Landless youth for resilient landscapes in Ethiopia

Landless youth for resilient landscapes in Ethiopia

Giving land rights to landless youth in exchange of restoring degraded land

Before we got this land, we wanted to move away from here. But hope is now here, in our home.

Fistum Gebremichael, age 23, member of Mahber Lemlem

CONTEXT

This initiative is part of the Ethiopia Sustainable Land Management Project II (SLMP 2), one of the 12 country investments composing the Sahel and West Africa Program (SAWAP) in support of Africa’s Great Green Wall, developed under the TerrAfrica partnership and implemented by the World Bank with EU support. Land rights, management, value, and use form key development issues for millions of rural Ethiopians facing climate, water, food, and livelihood insecurity. This is especially true for youth facing severe challenges of landlessness and joblessness. This innovative approach provided legal landholding certificates and extension support to landless youth in exchange for restoring degraded communal lands. This resulted in youth employment, increased livelihood opportunities, empowered youths who have few other options but to migrate, and strengthened basis for better participation in the governance of natural resources. It also helped diversify and balance competing land uses in rural landscapes and boost climate resilience.

OBJECTIVES

  • Strengthen awareness, harmonization, strategic directions on opportunities and modalities for improved sustainable land management scale-up and effectiveness;
  • Improve and share analytical underpinnings to support policy dialogue and decision making;
  • Catalyze funding at country level.

RESULTS

  • 740 youth groups with more than 15 000 members (40% female) have received group landholding certificates or other legal documentation.
  • About 100 000 landless youth could be reached with sufficient financing.

FACTS AND FIGURES

  • 740 youth groups with more than 15 000 members (40% female) received group landholding certificates
  • 100 000 landless youth could be reached with sufficient financing

TESTIMONY

Landholding certificates for a youth group

'Before we got this land, we wanted to move away from here. But hope is now here, in our home.'Fistum Gebremichael, age 23, member of Mahber Lemlem, a youth group which received 8.2 hectares of land and landholding certificate. Fistum and his peers have developed their land with various biophysical soil and water conservation structures and started agroforestry for fruit and fodder production, including 70 mango, 81 papaya, 53 orange, and 120 gesho (similar to hops) trees. Gullies are stabilized and now host crops, vegetation cover is restored and water retained, and erosion-proof grass is growing and used for the group’s ox and sheep fattening. Clearly defined bylaws set how the land is used, how benefits are shared and how conflict are resolved.