Community connected land tenure for better livelihoods and conservation in northern Tanzania.
Published: 11 October 2021
Last edited: 12 October 2021
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Pastoralist, agro-pastoralist and hunter-gatherer communities have traditionally occupied the semiarid and arid areas of northern Tanzania, where they have managed the land sustainably, supporting both themselves and the wildlife that live there. Threats of land alienation and increasing resource degradation add to the insecurity of these natural resource dependent livelihood systems. In 2011, UCRT pioneered the communal certificate of Customary Right of Occupancy. Community land tenure provides local communities with the rights to own the communal land and resources which they live and depend on. Through supporting land rights and nature based livelihoods, and empowering these communities to sustainably manage the community land, huge areas of wildlife areas can be protected which otherwise would be susceptible to agriculture, encroachment and deforestation.


East and South Africa
Scale of implementation
Forest ecosystems
Grassland ecosystems
Rangeland / Pasture
Temperate deciduous forest
Temperate grassland, savanna, shrubland
Access and benefit sharing
Connectivity / transboundary conservation
Ecosystem services
Food security
Indigenous people
Land management
Protected and conserved areas governance
Science and research
Sustainable livelihoods
Erratic rainfall
Land and Forest degradation
Ecosystem loss
Invasive species
Poor governance and participation
Lack of food security
Unemployment / poverty
Sustainable development goals
SDG 1 – No poverty
SDG 2 – Zero hunger
SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
SDG 4 – Quality education
SDG 5 – Gender equality
SDG 6 – Clean water and sanitation
SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth
SDG 10 – Reduced inequalities
SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 15 – Life on land
SDG 16 – Peace, justice and strong institutions
Aichi targets
Target 2: Biodiversity values integrated
Target 5: Habitat loss halved or reduced
Target 9: Invasive alien species prevented and controlled
Target 10: Ecosystems vulnerable to climate change
Target 11: Protected and conserved areas
Target 12: Reducing risk of extinction
Target 14: Ecosystem services
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Target 18: Traditional knowledge
Sendai Framework
Target 1: Reduce global disaster mortality by 2030
Target 4: Reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, among them health and educational facilities, including through developing their resilience by 2030
Target 6: Enhance international cooperation to developing countries through adequate and sustainable support to complement their national actions for implementation of this Framework by 2030


Tanzania | Simanjiro, Longido, Monduli, Kiteto, Hanang, Yaeda Valley and Lake Eyasi and Ngorongoro.


Greater land tenure security helps address a number of challenges faced by indigenous communities in northern Tanzania. The largely rangeland areas that support pastoralist, agro-pastoralists and hunter-gatherers are all being affected by rapid environmental change. Threats of land alienation and increasing resource degradation add to the insecurity of these natural resource dependent livelihood systems. These communities commonly experience food insecurity for several months of every year as agricultural and settlement expansion has fragmented and compressed available grazing land and forest. From this conflict can arise between communities as pressure is placed on access to pasture, water and other natural resources. Furthermore, as communities experience economic insecurity more pressure is placed on girls to get married at a younger age and access to education is reduced.


The Ujamaa Community Resource Team (UCRT) uses CCRO’s to improve the lives of pastoralist, agro-pastoralist, and hunter-gatherer communities in northern Tanzania. These communities include the Maasai, Barabaig, Akie, Sonjo and Hadzabe tribes.

How do the building blocks interact?

UCRT believes that empowering pastoralist, agro-pastoralist, and hunter-gatherer communities communities is a fundamental step towards a just and sustainable society. It achieves this by:

- Supporting communities to secure rights to land and natural resources

- Strengthening local natural resource governance institutions that enable collective decision-making and enforcement

- Helping communities find ways to sustainably manage and benefit from their lands and resources

- Empowering marginalised groups so that they can play a greater role in their communities


UCRT’s work enable communities to better control, manage, and benefit from their environment and natural assets.

In turn, UCRT is helping achieve the following interconnected outcomes:

Improved access to and security over grazing land and forests, which are the foundation of pastoralist and hunter-gatherer livelihoods;

Reduced conflicts over competing land-uses;

and healthier eco-systems that support customary livelihoods and cultural integrity;

Enhanced community income, leading to improved lives, through activities such as wildlife-based tourism and other nature-based enterprises.



UCRT has used this innovative communal tenure mechanism to help communities secure over 1,100,000 hectares of indigenous community connected land. These rangeland areas are located near some of Tanzania’s most protected wildlife areas. Important ecosystems have been protected, securing wildlife migration paths and breeding areas, allowing for connectivity to national parks and other protected areas. Communities benefit from greater economic security from the sustainable management of their land and natural resources. For example, in 2020 communities in Makame Wildlife Management Area received $361,000 from carbon offsetting and the Hadzabe tribe have better food security since the introduction of ecotourism initiatives. Greater land tenure security empowers communities. Women can now benefit from land ownership. When women own land food security increases, family health improves and children have increased access to education.


Olterere Leartunde - Village Chair of Emboreet


The current government started working with UCRT in 2018. UCRT did a valuable job with the central government to demarcate and get certificates for communal lands, rangelands and grazelands. UCRT also supported the surveying and certification of public areas and land belonging to women and people with disabilities, leading to a reduction in conflict over ownership of land. My job is significantly easier now, as in the past, as Village Chair, I had to deal with a lot of issues about conflict over land. UCRT’s project has helped solve a lot of these conflicts. Orkesumet used to see a lot of cases about land conflict. Now, only minor cases make it to the district, which is a reflection of the community being more at peace.

People have learned the value of land through the process of surveying and demarcation of their land. With the support of the central government, UCRT helped 25 women and people with disabilities survey their land and secure certificates of ownership. This process was funded by UCRT, which is significant, as these people would not have been able to afford it otherwise.


If the progress they have seen to date continues, and other activities are implemented (a different range of training) the community will be safer, there will be more development, as there will be less conflict and people will once again live in harmony with wildlife.


Emboreet has benefited significantly from this project due to the reduction in conflicts over land. I have benefited from the project by being able to help women and disabled people, which I would not have been able to do alone. I believe that helping individuals has a significant impact. We are all benefitting from healthier rangelands and livestock and wildlife in the area are thriving.

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Paine Mako Ujamaa Community Resource Team