Caledonia Centre for Social Development
Summary of the Centre's Activities in 2002
The Caledonia Centre for Social Development is a small NGO based in Scotland.
Membership is drawn from those actively working in the field of social
development and the activities of the Centre are focussed on a limited number of
programmes and projects agreed by the Board of directors. The Centre has no paid
staff and its activities are all carried out voluntarily or as part of the
self-employed business of its members.
During 2002 Caledonia participated in Co-Govern, a 3-year European Union-funded
concerted action project in partnership with the International Institute for
Environment and Development (IIED) and five other organisations (3 African and 2
European). The project has three main objectives:
|to examine the changing status and availability of common property resources
(CPR) in three regions of Africa - East, West and Southern.|
|to engage with decision-makers to discuss policy options for the use and
management of common property resources in the light of current processes of
legislative and policy change.|
|to communicate ideas on common property resources management though
networking, exchange, dialogue and analysis.|
Caledonia was asked to assume responsibility for organising an exchange visit in
Scotland during 2002. Participants from Africa and Europe will visit examples of
initiatives in which community organisations and/or other social groups have
achieved their objectives. Either by negotiating new rights or taking advantage
of existing ones and/or have played an active part in the process of
consultation on the draft land reform legislation published by the Scottish
Executive. The visit is intended to give participants the opportunity to gather
new information and reflect on others' experience. It is hoped that the examples
considered prove relevant and contribute to a review of thinking on common
property resources, on policy options and on possible new legislation to protect
these rights and access to resources for disadvantaged and less powerful groups
in their own countries.
As outlined in the previous section the principal activity of the Co-Govern
project during 2002 was the organisation of a study tour between 24 and 28
September looking at common land in Scotland. During this visit, participants
from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Norway and Scotland examined a range of
different situations in Scotland. They considered the following technical
|the status and availability of common property rights (CPRs) in Scotland|
|alternative institutional and legal approaches to protecting community
management and rights over CPRs and,|
|the role and strategies of different groups in active lobbying for more
support for these management systems in a European context. |
In generic terms, the visit looked at the following contexts:
|Common grazing management|
|Community management of ancient commons|
A full report of the tour was prepared and published.
In early 2002 the Centre launched its Commonweal of Scotland project. This
initiative seeks to document and publish a series of working papers on aspects
of common property rights and their management in Scotland. In recent years the
topic has received little attention from researchers, civil society and policy
makers. During the year the Centre commissioned 2 pieces of research:
|The History of Common Lands in Scotland; and|
|Crofters (Smallholders) Common Grazings|
The papers are ready for publication and will be posted on the Centre's social
land web site (see
). The Centre is currently
discussing the next stage of this work.
The Centre runs 2 of the largest UK-based land reform web sites. One of the
sites is devoted to: land reform, land tenure and land use issues -
- while the other site -
features articles, ideas and case studies relating to the growth and development
of social land ownership - non-profit distributing property associations. The
two web sites were launched in June 1999 and continues to receive a modest but
steady stream of visits.
Both sites are focused on gathering and publishing grey and popular literature
on land reform and social ownership. During the course of the year some 5
articles were published on the land reform site while 2 articles were published
on the socialland site.
In addition the Centre enhanced the usefulness to the public of its land reform
site by adding to it an updating newsfeed. This newsfeed is focused on gathering
land reform press articles and making these readily accessible to readers. The
service provides a global selection of breaking and on-going news coverage about
land activities and issues.
The Centre on its sister website -
- carries features
articles and material on: the co-operative and social economy, popular
participation, new localism and countervailing power. Last year 4 key articles
were published on rural social movements from the South. All the articles were
from the l980s and provide insights into how rural social movements become
established and sustain themselves over time.
All 4 articles -three from Sri Lanka and the other from the Philippines - are
classic pieces of grey literature and have significant relevance to current land
and rural change struggles in Africa and elsewhere.
During the year, the Centre agreed to become a partner in a major project to
document the ownership of land in Scotland. The http://www.whoownsscotland.org.uk/
website is being developed by one of the Caledonia Directors, Andy Wightman, and
is attracting widespread interest from across the world. A section on social
(not-for-profit) land owning sector has been recently added to the site. As of
31 December 2002, the website was attracting an average of 2,000 visitors per
week. A total of over 2,4 million hectares of land (36 percent of all privately
owned land) is now documented.
Preliminary preparations were made to launch a Land Rights Programme in 2003.
The focus of this campaign is to promote the new land rights being conferred on
rural communities by the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. In addition, the
Programme will assist communities in building local landownership maps, will
monitor the uptake of the legislation, and assess the need for changes in the
law to improve its effectiveness.
Preliminary discussions were had with Mercy Corps International on a joint
project to improve the awareness and uptake of land rights in Tajikistan and in
One of the Centre's directors is currently living in Tanzania. During the last
year he was engaged by the Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation as the
lead technical consultant in devising and establishing a multi-donor Foundation
for Civil Society with an annual budget of $3.5 million US dollars. The
Foundation has been incorporated as a non-profit distributing company.
Its mission is to deliver a range of intermediary support services to a wide
range of Tanzanian civil society organisations - NGOs, CBOs, trade unions,
co-operatives, professional associations and the media - involved in that
country's poverty reduction efforts. In particular it provides the following
services: capacity building training in advocacy, policy engagement, policy
popularisation and governance issues; networking, coalition building and the
sponsoring of public debates on topical public policy issues. A range of grant
funding supports these activities and services.
Another director of the Centre is providing technical assistance to an
innovative social justice NGO - Hakikazi Catalyst. They work to popularise and
disseminate Tanzania's national poverty reduction strategy. This is cutting edge
policy popularisation work with national coverage. (see
Aspects of this work were shared with the Co-Govern participants who attended
the Scottish Touring workshop in September 2002. There are many aspects and
elements of this work that have relevance to institutions and organisations
seeking to popularise and disseminate information on the new land laws which
have been enacted across much of Southern and Eastern Africa in the last 10
years. Following the September workshop IIED invited the Centre's lead
facilitator to write a summarised version of this work for publication in the
Institute's Haramata magazine.
The Hakikazi Catalyst team has recently been contracted to develop an
illustrated, plain language version of the Millennium Development Goals for
global distribution through UNDP. The working title is No more broken promises?.