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Winning the Battle

Jogbahn Clan uses GPS technology to map its land and hold Equatorial Palm Oil to a boundary for its plantation
Published : March 22, 2022

On January 27-28, 2015, the people of Jogbahn Clan in District #4, Grand Bassa County, carried out a GPS land mapping exercise with Equatorial Palm Oil. This was the culmination of a lengthy battle between Jogbahn Clan and EPO over ownership of their land. 

(See: 'No Means No': Jogbahn Clan, EPO, and the Fight over Land in District 4)

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Jogbahn Clan On the Day of the Mapping
January 14, 2022

Joegba community members posing for a while with their Senior Elder in Blayah town.

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Jogbahn Clan On the Day of the Mapping

January 14, 2022

Joegba community members posing for a while with their Senior Elder in Blayah town.

Joegba community members posing

The mapping process formally demarcated the precise location of the border between Jogbahn Clan's land and EPO's plantation. EPO has agreed that no cultivation of palm oil will occur on land owned by Jogbahn, after a long battle waged in the press and through protests, culminating with President Sirleaf asking the company to leave the land alone. SDI staff arrived in Grand Bassa late on Tuesday, January 26, and worked with the community for two days to help ensure the mapping process went smoothly and that EPO respected the community's boundaries.

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EPO Joegba joint mapping exercise 8
January 28, 2022

Participants in the EPO Joegba community mapping exercise identifying the boundary between Paye town and Beorgba.

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EPO Joegba joint mapping exercise 8

January 28, 2022

Participants in the EPO Joegba community mapping exercise identifying the boundary between Paye town and Beorgba.

Standing on the boundary between Paye town and Beorgbar

Boundary mapping is a crucial aspect of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent - the process by which communities are given the opportunity to understand and make judgments about disruptive natural resource projects. Jogbahn clan had already given its answer to EPO: a steadfast 'no,' opening space for the boundaries to be mapped.

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EPO Joegba joint mapping exercise 10
January 28, 2022

Joint mapping exercise involving community members of wedesema and Noohn Towns.

Final boundary point recorded during joint exercise between EPO/SDI/Communities.

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EPO Joegba joint mapping exercise 10

January 28, 2022

Joint mapping exercise involving community members of wedesema and Noohn Towns.

Final boundary point recorded during joint exercise between EPO/SDI/Communities.

Identifying boundary between Noohn Town and Wedesema

Aside from a minor dispute over the status of negotiations between EPO and two towns, Paye's and Beyohgba, the mapping was smooth and peaceful. Presumably, Jogbahn Clan and EPO are now in a formal state of agreement that their land will remain in their hands and under their control.


The mapping is the culmination of a years-long dispute between EPO and residents of District 4 in Grand Bassa County. In a microcosm of the troubles that the oil palm industry has faced in Liberia, EPO initially refused to acknowledge Jogbahn's claim to ownership of its land, claiming it was the rightful landowner as per its concession agreement with the Liberian government. SDI and Jogbahn clan publicized the dispute and made a formal complaint to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, leading to the President's action and the GPS mapping.

EPO's concession area is below - marked in green - with Jogbahn Clan's land to the east.

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Final Map From SDI-EPO-Jogbahn Clan Mapping Exercise (January 2016)
March 22, 2022

Image of the final map produced from the joint mapping exercise between SDI, EPO and Jogbahn Clan communities.

Exercise done by all three groups, map completed by SDI team and sent out to EPO for comments. After EPO comments, map will be presented to the communities.

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Final Map From SDI-EPO-Jogbahn Clan Mapping Exercise (January 2016)

March 22, 2022

Image of the final map produced from the joint mapping exercise between SDI, EPO and Jogbahn Clan communities.

Exercise done by all three groups, map completed by SDI team and sent out to EPO for comments. After EPO comments, map will be presented to the communities.