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07-05: Avenues to Enhance Women's Land Ownership
Securing the Land Rights of Poor and Women through Provision of Legal Services to Address Their Land Problems
Landesa/ Rural Development Institute, India
A major cause of economic vulnerability of rural families in India is insecure rights to land, arising partly from the lack of access to legal support by the poor.
To find out major land problems and legal needs of the poor, Landesa conducted a mixed-method study in rural areas of Warangal district of Telangana State during December 2013-February 2014. It was found that 13 types of land problems are most commonly faced by the poor. A sample of 100 cases was selected to represent these 13 types of land problems.
The study shows that the most prevalent types of bottlenecks faced by the respondents were “no legal awareness” (80%), “illiteracy” (59%), “lack of support from revenue department” (54%), “negligence of revenue staff” (40%) and “Corruption” (38%). It was found that almost twice the percentage of male respondents pursued land-related problems themselves compared to female respondents. Village revenue officers (VRO) emerged as the key authority to provide legal assistance and to resolve land problems.
It was found that to improve the reach of legal assistance to the poor: 1) legal services and land programs should be modified according to their needs; 2) the reach of the Revenue Courts should be improved.
Securing land rights for widows living with and affected by HIV using customary justice structures
1International Center for Research on Women, United States of America; 2Kenya Ethical and Legal Issues Network on HIV and AIDS
This document provides a summary of the work that KELIN and ICRW have achieve at building evidence towards supporting interventions that secure land rights for widows living with and affected by HIV using customary justice structures. Utilizing a human rights framework, this presentation discusses the results of a legal intervention that supports HIV affected widows that have been expelled of their land after the death of their partner.
In Homabay and Kisumu counties of Kenya, many widows and orphans become vulnerable to HIV when their husbands and fathers die, due to disinheritance by their families and communities, which leaves them destitute. These counties are among the 47 with the highest HIV prevalence rate, with Homabay at 25.7% and Kisumu at 19.3%, as against the national prevalence of 6.04%. Many are evicted from their rural homes and flee to urban areas where they find themselves vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse, increasing their vulnerability to HIV. Often they resort to high-risk behavior, such as polygamy or involuntary sex work in order to earn enough money to survive. For women and children living with HIV it becomes very difficult to access consistent treatment.
Namibia: Good Practices and Lessons Learned for Gender and Communal Land
Landesa, United States of America
This paper attempts to better understand the intersection of gender, communal land and land reform in Namibia. While this paper is not a comparative study per se, it focuses on two regions that adopted different approaches to communal land governance. The Oshana region leads the implementation of the nation-wide Communal Land Reform Act, 2002 that introduced the registration of customary land rights in communal areas, while the Kavango region declined to participate in the registration process and instead continues to independently administer customary land rights in accordance with its established customary system. The case study uses a gender lens to systematically assess the different approaches taken by these communities to illustrate good or emerging practices and draw lessons learned from measures that have sought both to protect community rights to land and also protect the rights of women and men in those communities. The paper evaluates these measures in light of the primary objective, selected strategies and outcomes. Ultimately, the case study attempts to illustrate what measures can be implemented in different political, legal, and cultural contexts to enable communities facing similar situations to benefit from the experiences of others. Both promising practices and challenges faced, offer insights.
Women’s Knowledge and Perception towards their Land and Property Rights Across Bombali, Portloko And Tonkolili Districts In Northern Region, Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone Network on the Right to Food (SiLNoRF), Sierra Leone
The ongoing debate on women's land rights violation in poor countries continues to gain more recognition. This case study explores communities in three districts in Northern Sierra Leone to further investigate land rights violations and assess women's knowledge and perception on their land rights after remarkable laws were passed to protect their land tenure in the country. This study found out that rural women continue to be subjected to land and property rights violations despite the existence of the 2007 Gender laws that prevent discrimination against women, their knowledge on the gender laws are too weak. As well, women who do most of the farm work and on which many family livelihood depend on, still have little access, ownership and control over land. Customs and traditions are still widely used to discriminate women; traditional rulers are not trusted to promote women’s land and property rights. Civil society activism has helped to raise the awareness level of many women in rural communities about their land and property rights but still a lot has to be done to balance the equation. Full participation of women is essential at all levels to empower them to advocate for their rights.