Midterm Evaluation: Terre d’Entente (February 2015)
Brune Mercier, Search for Common Ground
The Terre d’Entente project is implemented by Search for Common Ground (Search) with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, and in collaboration with three government partners, three civil society partners or associations of traditional leaders, and 16 community radio stations. This 48-month project began in July 2012 and ended in July 2016.
The overall goal of this project is to support the legitimate governments of the Great Lakes region to develop the capacity to fulfill their essential functions. Specifically, the project seeks to provide mechanisms for citizen participation in decision-making on sensitive issues; facilitate engagement between civil society actors and local authorities; and strengthen the capacity of peacebuilding actors at national levels.This mid-term evaluation aims to capture the change already made by the project on the transformation of land conflicts in the targeted areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and to formulate concrete recommendations to enhance the relevance, efficiency, and the sustainability of the project for the final years of the project. The methodologies of this evaluation included 31 semi-structured interviews and 24 focus group discussions.
The evaluation indicated that several causes of land conflicts were identified in the sites where this assessment took place and most causes were identical regardless of the sites. More than three quarters of respondents said that despite the changes that some NGOs are trying to bring into the community, in relation to gender equality, the customary responsibility still weighs on women. In addition and related to land titles, almost all the people interviewed in the focus group expressed that access to a land title is one of the most significant problems of land conflicts in rural areas. Some still refer to customary land practices, while others in the communities consider the land to belong to the state, which contributes to an ambiguous understanding of land rights.