Secure Tenure on Zanzibar

Project Profile

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Project selected under the Innovation Programme Call for Proposals 2019:

Secure Tenure in African Cities: Micro Funds for Community Innovation



Recipient: Spatial Collective
Grant amount: USD 48,988

Photo: Spatial Collective


In recent years, the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar has struggled to provide title deeds to its growing population, partially because complete records of how many properties there are on the islands do not exist.

In 2018, Spatial Collective supported the Zanzibar Commission for Lands (COLA) and the State University of Zanzibar to form a team which digitised 360,000 buildings on the Zanzibar Archipelago using drone imagery. Most of the buildings were located on Unguja Island, and predominantly in Zanzibar City, a fast-growing metropolitan area with a population of 700,000. The same team also completed a household survey of more than 2,000 households.

In this project, Spatial Collective will support the Zanzibar Commission for Lands to:

> Set up data collection protocols, including the use of drone imagery, GPS and mobile phones;

> Train the Commission for Lands team, State University of Zanzibar students, and community members on using these
available technologies to collect and manage data;

> Oversee the data collection in the selected pilot area of the Zanzibar City; and

> Create a comprehensive database of buildings in the area with information on identification number, owner, actual use,
and apartment number.

Through these activities, the project will produce trusted data on buildings for a wide range of stakeholders. This data is expected to help the Commission for Lands eventually adjudicate the entire Zanzibar Archipelago, starting with Zanzibar City, and provide citizens with title deeds. It is also expected to help the Zanzibar Urban Planning Authority prepare plans for settlement upgrading, provide affordable housing, and feed sustainable urban planning in Zanzibar City.

In addition, the project will build local capacity to support the design and implementation of evidence-driven urban property rights interventions and build the capacity to continue the project activities well past its completion. The project is a significant innovation in Zanzibar. By using widely available and affordable ICTs and GPS units – paired with existing drone imagery and digitised buildings, and working with university students and communities – the Commission for Lands will be able to obtain much-needed data in a fraction of time and with a fraction of resources.

About the grantee:

Spatial Collective is a Nairobi-based, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and technology consulting company that
operates primarily in East Africa. Its model consists of training and supporting communities and organisations on
adopting available technologies to collect data that is important to them.

Most of Spatial Collective’s work is conducted in difficult environments where there is little existing data and on issues of
significant global importance ranging from property rights, environmental management, livelihoods, economic prosperity,
formal and informal governance initiatives, and safety and security.