Strengthening Property Rights Project

Mitigating Conflict over Property Rights and Land Tenure

Land titling is a key element of economic development and security in any country. In East Timor, a country that only gained independence in 2002, conflicts over property rights and land tenure have been a major cause of civil unrest.

ACDI/VOCA, under a subcontract with Associates in Rural Development (ARD), implemented the Strengthening Property Rights Project, which supported the East Timorese government to strengthen property rights and resolve conflicts under a five-year program.

To achieve this, ACDI/VOCA implemented public information awareness (PIA) and conflict mitigation and reconciliation activities. The PIA program included a multimedia, national campaign reaching urban, rural, literate, and nonliterate populations. Under its conflict mitigation and reconciliation programming, ACDI/VOCA mediated conflicting claims to land, immovable property, and natural resources, ensuring that the necessary procedures for resolving and mediating conflicting land claims are in place throughout the cadastre, registration, and titling phases of the programs.

Under the public information and awareness component of the project, the project coordinated public display activities and gender and property rights workshops and arranged for public service announcements on the radio and television. Under the conflict mitigation and reconciliation component, ACDI/VOCA organized meetings with disputants and carried out awareness-raising on the values of types of conflict mediation. 5,520 land disputes were recorded through the program.

In addition, ACDI/VOCA helped improve access to legal justice for all Timorese and legal non-Timorese land claims. A full-time gender specialist employed by ARD supported ACDI/VOCA’s activities to improve legal recourse for women in current and future land claims.

In November 2011 USAID officially handed over responsibility for the Ita Nia Rai program to the Ministry of Justice.

This project was awarded under the Prosperity, Livelihoods and Conserving Ecosystems (PLACE) IQC contracting mechanism.