Addressing the Land Information Requirements of the Urban Poor – Phase I: Piloting of the Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM)



Approval Date
Proposal Focus
Core Focus
Secondary Cities
Country Type
Lesson Learned for Cities Alliance Members and Partners
Summarizing of key lessons learned in the project, are as follows: • The Project is a good model for partnerships. The partnerships between the international organizations (i.e. Cities Alliances, SDI, FIG, and UN-Habitat/GLTN), national institutions (i.e. Ministry of Housing, Land and Urban Development, Actogther [Urban National NGO], National Slum Federation) and local and community stakeholders (i.e. Municipality of Mbale, Mbale Slum Federation and community leaders and members) proved to be the ‘facilitating’ agents of change and innovations. The project is well received because all stakeholders are part of the implementation and existing projects/initiatives were considered in the design and implementation. • The Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM) as a pro-poor land information system was proven to be technically sound, simple to use and can reflect realities on the ground. Stakeholders appreciated the capacity of STDM in capturing the information on informal settlements using simple technology and utilizing the existing capacity of community members. Also, slum dwellers including government stakeholders appreciated the capacity of STDM to generate reports and undertake analysis as soon as the date have been captured or entered into the system. Also, the mere fact that slum dwellers themselves are able to interact with the STDM system, it only proved that the system is simple to use and can be replicated elsewhere. One advantage of STDM also is that it is affordable and that STDM is based is based on open and free software packages. • A combination of pro-poor lands tools and approaches van be implemented and van be affective. The project implementation has demonstrated that multiple tools and approaches can be used and can complement each other. In this case, the community mobilization and sensitization approaches by slum federation/SDI, the participatory enumeration process and the STDM as information tool complement each other and proven to be effective. • Ownership by the community of the process is key for success. Building from community-network of SDI and slum federation, the Project has demonstrated that a people-centered and community-drive approach is vital to its implementation. The community members are central to the mapping and enumeration process from planning state up to its implementation and post-implementation activities (i.e. validation of results). In this context that community easily accepted the results as they owned the process and they are the core players during the data collection process (i.e. enumerators also are community members). • Capacity development is a catalyst for sustainability. The project is clear that one of the most important elements of sustaining the development of a land information system like STDM is about capacitating the users on its use and on date updating and management. Aside from designing the information system in a simple manner for the slum dwellers to be able to comfortably use it, the Project was able to provide enough capacity development with the various stakeholders including government authorities, community leaders and slum federation members through various for a, meetings and orientation/briefings. Similarly, select slum federation members were formally trained to act as STDM operators. Community leaders from slum federation were also trained on the whole enumeration and mapping process incorporating the use and application of STDM. As indicated, a 3-day training of trainers was conducted in July 2012. Also, the project was able to establish a Regional Learning Centre for the use and application of STDM which is currently being managed by the National Slum Federation of Uganda. The Centre will serve as the training hub for STDM use by other interested slum federations in Uganda and from other countries. It will also envision that the Centre and the trained members of slum federation will provide continuous technical assistance to their colleagues with similar projects. • Pro-poor solutions have huge potential to impact on the lives of the poor. The project has illustrated that a combination of pro-poor and affordable tools plus strategic partnership have a huge potential to impact on he lives of the poor. The results of the engagement of various actors in the project and the information being generated by STDM have strengthened die dialogues and partnerships particularly of that of the slum dwellers and government authorities and among the members of the communities. It also showed that the use of information technology, GPS. GIS and land information system is not anymore the monopoly of the experts and professionals and that slum dwellers themselves can benefit from its advantages and use such technologies to articulate their needs and priorities, among other things


Increasingly large numbers of city residents in developing countries live in conditions of insecurity of tenure and suffer a combined impact of poverty, social exclusion, and inadequate housing, water and sanitation. With the large scale of tenure insecurity (1 billion people), there is an urgent need for innovative responses. UN-HABITAT, in collaboration with the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) partners International Federation of Surveyors (FIG), International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation Management (ITC)(University of Twente) and the World Bank has developed the Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM) as a land information management framework with the capacity to integrate formal, informal, and customary land rights—reflecting the realities on the ground in many communities. The first phase of this proposal will be dovetailed to the existing project initiative called Transforming the Settlements of the Urban Poor in Uganda (TSUPU) by the Government of Uganda as co-financed by Cities Alliance and partly being implemented by Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI) and will pilot test the STDM in a selected city in Uganda.
The specific objective of this first phase of activities is to pilot test the Social Tenure Domain Model, and document the process and capacity building requirements around its use and application, in a selected city in Uganda for wider learning and application. The long-term objective is to address the land information requirements of women and men living in slum communities and to build their capacity in the use and application of the land information systems based on free and open source software packages and in mainstreaming the thinking behind the continuum of land rights.
Key activities and tasks will be carried out under this initiative. These include: 1. In-country work in a Ugandan city including: building local partnerships and understanding ground realities through a joint initial mission to Uganda; 2. Customization of the STDM Intermediate Version in response to the local context and needs of the selected city and initial testing of the application; 3. Learning, monitoring and documentation: ongoing documentation and identification of the elements of capacity building model and training materials to be used with wider roll-out of STDM; 4. Drawing of lessons for wider application: through ongoing dialogue and documentation and final meeting/workshop; 5. Dissemination: through a dissemination workshop for relevant partners at the end of the activity phase, regular presentation of process at meetings, and the publishing of an article of the pilot phase.
Expected Impacts and Results
It is expected that testing the software will form a basis for dialogue between local communities and cities in negotiations for improving tenure security, inclusive planning and enhancing access to basic services and infrastructure. The approach will be scaled-up in other cities in Uganda, and in other countries, through a next phase of activities after processing learning from the pilot phase.