Bondeni Community Land Trust in Kenya

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David Robertson:

"In Kenya, land tenure issues are of high priority because precolonial methods of land tenure were more community-based than present day legal structures, which has led to serious conflicts over land rights.

The Bondeni Community Land Trust was founded in the 1980s as a way to address the complex problem of urban settlements within smaller towns in Kenya. The implementation plan received substantial input from the community thanks to sustained mobilization by local residents who were determined to stay informed and involved in the process. Residents were identified, registered, and their needs discussed and prioritized, after which a committee was formed to represent them.

60% of households in the settlements own their housing structures, 30% are tenants and 10% of tenants live with the structures’ owners. The land is held by the community, but the local municipal council provides training and technical support for laying out sewerage and water pipes as well as an office for the residents’ committee. Residents own any developments on their own plots of land and can bequeath, inherit or sell them back to the CLT according to a specific resale formula.

The Bondeni Community Land Trust was funded by central government loans and a German institution, and was built on land donated by the municipal government. There are two main bodies that govern the CLT: the “society,” which is in charge of the day-to-day matters of the community-based organization, and the “trustees,” who are concerned with administrative matters such as issuing leases, determining fees for land rental, and making land use decisions.

Challenges include a lack of participation from female residents, despite the assurance of “reserved seats” for women in the governing bodies, and a lack of leadership training opportunities, literacy and language programs." (

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