Transforming DR Congo through research and public policy

Sharing the Land

In 2014, there were several protests in Beni due to dissatisfaction with the existing land management mechanisms. This dissent prompted the Integrated Research Institute to learn more about land conflict in Beni and to start the Sharing the Land (STL) Center at the Université Chrétienne Bilingue du Congo.

STL started in January 2015 in partnership with Texas A&M University’s Center on Conflict and Development (ConDev) through USAID’s Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN). The vision of STL is to promote peace and human flourishing by facilitating the development of a just, transparent, effective Land Information and Management System in DR Congo. The mission of STL is to use participatory Geographic Information Systems (GIS) methods coupled with community organizing principles to improve land governance and administration, to address land conflict, and to enhance urban planning and rural development in eastern DRC.

Project Results 

In partnership with ConDev, STL collaborated with the government, customary chiefs as well as everyday landowners, tenants, and other community members to develop a digital base map of Beni town, which included a map of 531 land claims and conflict data for Masiani neighborhood, one Beni’s 30 neighborhoods. In so doing, STL developed a model and framework for improving the technical aspects of DRC’s land administration. This model was successfully pitched to North Kivu’s Governor and Minister of Land Affairs, resulting in a new pilot project in Goma’s Les Volcans and Katindo neighborhoods in 2016. 

Building on the success of STL’s prior work in Beni and Goma, STL started partnering with UN-Habitat and Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) to enhance the framework and Land Information System using a customized version of GLTN’s Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM) in Beni’s Masiani neighborhood.

In partnership with GLTN and UN-Habitat, STL is currently expanding its work to three new sites in rural areas of North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri provinces. Here, STL will partner with DRC’s government and local community members to integrate Community Land Use Planning processes in developing and piloting the Land Information and Management System.

Next Steps

  • To enhance the frameworks and systems established through STL’s pilot projects in Goma and Beni in order to develop a transparent and legitimate land administration, which provides effective service to all citizens in Goma and Beni.
  • To scale-up STL’s previous interventions by initiating new pilot projects in 3 additional urban centers throughout North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri in order to improve and reform the existing systems, practices and policies of DRC’s formal and informal land administration services.
  • Empower DRC’s Urban Planning offices in major urban centers of eastern DRC to improve land use planning by introducing a citywide strategic planning approach that takes into consideration the informal growth of cities in peri-urban contexts.
  • Lobby the existing land governance structures to implement a step-by-step approach to developing a transparent and legitimate land and property tax system in order to financially sustain DRC’s land administration services.

Map of Volcans Neighborhood in Goma

Maps of Beni

Click here to access our dynamic, digital map of Beni, North Kivu, DR Congo hosted on ESRI’s ArcGIS website. This map will continue to receive periodic updates.

Additionally, here are three maps of Beni, DRC and Masiani neighborhood in Beni town.

Maps of Batangi Mbau and Baswagha Madiwe

In 2016, STL partnered with UN-Habitat and SYDIP in order to develop rural land security maps and methods for land administration and management in Batangi Mbau and Baswagha Madiwe.