Korogwe. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Tanzania Resident Representative, Ms Christine Musisi has emphasized on the importance of using land-use planning as a tool for engaging communities in effective watershed catchment management.
Ms Musisi was speaking at the handing-over of 250 Customary Right of Occupancy Certificates to residents of Ubiri Village, in Korogwe District.
The 250 certificates are part of the more 1000 Customary Rights of Occupancy certificates issued in Tanga and Morogoro regions under an initiative fully supported by the UNDP/Global Environment Facility (GEF) project on Securing watersheds through Sustainable Land Management practices in Zigi and Ruvu catchments in Tanga and Morogoro, respectively.
She cited a World Bank report of September 2017, which shows that water scarcity affected over 40 percent of the global population with the reason being shortfall between forecast demand and supply of water by 2030.
She added that by 2015, about 1.8 billion people will live in regions or countries with absolute water scarcity.
“Water security is a major–and often, a growing challenge for many countries today,” she said.
She said that while there are natural causes, this situation is also caused humans to manage the land as human beings or their animals.
Musisi expressed hope that the customary right of occupancy to 10 villages from both catchments would go a long way to address complex integrated water resource management and development plan challenges and will benefit not only the communities in the catchments but also the government.
Speaking at before presenting the certificates to 10 villagers representing the rest of the 250 villagers, Muheza District Commissioner, MwanaashaTumbo said they should now use the certificates as an insurance against destruction of water sources in the respective villages. u
Ms Tumbo asked the UNDP to extend the initiative to other villages to expand protection of water sources in the district.
She further said that the project has exploded the traditional myth of women being denied land ownership, legally, in villages.
According to a Korogwe District official, Ms. Rosemary Kimaro the process involved the development and improvement of Land Use Planning frameworks for four districts of Muheza, Mkinga, Mvomero and Morogoro District Council.
MsKimaro said that 10 of the 20 villages from the catchments have reached the sixth (last)stage of land use planning which allowed them to receive the certificates.
A villager from Ubiri, Amin Mohamed said that the certificates would reduce land conflicts where were rampant in the village. “I was a member of the Land Committee and we have been dealing with cases of land where villages were complaining of their pieces of land being invaded by fellow villagers. This would cease now,” he said.
Mohamed said that their children would no longer live with a fear of their land being grabbed by relatives of other villagers.
Another Rahma Abdallah Kerefu said she did not expect that she would have legal documents to own land in her life. “This would change my life now,” she said.