Security of land rights remains elusive in many part of Africa despite the fact that peasant agriculture is the source of livelihood for significant portion of the population. Contemporary pressures on land from rising population, globalization and market liberalization among others are increasingly putting strain on customary land tenure and institutions and this weaken their ability to provide the needed level of tenure security. Imported models of securing land rights such as titling have also continuously failed to live up to the initial expectations, thereby prompting the need for locally inspired alternatives. The Innovative Tools to Secure Land Rights in West Africa Project is one of such initiatives. This was a three-year research-action Project which was conducted in Ghana and Mali.

Under the Project, a model for spatially documenting customary land rights, templates for documenting customary and informal land transactions as well as spousal transfer agreement template to secure land access and tenure from gender equality point of view have been developed as part of the effort to secure land rights for all. The processes involved in the development of these tools were participatory, deliberative and iterative. Several lessons have been learnt and this paper seeks to highlight these experiences in order to inform the design of similar initiative.