An online course proposed by AGTER and the ILC offering tools to help identify, analyse and respond to the phenomenon of land grabbing
AGTER and the International Land Coalition are inviting members of civil society organisations, farmers organisations, development professionals, researchers, journalists, students and others interested to join an online course on land grabbing. The course will help participants understand and analyse the nature of this worrying trend, and work together to identify solutions.
Dates : 25 May – 19 June 2020
Deadline for applications (extended!) : May 19, 2020
Why this course?
Since the mid 2000’s, interest in arable land from multinationals, financial markets, and some states has risen considerably. The seizure of these lands is often detrimental to the people who have lived on this land for generations and who often depend on its resources for their survival. Their customary laws are often ignored. In addition, despite being called “large investments”, the new production systems put in place are often immense – thousands or even hundreds of thousands of hectares – and rarely take into account the primary needs of the local population, such as food security, environmental sustainability, and maintaining employment in rural areas.
In some cases land and resource concentration by a few companies or individuals happens without apparent violence, via land sales, leases, inheritance, etc. - through common agreement between both sides, at least on the surface. However this process contributes to the development of inequalities, and fails to assure the common good.
The course will cover both types of land grabbing, with and without apparent rights violations of the local population. Based on this analysis, participants will discuss possible solutions and propose actions.
The origin of the course
AGTER has worked on the issue of land grabbing since 2009. The association and its members have produced numerous works on the subject, sharing their knowledge through articles, conferences and university courses in different countries. The extension of these courses was necessary in order to accommodate a growing interest by professionals, especially in the development sector (international, national and public institutions, NGOs, consultants) but also in agriculture (farmers associations) and civil society organisations.
Under the guidance of AGTER and CERAI, a first round of courses was organised as part of the preparations for the World Forum on Access to Land (WFAL) held in Valencia in 2016. Organised by AGTER and in collaboration with MODOP NGO, and with financial support from the Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation for the Progress of Humandkind, it brought together 25 French-speaking participants from 15 countries (Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe).
With the success of this first session and the demand exceeding the number of places available, AGTER decided, in collaboration with CERAI and in partnership with the International Land Coalition (ILC), to update the course and offer new sessions in 2020. As part of a service offered by the ILC to its members, and by AGTER to all its partners and any interested individual, the course will be delivered in 3 languages: French, English, and Spanish.
The course is aimed at those who are facing land grabbing in their daily and/or professional lives, directly or indirectly. It will bring together a variety of stakeholders whose different experiences, exchanged within the analysis framework, will enrich and expand the capacities of participants to both analyse and design action. This course is addressed to a wide audience, mainly members of farmers and civil society organisations, members of the development sector (NGOs, Ministries, development agencies, independent consultants), as well as researchers, students and journalists.
Even if the course targets primarily members of the ILC, and those who participated in the creation and running of the World Forum on Access to Land, all individuals and organisations who are interested are welcome to apply.
- Be able to dedicate 10 hours a week to the course;
- Have access to a stable internet connection; be able to both receive and send documents in .doc and .pdf format, and comment and ask questions via email.
What you will learn and how
The core aim of the course is to equip participants with the tools necessary to analyse land grabbing situations, and act on them. The tools are based on the analysis of different cases and forms of land grabbing, and the reactions they have provoked. This allows to understand the features that are both common to all land grabs but that are also unique to each specific case. Equipped with these tools, actors and organisations who are already facing land grabbing in the field will be able to create coalitions and co-actions with organisations in the political and legal spheres, and bring about change on a broader scale.
Participants won’t be passive learners listening to lectures: they will be speaking and working directly with the teaching team via the chat room during the whole 4 weeks of the course, and contribute to it with their own experiences. Participants will get the opportunity to use the tools they have learnt and apply them to a situation they have chosen.
Their inputs won't be restricted to the group of participants only. The case studies that they develop may be later included in future classes, in the ILC Database of Good Practices or in AGTER’s document bank dedicated to governance of natural resources.
The course will last one month. It will be composed of three one week-long modules focussing each on one particular aspect: understanding, analysing, and responding to land grabbing; the fourth week will be devoted to the finalisation of participants’ case studies with the help of the tutors.
Module I - Understanding
… what we call « land grabs », how to define what they are, their history, which forms they take, and what they represent in today’s world?
