and local governments and create systems to ensure that their bylaws are enforced and all agreed boundaries are respected.
A short animated video that illustrates the process for creating community by-laws and an accountable, equitable and sustainable governance structure.