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Bibliothèque Securing Grassroots Women Land Rights Through Socio-Cultural Changes

Securing Grassroots Women Land Rights Through Socio-Cultural Changes

Securing Grassroots Women Land Rights Through Socio-Cultural Changes

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Date of publication
Décembre 2021
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The Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa endorsed through the adoption of the African Union Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges by the African Heads of States in 2009 is having “a strong gender component which aims at “strengthening security of land tenure for women which require special attention” and “ensuring that land laws provide for equitable access to land and related resources”. Despite this progressive framework, restricted rights to access, use, inheritance, control and ownership of land by women in Africa are still strongly felt at grassroots level and can be attributed to the imbalances of power relations between men and women based on patriarchal systems and associated social norms that discriminate against women. Women in Sub-Saharan Africa do not have equal rights to make key decisions on land because they are considered to be mere “guardians”, holding land in trust for their sons (Uvuza, 2016). By strengthening grassroots women collective capacity to effectively engage social, cultural and political systems and practices that obstruct grassroots women equality with men on matters of land, it helps in influencing change for an engendered land governance respecting traditional structures. This paper will focus on the results of a multi countries project which aims at creating a pathway to economic justice on women’s land rights to empower women in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. The project is targeting grassroots women that are affected by unequal land and property ownership, to be at the forefront of demanding the implementation of the existing progressive policies to achieve equity and equality in property and land ownership.The project brought grassroots women from across Africa within the banner of one common cause, to amplify the voice of African women against the tyranny of injustice with regards to land and property rights. In this sense it is working to bring the marginalized, socially, culturally and economically excluded grassroots women to the mainstream where they can challenge inequalities and champion their own development.Empowered grassroots women developed the confidence and propensity to advocate for their ownership of land with decision makers and duty bearers creating a shift in cultural and social norms at local level. Collaborations between grassroots women and traditional and local leaders forged through the project have inspired the creation of an inclusive environment which supports women to participate in available economic and political spaces. As an example, grassroots women were standing for leadership positions in their localities during national elections in Uganda. They were vying for positions of councilors and women representatives.

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