In Africa, land is a fundamental asset with profound economic, social and spiritual relevance. And with economies being dominantly agrarian, securing land access and land rights are central in securing livelihoods and ensuring economic prosperity. Ironically, land ownership and access in many parts of the continent continue to be riddled with tenure insecurity partly as a result of the demographic pressure, globalization and market liberalization in the face of weak institutional framework, unresponsive policies and outdated laws.

Although customary land tenure is dynamic and may evolve to cope with emerging issues, the intensity of contemporary pressures on land is increasingly rendering indigenous tenure inadequate in ensuring the needed level of tenure security. Imported model such as land titling has also continuously failed to live up to the initial expectations despite the profound capital and technical investments. These developments have prompted the need to develop locally inspired alternatives to enhance land tenure security. 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 Ghanaian Component of 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 experiences from this Project in order to inform the design of similar initiative.