Participatory Community Resource Mapping

Nyanchama Angela, Legal/Policy Research and Advocacy Officer at RECONCILE

Social Tenure Domain Model is one of the Global Land Tools Network’s technology used in recognition and recordation of bundles of rights on communal resources. It recognizes the social context, that is, the relationships that exist between people and their resources. It is built on the understanding that secure tenure builds confidence and a sense of responsibility among resource users translating to increased investments on the resources owned especially land. Thus, STDM involves bringing on board all stakeholders in a participatory community resource mapping and recording exercise using Geographical Information System, whereby GPS and questionnaires are used in the collection of spatial and socio-economic data respectively. This leads to profiling and creation database of all resources and resource users, hence prompting informed decisions.

It presented the opportunity for technology information sharing and application towards helping the resource dependent communities to secure access to basic factors of economic production such as land and water among others, which are not only important for sustainable livelihoods, but also for sustainable development. This process involved stakeholder analysis, training of community, and enumeration of both spatial and socio-economic data and total data management. It resulted to identification of community resources such as water points, grazing areas and cattle dips among others. In readiness to present the information in the technology, the data collection process entailed identification of communities/farmers and respective government officers and induction of the same as enumerators.  The trainings enabled them have a better understanding of data collection tools and recording processes which ensured accuracy and completeness of the data collected.  The project resulted to:

  • Recognition that use of technology to document diversity of land and resource rights in a community by the community members enhances confidence therefore increased sustainable agricultural production.
  • Strengthened partnership with and between the different resource users, policy makers and implementers, project and programme managers.
  • Restoration of neglected and mismanaged resources. For instance, in Bomet County, a neglected and mismanaged cattle dip which was identified during the mapping process was renovated and community members reverted to using it.
  • Sustainable natural resources management, whereby community members gained a broad understanding of their resource endowment and distribution hence promoting sustainable use and management. In addition, as a result of mapping, communities set up community governance structures to reconstruct abandoned, encroached, contested and mismanaged community resources.
  • Community Empowerment where community members understood how to advocate for securing their rights to resources, besides gaining knowledge on how resolve resource based conflicts amicably. Communities were enlightened on how to engage with their leaders and make demands as far as land, environment and natural resources management responsibilities are concerned. For instance, in Mwea after pilot the leadership in Ndekia was changed.
  • A booklet documenting strategies, lessons and recommendations on the application of Social Tenure Domain Model in rural areas has been published. This is a great achievement given that information on STDM application in rural areas is scant. Thanks to Rangelands Initiative’s innovation and practice component.
  • An understanding how evidence based land tools can inform equity, equality and accountability of resource management for sustainable development.


  • The project in Mwea- Ndekia area identified that water distribution was uncertain. The mapping aimed at improving water supply efficiency by establishing STDM-based land information database consisting of 769 paddies, determining acreage ascertaining volume of water supply. It also defined a conveyance of canals’ off take and check out gates.
  • The project in Bomet recognized that security of dairy dependent resources shall prevent encroachment and promote sustainable utilization of communally shared resources. The mapping aimed at operationalization of STDM-based land information database that indicated status of 106 shared resources.