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Improving the land management practices of the Agricultural Land Agency in Tunisia

19/12/2018

Improving the land management practices of the Agricultural Land Agency in Tunisia

FAO is supporting the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGT) in many countries through projects and programmes with a strong capacity development component.

In Tunisia, a project funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation aims more specifically to improve the land management practices and approaches of the Agricultural Land Agency (AFA).  

Active participation and continuous improvement 

Based on the results of a capacity needs assessment conducted at the inception phase of the project, "the participatory approach" has been a main theme of the planned activities.

Two capacity development sessions have been co-organized by FAO and AFA allowing 65 AFA technical staff members from different parts of Tunisia to share their experiences and improve their land management practices in light of the VGGT principles and recommendations. Through a series of interactive and evidence-based sessions, AFA staff members were able to learn new participatory tools and methodologies to improve their land management practices, especially by enhancing the dialogue with beneficiaries, mainly farmers. For instance, one of the training sessions led to the elaboration of a contextualized guide on Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) aiming improving the practices of the AFA technicians in a more participatory way.

A total of three regional workshops gave the opportunity for a diversity of stakeholders to share their daily challenges in land management. For instance, one group work exercise was organized around a SWOT analysisin order for AFA staff to identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats for AFA related to land consolidation. The analysis showed a need to improve the data collection system towards more transparency and better accessibility for the public to obtain relevant information. The active participation of AFA members in these activities demonstrates their readiness to reflect on their work practices in order to improve them.

Finally, a series of exchange visits have been organized for representatives of AFA to learn from good examples of territorial development planning in other country contexts. These exchanges of experience and knowledge are central for continuous improvement, as highlighted in the VGGT Implementation Principle number ten.

Tracking the impacts of capacity development interventions

In order to understand the impact of the capacity development activities, after introducing the VGGT and participatory approaches, a questionnaire was distributed to the participants during the second training session. The questionnaire helped the participants to assess their knowledge uptake and to evaluate to which extent they have made use of the new knowledge and approaches. The results showed that all the participants have either actually applied the knowledge acquired or reflected on the use of the participatory methodologies since the first training session. One participant expressed that: “The training helped to better understand the relationship between the individuals and their environment and the importance of applying a participatory approach. It is not enough to think that you understand the other; you must listen and strive to build a dialogue and good communication with the farmer” (AFA Technician -Topographer).

A considerable number of the participants also stated that the new methods have not only helped them to improve their interaction with the beneficiaries on the ground; but also their relationship with other colleagues and actors: “After the training sessions, I see that participatory approaches are being applied and executed in the daily work of AFA. We are in a process of mainstreaming these methodologies at all levels of our work” (Main Technician - AFA).

A focus on change agents

The results of the implemented activities are expected to have a larger impact, as the AFA staff members have started improving their practices in their daily interactions with the beneficiaries on the ground.

This focus on strengthening the capacities of “change agents” who are transforming new knowledge into action, helps to assure that the new approaches and methodologies are applied and mainstreamed in procedures and practices - well beyond the time horizon of projects and programmes.

For more information

FAO Tenure website

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