TERMS OF REFERENCE:Consultant to carry out a study on the effectiveness of Certificate of Customary Ownership (CCO) In Securing Women Land Rights in Uganda.

About Oxfam

Oxfam is a worldwide organisation working together with partners and local communities in more than 90 countries focusing on the alleviation of global poverty. Oxfam in Uganda works with others to end inequality and its injustices.


Oxfam in Uganda with funding from SIDA is implementing a three-year project titled “GROW Campaign” The GROW Campaign focuses on local, national and global policies on climate change, land rights and biofuels based on three objectives: 1) building global multi-stakeholder movements; 2) improving global policies and governance; and 3) improving national policies and governance and linking these with global campaigns.

Under this project, Oxfam focuses on land rights by promoting the implementation of the highest international standards on land governance among governments, global institutions and the financial sector, including land-related targets in the 2030 which include: Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), VGGTs, OECD guidelines, Frameworks and guidelines on Land policy in Africa and Guiding principles on large Scale Acquisition in Africa.

The grant is about linking influencing (advocacy or campaigning) local-to-global, therefore using Oxfam as a worldwide influencing network. Oxfam seeks to achieve impact in Uganda (on a national policy/process) but also use the case to influence a “global agenda” and vice versa. The project uses the local-to-global strategy by generating local/national issues to be used at the international stage.

Statement of the Problem

The 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda under Article 237 vests land in the citizens of Uganda to be held in accordance with four land tenure systems. Article 237 (3) provides for the tenure systems as (a) customary, (b) freehold, (c) mailo (d) leasehold. For Mailo land there is a Mailo Registry which elaborates a method through which the land details are captured that is to say, County, Block & Plot no; Leasehold there exists a Leasehold Register which elaborates a method that is to say/Volume & Folio Number; Freehold we have a Freehold Register Volume & Folio Number and customary land has none.

It should be noted that customary tenure is the predominant land tenure system in Uganda. About 80% of Uganda’s land is held under this tenure, which is administered according to customary rules and practices pertaining to a given geographical and/or culturally defined area. Customary tenure is recognized in law, but land held under customary tenure remains largely unregistered. Despite customary tenure being widespread, it is not homogeneous: land can be held collectively (communal, family, clans, sub-clans land) or individually Article 237 of the Ugandan Constitution elevates customary tenure to be equal to other types of statutory land tenure (for example freehold, leasehold) where the bundle of rights in land are clear, absolute, and exist in perpetuity. Section 4 of the 1998 Land Act and Chapter 4.3 of the 2013 National Land Policy of Uganda endow customary tenure with the attributes of freehold tenure: the land being held in perpetuity and having the same legal protections and standing in law. These policies and legal provisions also provide a number of tools for the formalization of customary tenure, one of them being the certificate of customary ownership (CCO).

In recent years since the Government of Uganda under the Ministry Of Lands Housing and Urban Development introduced the CCOs in 2012, we have seen a significant push by development agencies, CSOs and government to promote/popularize CCOs. It’s on record that some proponents of CCOs contend that CCOs enhance tenure security for women, while critics argue that CCOs fall short of expectations, disenfranchise, and, at times, extinguish women rights to land. Critics claim that both the design of the CCO and its implementation proved problematic. Land Actors(Non State Actors) are now calling for the Ministry of Lands to suspend the implementation of the CCO in its current form, and to revisit the initiative to ensure that the recognition of customary land ownership remains an inclusive, well-thought-out process. Critics further say that the cultivation of an enabling legal environment that can practically accommodate customary tenure in its various forms across Uganda as a legal system or systems needs to be defined and adopted, generating an accurate record of derived individual, family and community land rights (by clan, sub-clan, family, sale, acquisition, or other legal means). They contend that land rights using the CCOs can be secured only if a customary land Registry is put in place, they further state that nonexistence of a customary land registry means there is no elaborate method under which customary land can be captured, this in its self makes ownership under customary nature very insecure especially for the women.

The objective of this research will be to assess changes in women’s tenure security that are attributable to CCOs acquisition. Different ‘bundles’ of rights will be considered for the analysis (use, access and control) according to the Conceptual framework on women’s land tenure security. The research will focus particularly on the dimensions of: usus (Rights to use, including the rights of access and withdrawal.), abusus (Rights to change, including both management and transformation on rights), fructus(Rights to make profit and loss; other economic rights), transfer (rights to transfer the land, whether temporarily or permanently), and future interest bundles of rights (Could include the right to inherit or may cover rights that can be realized at some future point). The research will consider areas where customary tenure is dominant and where there is a significant number of CCOs that have been issued., study and analysis of the CCO registration process itself and the role played by women in securing CCOs.

General objective

The overall objective of the assignment is to examine the impact/effectiveness of Certificate of Customary Ownership (CCO) in promoting and protecting Women Land Rights in areas where they have been issued in Uganda.

Specific Objectives

Examine the four principles of land rights: usus (Rights to use, including the rights of access and withdrawal.), abusus (Rights to change, including both management and transformation on rights), fructus(Rights to make profit and loss; other economic rights), transfer (rights to transfer the land, whether temporarily or permanently), and future interest bundles of rights (Could include the right to inherit or may cover rights that can be realized at some future point) and how CCOs have enabled/changed them.

