This commitment focuses heavily on building human capital within our Ghanaian partners by providing technical training in GIS technology and survey methods as well as building the in-country management and operational capacity for the program long term.
The first phase of our workplan involves the creation and implementation of a number of training processes and procedures in coordination with our Ghanaian partners to refine critical elements of the program and to ensure that effective and responsible business practices are firmly established. We will also work closely with our in-country microfinance partners, leveraging their existing distribution networks to find the best and most cost-effective means of identifying those in need and bringing our services to them directly.
At the same time we will be designing an education and public awareness campaign to descibe the program and what our paralegal title services are providing to the local markets being served. We will also continue to build upon the constructive dialogue we initiated during the pilot program to keep the governmental agencies in Ghana informed of our program's progress and working with us with regard to land registration reform, especially for the poor. We will be communicating with the governmental agencies responsible for land registration, as well as tribal chiefs that have customary rights to much of the land in Ghana today.
The program will be rolled out in the Ashaiman District of Ghana in the first year of operation. In the second and third year, once organizational capacity has been built, the program will expand to the Greater Accra and Kumasi regions of Ghana.
We have targeted completion of 500 paralegal titles in the first year of our commitment, with a goal of providing a quarter-million of Ghana's poor with paralegal titles to their land by the end of our fifth year of operation.
The inability of the world's poor to gain formal recognition of their land rights has been a major stumbling block to poverty alleviation in the developing world according to renowned economist, Hernando de Soto. According to de Soto, the one thing the world's poor have in common is that 'the only asset they have is the land they occupy.' However, only a very small percentage of the world's poor receive legal recognition that the land is indeed theirs, especially where the ownership is informal or based on customary forms of tenure. Without a recognized deed, title or lease, the poor cannot use the land they rightfully possess to gain access to capital.
In 2007, inspired by de Soto's theory, Craig DeRoy, President of Corporate Initiatives Development Group, launched a pilot project that would combine geospatial technology and an innovative paralegal titling process to cost effectively document the land rights of 30 school owners in the Ashaiman District, one of poorest areas of Ghana. By focusing on school owners, a growing SME market in Ghana, the pilot sought to illustrate the beneficial link between the formalization of property rights, microfinance and poverty alleviation. To accomplish this, a consortium of partnered companies was brought together to implement an innovative private-sector led approach to documenting the land right claims of these school owners.
The pilot demonstrated that by providing the poor with the paralegal title package of information that formally documented their land right claims and produced a formal survey of their property was successful in bridging the legal empowerment gap to formal land registration. Success was measured in terms of its impact on human dignity, access to capital and on governmental action. The school owners felt empowered by the paralegal title process knowing that their land rights had been formally documented, surveyed and substantiated and that they could rightfully declare the leasehold to the land in their name. The paralegal title packages completed by the program were subsequently presented to the governing authority in the Ashaiman District, which then issued formal leases to the participating school owners, validating their status as a long term leaseholder of their land. This status, in turn, opens the door to the possibility of greater access to capital for the schoolowners. Many of the schoolowners in the pilot utilized larger microloans to make improvements to their schools such as adding classrooms, computer labs and septic systems. This new commitment will build upon on the knowledge gained in the pilot and will seek to expand the program, now called Medeem, nationwide in Ghana. The pilot also introduced us to our Ghanaian partners who will be providing much of the technical and professional services for the new program as we move forward.
Medeem is seeking grant resources to provide bridge funding needed to support local operations scale up to production levels that will enable them to operate as self sustaining in-country social impact enterprises. The amount of grant funding requested is $500K.
SEEKING: financial assistance, implementing partners, media and marketing opportunities. Compatible partnerships with organizations interested in women's empowerment, land rights, land tenure security, small holder farmers initiatives, legal empowerment of the poor, and access to capital
Seeking additional microfinance and funding partner(s) to expand program geographically in Ghana and beyond. The Corporate Initiatives Development Group is also seeking organizations interested in women's empowerment, specifically in the area of property rights, and general legal empowerment of the poor.
The Corporate Initiatives Development Group offers a private sector led practical approach to formalizing land rights of the poor, leveraging a new and highly sustainable business model.
OFFERING: implementing partnership, best practice information,
consulting services and best practices information on land reform / legal empowerment.