Land & Water

Tools and Spatial Technologies for Village Land Use Planning: A Practitioner’s Manual for Active Community Engagement

Village land use (VLU) planning in Tanzania has its basis in the Land Use Planning Act No. 6 of 2007 and the Village Land Act of 1999, both of which give village councils (VCs) the powers to plan, manage and administer the lands within their village. Sectoral legislation such as the Environmental Management Act of 2004 directs and obliges every village community to practice the sustainable management of the resources with in its village. The process of village land use planning is guided by “Guidelines for Participatory Village Land Use Planning, Administration and Management”, 3rd edition (“The PLUM Guidelines (3rd edition)”), a document which describes the six steps to be followed in the VLUP process: 1) preparations at the district level, 2) participatory rural appraisal (PRA) for land use management, 3) mapping of existing village land uses, 4) participatory VLU planning, 5) detailed village land use management planning, and 6) implementation of village land administration. This practitioners’ manual focuses on the first four steps of the VLU planning process. It is an annex to “The PLUM Guidelines (3rd edition)” and provides detailed instructions on how practitioners can carry out activities in the first four steps of the VLUP process. The manual proposes and provides detailed instructions on 17 practices and tools and four tasks, all of which are tailored to facilitate VLUP activities (Table 1). These tools and practices are optional and, when necessary, can be modified to suit the village context and resources available. Figure 1 shows the workflow of the various activities in the VLUP process based on "The PLUM Guidelines (3rd edition)" and the proposed practices, tools and use of spatial data at each step of the process. The figure suggests the order in which the tools and practices can be used in the VLUP process. Decisions regarding land use allocation and management can be made only with information on the locations of existing resources, land uses, and people’s preferences and needs. In addition, reaching well-informed, mutually agreed, and locally owned decisions about VLU planning requires wide stakeholder representation and the effective participation of villagers. Informed decisions and good-quality village land use plans (VLUPs), thus, necessitates that village-level spatial information is available. In the majority of villages in Tanzania, however, this information is inadequate and disorganised. Moreover, the collection of such information often relies on laborious fieldwork which is challenging to conduct with the resources available. Today, however, free spatial data and technologies and mobile technology offer new opportunities to enhance the cost-efficiency of and stakeholder participation in the VLUP process. In addition to the use of spatial technologies, “The PLUM Guidelines (3rd edition)” emphasises empowering local communities, especially women and other disadvantaged groups, to participate in decision-making.

Source (link)
Support tools
Thematic areas
Land management/planning
User Category
Technical specialist, Scientific advisor, Policy maker