  • To identify/study [i]major gaps and successes of the CCOs in the advancement of women’s land rights in Uganda and how these may be addressed and by whom and how?
  • To identify traditions, customary law, religious or cultural beliefs and practices in Uganda, the existence/capacity/resources of local institutions that affect CCOs in securing land rights for women and show how this challenge can be mitigated.
  • To generate lessons learnt and suggest recommendations.
  • Identify any best practices and initiatives realized through the CCOs in addressing women’s land rights issues that can inform the government highlighting areas of improvements.
  • Identify/Study/Examine the procedures under which CCOs are issued and whether the land rights derived from the CCOs are in line with international standards.

Main Tasks

  • Develop brief concept on how the study will be conducted.
  • Present concept at inception meeting prior to conducting the study.
  • Conduct the study in the areas where CCOs have been issued.(Northern Uganda, Eastern Uganda, Western Uganda, Southern Uganda and Central Uganda
  1. How they have enhanced CCOs in securing women land rights.
  2. Asses the relevance of a creating customary land registry in protecting women land rights.
  • Present preliminary findings in review meeting with Oxfam partners and other relevant parties
  • Participate in the dissemination workshop which will take place in a time that will be communicated at a later date.
  • Present final report

Suggested Methodology

Triangulation of several methodologies is recommended to ensure that the study comes out with rich findings to inform the Oxfam GROW Campaign now and in the coming years. Envisaged methods will include review of recent reports, interviewing key informants including, women with CCOs, Ministry of lands housing and urban development-specifically the land registry department, women’s rights organizations and organizations working on land issues and have supported the issuance of customary certificates, interviewing communities, discussions with key institutions among others.

The Consultant will however, explain in the expression of interest bid the appropriate methodology (ies) and processes s/he will use to ensure that the findings are informative, scientific and address all the above objectives comprehensively. The Consultant will be expected to identify any key institutions/organizations/ agencies that will be mandatory for involvement in order to come out with comprehensive findings.

Expected output/ Deliverables

  • A detailed report (soft copy) is expected at the end of the exercise and two bound hard copies. The report should have at least the following sections but not limited these;
  • Preliminary pages (cover page, automatic table of contents, abbreviations/acronyms etc)
  • Executive summary
  • Introduction
  • Study methodology / designs and processes
  • Findings and discussion - for each region and for each country
  • Conclusion
  • Recommendations – specific to various regions / countries
  • Appendices - any sample legislations, policy documents, related summarized study etc
  • Any other section that the consultant may deem necessary (this list is not exhaustive)

Time Frame

The research is scheduled to be conducted in April within the following proposed schedule

No of days                 Deliverable                        Timing                   Payment

1                              Receiving proposals              1 month                      N/A

2                              Evaluation                             2 days                        N/A 

3                              Contract signing                   1 day                        30 percent instalment payment upon signing the contract

4                              Inception Meeting                 1day                          N/A

5                              Draft Revised report              20 days                     N/A

6                              Validation Meeting                1 day                         N/A

7                              Final report                           10 days                 2nd and Final payment

Style and Length of final research product

In carrying out the assignment, the consultant will follow Oxfam’s guidelines for developing research products which will be made available to her/him. It is expected that the final report will be twenty to 35 (20-35) page document summarizing key issues, lessons and recommendations for adoption by policy makers and practitioners.

Duration of the assignment

The assignment is expected to be conducted in a total of THREE WEEKS from the date of singing of the contract. It is expected that by the third week, a draft will be ready for validation by the Oxfam research team before a final brief is developed and submitted by end of the forth week.

Management of the Research

In carrying out the assignment, the consultant be answerable to the Resilient Livelihoods Manager who will manage the assignment on behalf of Oxfam in Uganda. The Manager will provide technical support and make available resources to ensure execution of the assignment. At the same time, the consultant will work very closely with the Land Rights Coordinator at Oxfam in Uganda, who will provide oversight on content and co-author the final product.


  • Planning: Ability to develop clear goals, flexibility, time efficiency and ability to work with minimum supervision
  • Professionalism: Demonstrable knowledge and appreciation of concepts and approaches related to land tenure and management. He/she should be familiar with the customary tenure of the country and on-going land-related processes in the country
  • Innovativeness: He/she should be in position to propose new, flexible and creative approaches to solve identified and/or existing and foreseeable land rights issues in the country
  • Communication; Excellent written and verbal skills including the ability to articulate complex issues in in a concise and clear manner

Education and Work Experience

An advanced Degree in Land, Economics, Law, Urbanization, Development Studies or related areas with a bias towards land governance gender equality will be fundamental. An undergraduate Degree with five years’ work experience may be accepted in lieu of the Advanced Degree. A relevant Masters Degree will be an advantage. Over 5 years’ experience in land related studies with a bias in customary land rights and/ or development work related studies. Should show technical competence and experience to undertake the exercise professionally. Fluency in written and spoken English.


Payment shall be made based on deliverables as per Oxfam’s consultancy rates which inform the Agreement. Costs related to organizing meetings will be borne by Oxfam.

How to submit proposal

Interested and qualified consultants should submit their proposal together with the following documents;

  • A cover letter expressing interest in carrying out the research
  • A CV demonstrating relevant skills and experience and names of at least 2 references, preferably from organizations with which the consultant has conducted similar types of work.
  • Indicative budget for consultant fees, detailing the activities, number of days and daily rate
  • Sample of similar work done in the past
  • Declare availability in the month of June and early July 2020.

Proposals should be submitted by email to: ugandalogistics@oxfam.org by 12:00pm on Monday, 29th June, 2020.