USAID Liberia Supports the People of Bluyeama Zone II, Lofa County to Obtain Landmark Customary Land Deed

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USAID Liberia Supports the People of Bluyeama Zone II, Lofa County to Obtain Landmark Customary Land Deed
USAID Liberia Supports the People of Bluyeama Zone II, Lofa County to Obtain Landmark Customary Land Deed

Africa-Press – Liberia. On Saturday, June 22, the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Land Management Activity (LMA), in partnership with the Liberia Land Authority (LLA), officially transferred a Customary Land Deed for approximately 59,000 acres of land to the citizens of the Bluyeama Zone II Community in Lofa County. The handover ceremony was attended by thousands of local citizens, traditional leaders, civil society groups, and young people and marked a significant milestone in land tenure for Lofa County and Liberia.

USAID’s Land Management Activity (LMA), implemented by ECODIT, collaborates with the LLA to assist communities in obtaining customary land deeds in accordance with the Land Rights Act of 2018. This major achievement, which often requires years of dedication, awareness, and support from community leadership, provides communities with direct ownership of their land and resources.

Customary communities are typically rural areas governed by traditional rules and norms, without formal tenure rights. Under the Land Rights Act, communities that self-identify and complete specific steps, including resolving boundary disputes, are entitled to deeds that legally recognize their longstanding rights to the land.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, USAID Liberia Mission Director Jim Wright praised the citizens of Bluyeama Zone II for successfully completing the customary land formalization process. “Today is a special day for the people of Bluyeama Zone II and Lofa County. Your customary land deed is a testament to your hard work and dedication. The United States is honored to have supported this effort. We hope this is just one of many land deeds to come, bringing economic prosperity to the people of Lofa County and Liberia,” said Mission Director Wright.

Director Wright highlighted USAID’s longstanding investment in Liberia’s land sector, which includes support for the Liberia Land Commission and the Liberia Land Authority. This support led to the drafting and passage of two crucial laws: the Land Rights Act and the Act to Establish the Liberia Land Authority. He emphasized that the Land Rights Act is regarded as one of the best land reform laws in Africa, recognizing the rights of customary communities to own land.

“The Land Rights Act is unique because it is inclusive, allowing women, youth, and persons with disabilities to participate in land management. This emphasis on diversity will improve the productivity of Liberia’s customary lands for years to come,” noted Wright.

Director Wright acknowledged the historic commitment of the people of Bluyeama Zone II, who followed in the footsteps of Fessibu residents, the first to acquire a customary land deed with USAID’s support earlier this year. He reminded the citizens that the deed represents only the beginning of the process and urged them to utilize their titled lands to enhance their lives and those of their children. “The next time I visit this community, I hope to see innovative steps taken to attract private sector investment. This community is rich in natural resources, and now you can benefit when businesses work on your land if you seek appropriate compensation,” he added.

USAID Land Management Activity – Bluyeama Zone II Community in Lofa_2

LLA Chairman, Atty. J. Adams Manobah, Sr., extended thanks to USAID-Liberia and the LMA for supporting the Government of Liberia in helping customary communities across the country’s 15 subdivisions to pursue land deeds. Chairman Manobah, accompanied by the LLA Commissioner for Lofa County, Cllr. Kula Jackson, urged local authorities and the Community Land Development and Management Committee (CLDMC) members to act in the best interest of the people. The CLDMC, recognized by the Land Rights Act of 2018, manages the daily activities of customary land. Chairman Manobah commended the people of Bluyeama Zone II and the CLDMC leadership for their steadfastness in completing the customary land formalization process. He emphasized the importance of considering the Land Rights Law and community interests when signing concessions. Manobah also acknowledged the efforts of partners like USAID who support communities while maintaining peace and understanding throughout the process.

At the ceremony, CLDMC Acting Chairlady Madam Korpo Smith expressed gratitude to the residents and CLDMC members for their unwavering support, commitment, and unity. Clan Chief of Bluyeama Zone II, Mr. James Z. Koiwu praised the community, local and traditional leaders, women, and youth groups for their dedication during the project’s implementation. Chief Koiwu also thanked the LLA for ensuring that communities across Liberia become documented landowners.

DISCLAIMER: The project and this success story are made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of Land Management Activity and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

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