To advance, promote and research into land rights of small peasants and pastoralists with a view to provide information and knowledge so as to facilitate equitable and socially just access to, and control over land for production of food and other basic needs. In particular, to monitor developments in land tenure regimes (including machinery for settling of land disputes) generally and in rural and peri-urban areas specifically.
In this connection to educate the public at large and land administrators in alternative and suitable forms of land tenure regimes including accessible modes of settling land disputes. To conduct and procure research and training concerning these and to publish or otherwise to make known the results to the public.
To offer advice, counselling and related assistance on land tenure issues to small land users in rural and peri-urban areas and in this relation to undertake (or assist in undertaking) occasional test cases on pro bono basis before relevant judicial, quasi-judicial and administrative bodies.
To make available on request arbitration services for resolving land disputes consistent with the Institute’s objectives.
To research into, construct and suggest amicable means of resolving land disputes among and between small land users and villages.
To provide and organise on request short courses on land tenure and land rights;
To provide on request consultancy services to government and non-government organisations provided it is within the spirit of social and educational objects of the Institute;
To organise and sponsor conferences, seminars, workshops, meetings and such other fora with a view to promote the social and educational objects of the Institute.
To raise funds for the purposes of the Institute on such terms as are compatible with the autonomy of the Institute and within the spirit of its social and educational objects.
The first four objects constitute the heart of what is envisaged to be the educational and social work of the Institute. These four objects can be grouped under three main aims: educational, advisory and activist service. There are three major planks of educational work:
To research into and generate knowledge about alternative systems of land tenure taking inspiration from already existing local systems of knowledge
To use these and other comparative material from elsewhere in Africa to mount short but intense courses/seminars for, particularly, village leaders (chairmen, secretaries, village council members, etc.) and village intellectuals (elders, school teachers, opinion makers, etc.) and
Disseminate through different means – publications (both occasional and regular), print and electronic media, workshops etc. – the results and findings as well as debates generated through research and training sessions.
Advisory work would consist of mainly legal (although not exclusively) counselling and occasional taking up of litigation in test cases to establish more sensitive and synpathetic judicial attitudes towards the landrights of producers.
The Institute would also seek to explore alternative ways of resolving land disputes among villagers and between villages outside formal judicial, quasi-judicial and administrative structures. The Institute would be prepared to provide activist service such as voluntary arbitration, mediation and conciliation and personnel where this is requested by village communities. It is hoped that in this way village communities can articulate their own conceptions of fairness and justice and develop their own responsible and accountable machinery to resolve at least some of their land disputes without having to resort to the more expensive and virtually inaccessible formal machinery.
The Institute may, in appropriate situations and in conformity with its main aims, undertake selected consultancy and research projects either on its own or in collaboration with like-minded national and international bodies.