Module II - Analysing
...the economic rationale which is at the heart of large scale land appropriation, with a critical reading of the justifications often put forward by promoters of land appropriations, and analysing their impact on farmers and the country.
Module III - Responding
… to land grabs by indentifying the diverse possibilities of resistance, and discussing both their successes and failures.
During the fourth and final week of the course, participants – still supervised by the tutors – will have the time to finish the case study designed in the previous three weeks, and most importantly will be able to continue exchanging their experiences and personal opinions.
The course is entirely online, on AGTER’s teaching platform Moodle. On this platform participants will be able to access learning modules, which are based on structured analyses and illustrated with numerous case studies. Additional reading recommendations and exercises will also be available.
Each week modules will consist of:
- Exercises that will allow participants to use the analysis toolbox and apply it to a land grab scenario they have chosen.
- A discussion forum with a guest speaker, on a subject introduced during the class.
The team responsible for the running of the course will also evaluate the exercises and the weekly discussion forum. The team will be available for the participants at all times. At the end of the course each participant will fill in an evaluation form whose feedback will be used to improve future courses. A certificate will also be given to each participant at the end of the course.
Meet the team
The initial course was elaborated in 2015 by Samir El Ouaamari, formerly mission head at AGTER (today university lecturer at AgroParisTech Agronomic engineer school). The course is run by a team of AGTER members or members of partnered organisations who have long term experience on the issue of land grabbing. The English course will be delivered by :
- Christian Castellanet, GRET, Associate Expert of AGTER, Agronomist, Ecologist (PhD Institute of Ecology, UGA-USA), action research specialist in the field of land tenure and natural resources governance, 40 years experience in West Africa, The Caribbean, Brazilian Amazon, and South East Asia.
- Mathieu Perdriault, in charge of projects and development at AGTER, agroeconomist, political analyst, facilitator in multi-actor processus and propositions in the domain of natural resource governance, executive secretary of the World Forum on Access to Land and Natural Resources (WFAL2016), 15 years experience.
Experts on specific subjects will be invited every week to partake in the discussion fora.
fees and scholarships
This is the first course of a new permanent learning system which introduces a financial subsidy system. Its launch is financially supported by the ILC.
This non-profit teaching supply must cover work-time and the costs of preparation of new classes, and thus enrolment costs are necessary. In order to guarantee the benefits of the course to those whose livelihoods depend on the use of land and natural resources, a principal of solidarity applies to its financial mechanism: organisations with the largest financial resources (international and national governmental organisations, large NGOs, research centres, etc.) will pay their full enrolment fees in order to cover the costs of those without the necessary means, allowing them to participate as well. This principal will allow us to partly or fully support some participants who are unable to cover the enrolment costs.
The full enrolment cost is 1500 Euros (or 1654 USD). Scholarships are mainly designed to cover the enrolment costs of applicants from the Global South who work in farmers and civil society organisations, or students.
The amount of financial support will vary according to the type of organisation:
Organisations or individual candidates with no financial resources
Amount to be paid: 0 Euros
The scholarship covers the entirety of the enrolment cost (1500 Euros or 1654 USD)
Very small NGOs, individual candidates with few financial resources
Amount to be paid: 500 Euros
The scholarship covers two thirds of the enrolment costs (1000 Euros or 1103 USD)
Small NGOs, individual candidates
Amount to be paid: 750 Euros
The scholarship covers half the cost (750 Euros or 827 USD)
Large NGOs from the Global South, large farmers organisations
Amount to be paid: 1000 Euros
The scholarship covers a third of the cost (500 Euros or 551 USD)
In order to receive a scholarship you will need to fill out the attached candidate application form. Based on the information given in the application form, the selection committee will decide the amount to which the participant will be entitled.
The selection process will be based on different criteria: the interest and benefit of the applicant organisation; how the participant’s experience will enrich the discussion forum; and personal motivation.
Not all applications will be accepted as the number of places is limited to 25 participants, in order to ensure an ideal working environment. The candidates who were not accepted can apply to the following course which will take place about 6 months later.
download and fill out the application form
Send the application form by May 19 to: firstname.lastname@example.org
You will receive an answer regarding the scholarship you are entitled to when your application is accepted, at the latest by May 21.