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Changes in Land Tenure in Rural Liberia since the War and its Effects on Access to Land A case study of people’s perception in Lower Bokomu Clan, Gbarpolu County

I investigated changes in land tenure in rural Liberia, specifically focusing on changes in land tenure since the war and its effects on access to land in Lower Bokomu Clan, Gbarpolu County. I focused on four key elements of land tenure including access, use, control and transfer. The objective of the research was to understand access, use, control and transfer of land in the past; access, use, control and transfer of land after the war; how the changes have affected access to land in the study area; and how respondents view these changes.

I adopted a qualitative approach to this research and used a case study of  eleven respondents to gather my data. The respondents were identified through Judgment and Quota sampling, and they were selected from four of the six towns in the clan. Some of the main findings included access, use, control and transfer of land is largely governed by customary norms and practices; although there are some changes. Land sale is also uncommon, but individuals are now alienating land from the family and community pools. Finally, strangers especially men from outside the community, seem to be gaining access to land through their spouses.

Based on my findings, I conclude that although there are some changes in the way individuals accessed, used, controlled, and transferred land before and after the war, overall the system remains rooted in the local customary norms and practices. Additionally, strangers seem to be gaining access to land through their spouses as a part of broader social changes taking place within the area. Finally, although customary rules continue to restrict women痴 access to land, the practice seems to be evolving in favor of women.

 

Silas Kpanan’young Siakor (2013)

 

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