One of the key issues identified during consultations with the communities was that most of the slum dwellers in the target area were classified by government as squatters and both Central Government and FCC officials regarded them as a nuisance. Families living in these areas were always living in fear of being evicted from their plots at any time. In view of that threat, the project planned to improve land tenure and security through the following strategies:
- Supporting CBOs to Increase slum dwellers’ awareness of Government land policies, land rights, and legal land ownership processes.
- Training slum dwellers to acquire advocacy and lobbying skills to enable them to engage and influence government and local authorities land and other policies affecting them.
- Supporting slum dwellers to form networks and coalitions with other communities to lobby and demand their rights.
1. Slum dwellers awareness of government land policies and land rights
Adama of Bottom Oku Slum community displaying her Land Title Deed.
Records showed that as a result of the awareness raising on government policy and slum dweller’s land rights, a total of 525 (46%) of the 1,152 slum dwellers secured land titles over the five-year life of the project. This was due to intensive awareness raising and engagements with the Freetown City Council and government on slum land rights and regularisation of ownership support which involved over 17,000 beneficiaries in the 8 communities. The low level of achievement on the number of titles secured was blamed on a combination of the cost for processing the Title Deeds which, due to the high inflation in the country, had risen sharply to the equivalent of GBP 1,000, and lack of interest among some of the community members.