Cities Alliance launched the Secure Tenure in African Cities: Micro Funds for Community Innovation Call for Proposals in 2019 to award small grants for organisations working on innovative ways to improve tenure security, land and property rights in African cities at the local level, with an emphasis on how they address the specific needs of women and Africa’s growing young population.  It is funded by Omidyar Network, with support from PlaceFund

Why secure tenure?

When tenure is not secure and the threat of eviction constantly looms, households, financial institutions and governments are much less likely to invest in upgrading homes or businesses, contribute to the cost and maintenance of community facilities, or supply products and services.

Why invest in tenure security_Infographic


Achieving tenure security, land and property rights in informal urban settlements remains one of the most persistent, intractable development challenges today. The situation is particularly acute in Africa, which is experiencing very high population growth rates, notably in its small and medium-sized cities.

Access to land with secure tenure is now recognised in global development agendas – such as the New Urban Agenda and the 2030 Agenda – giving the issue a considerable boost. While this global focus is encouraging, change does not need to happen exclusively at the national policy level. Urban poor individuals and communities are essential actors in strengthening tenure security, and small-scale, short-term incremental solutions can be key to improving tenure security and housing conditions, and to city-building. This approach is at the heart of our Secure Tenure in African Cities initiative.



The five projects selected for funding cover a range of innovations. All operate at the community and/or city level, with strong potential for replication in cities across Africa and beyond.

This video provides an overview of each project. More information can also be found in the tabs below.

eServices Techniques

An open-source software application that speeds up the issuance of permits for the occupation of public space for informal vendors and small businesses in Côte d'Ivoire

Grant Recipient: Association 3535

Partners: Municipality of Cocody

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Drones for Land Clarification and Empowerment of Women

Modernizing land governance in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Grant Recipient: IRDAC

Partners: RADEKAS

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Upscaling the Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM) to Promote Integrated and Sustainable Urban Land Use

Create voice and space with the urban poor

Grant Recipient: Pamoja Trust

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A Transaction Support Centre to Support Secure Tenure in Functioning Property Markets in Khayelitsha

Securing tenure, building wealth

Grant Recipient: Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa

Partners: 71point4

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Secure Tenure on Zanzibar

Creating new methodology for collecting data on land

Grant Recipient: Spatial Collective

Partners: Commission for Lands, Cadasta Foundation, State University of Zanzibar

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Modern technologies can be key drivers for more equitable and responsive land management. The effective adoption of technologies, however, is strengthened when coupled with strong social dialogue and stakeholder engagement.