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grass Grassroots methodology for tool development at scale

Ensuring genuine grassroots participation within the Global Land Tool Network enhances the prospects that high quality and useful land tools will be designed, disseminated and used in practice. Grassroots participation has been defined as a planned process whereby local groups are clarifying and expressing their own needs and objectives and taking collective action to meet them. The grassroots should ordinarily be seen as those groups who are the intended beneficiaries of the relevant pro-poor land tools. In urban areas this would include women residents of informal settlements, low-income tenants, low-income owners in slum conditions and marginalised groups affected by urbanisation such as indigenous peoples and small farmers. In rural areas, the categories would cover small farmers (tenants, freehold, informal) small and nomadic pastoralists, landless labourers, Indigenous peoples, informal settlements, refugees/IDPs. Within each of the listed categories of persons, the majority tend to be women, so ensuring that grassroots tools are gendered is crucial.


Entry points for participation

The grassroots methodology could allow for participation at a number juncture points within the GLTN framework of action which should facilitate a virtual feedback loop between research and action:

  • Documentation of existing tools developed by the grassroots.
  • Participation in the development and review of new or updated land tools.
  • Dissemination of land tools.
  • Testing of land tools.
  • Ongoing transfer of knowledge of land issues.


Possible models of participation

The model for permitting grassroots participation at these levels issues may vary according to context but could include the following:

  • Use of existing grassroots networks that have contact with GLTN international and regional partners.
  • Focus groups with community representatives in selected countries.
  • Internet forums on particular issues (e.g. digital divide problem).
  • Participation of grassroots representatives in national, regional and international multi-stakeholder GLTN workshops for tool development.
  • Pilot projects for testing of tools.


Questions for tool developers

  1. Are there other grassroots participation models that should be considered? Or should GLTN only choose one model?
  2. The number and diversity of grassroots groups is significant. How will GLTN address the non-homogeneity and size of such groups within its limited capacity?
  3. How do we ensure that lessons learned at the grassroots level can be scaled up into useful multi-stakeholder tools? Or should separate tools be developed for the different stakeholders such as grassroots groups, local authorities, national authorities etc.
  4. Should a separate land tool be developed on grassroots participation, so that stakeholders are aware of how grassroots participation can be achieved with all tools?

Grassroots: Related Documents
  1. A training package: Improving gender equality and grassroots participation through good land governance (Eng - 2010)
  2. Grassroots and Land Tool Development Brief (Eng - 2010)
  3. Not about us without us: Working with grassroots organisations in the land field (Eng - 2009)
  4. Tapping the Potential: The Role of Grassroots in Land Policy Implementation (Eng - 2012)

Contact Info:

Location: Gigiri, UN Complex
Office: NOF South Wing Block 3
Telephone: +254 207623858
Email: gltn[at]unhabitat.org

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