Property Rights

We Should Realize the National Land Policy Promise

ICRW helped found two women’s land rights advocacy coalitions in Uganda and Tanzania. In this opinion piece, Gertrude Nalubinga of the In Her Name coalition tells us why it’s so critical that women have proof of land ownership in Uganda.

A little-noticed, yet significant, event took place last month. Overshadowed by the equally-important state-of-the-nation address and the Finance minister’s reading of the national budget, Uganda’s new National Land Policy was finally launched, after a process that spanned 13 years.

Although the event received little fanfare and captured few headlines, it has the potential to impact millions of Ugandans for generations to come.

ICRW Chief Advocates for Women's Issues on President Obama's Global Development Council

On Monday, April 14, the President's Global Development Council held its first public meeting to release its first set of recommendations, "Beyond Business As Usual", which aims to strengthen the United States' commitment to global development. ICRW President Sarah Degnan Kambou, who sits on the Council, advocated for gender equality and women’s empowerment to be integrated throughout the Council’s recommendations. 

President Obama’s Global Development Council held its first public meeting at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on Monday, April 14. The Council convened to share with the public its first set of recommendations to strengthen U.S. global development policies and practices, and to solicit public input on key global development issues.

Not Up for Grabs: Protecting women’s land and property rights in Uganda

A new ICRW summary evaluation report released this week details progress made by a group of grassroots ‘paralegals’ who are providing critical legal aid for women at risk of losing their land. ICRW’s Jennifer Abrahamson met with some of the paralegals and their ‘clients’ earlier this month in rural Uganda.

It wasn’t yet noon, but a group of women had already gathered under the shade of a giant Jacaranda tree next to the clinic. Its purple blossoms scattered in the parched, red earth were the only color in a landscape aching for the rainy season to begin. Just a few feet away from the clinic, an unremarkable ceramic monument the shape of a small skateboard ramp baked in the sun. One of the land rights paralegals I met with that day in early March explained that it marked a mass grave – one of many strewn across Uganda’s Luwero District.

HIV-positive widows in Kenya fight for their land rights

The Guardian

When women own land, housing, and livestock, their overall wellbeing improves, their families are healthier, and economies grow stronger. In this blog published in the Guardian, ICRW’s Gina Alvarado writes about efforts to help women affected by HIV reclaim property they were forced to leave in Kenya. 

When women own land, housing, and livestock, their overall wellbeing improves, their families are healthier, and economies grow stronger. In this blog published in the Guardian, ICRW’s Gina Alvarado writes about efforts to help women affected by HIV reclaim property they were forced to leave in Kenya. Read article »

Disowned: Women’s Struggle to Own and Inherit Land in Tanzania

By Lyric Thompson, International Center for Research on Women

Ahead of the World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty, ICRW’s Lyric Thompson blogs about efforts underway in Tanzania to strengthen women’s right to own and inherit land. Denying women this right is not only unjust; it also stands in the way of food security. 

As the World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty kicks off on Mach 24 in Washington DC, I can’t help but think of the many rural – and landless – women of Tanzania. Earlier this month, I returned from the East African country, where the International Center for Research on Women has been supporting a number of local organizations working to secure women’s property rights. This is a complicated proposition in Tanzaniawhere the law of the land – on land – is contradictory.

Securing Women’s Land and Property Rights- A Critical Step to Address HIV, Violence, and Food Security

Securing Women’s Land and Property Rights- A Critical Step to Address HIV, Violence, and Food Security

Open Society Foundations, The Global Initiative, Landesa, Southern Africa Litigation Centre, ActionAid, Huairou Commission, International Center for Research on Women, Women's Inheritance Now, WLSA, Federation of Women Lawyers, UNDP, Women’s Legal Centre, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, IGED Africa, Klein
2014

In many parts of the world, women’s rights to land and property are systematically denied. Laws give women fewer or less secure rights than men, and discriminatory attitudes and practices undermine them. This leaves many women almost entirely dependent on the men in their lives for basic economic survival and vulnerable to violence, poverty, and food insecurity, particularly if widowed, divorced, single, or in marriages not formally recognized.

As land resources are increasingly contested, these problems have worsened, particularly for rural women.Large-scale land acquisitions remove women farmers.Land degradation from desertification and climate change reduces the availability of fertile land for farming.Through all of this, women are often excluded from land negotiations because they lack official land titles.

This brief examines the importance of women’s land and property rights in the contexts of HIV and AIDS, violence against women, and food security. Land and property rights increase women’s autonomy—decreasing their dependence on men and entrapment in abusive relationships, enabling greater control over sexual relations, and improving their ability to produce food for themselves and their families. This brief examines where and how these rights are protected under international human rights standards and offer strategies to help women effectively claim and enforce their rights.

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Learning from a ‘paralegals’ intervention to support women’s property rights in Uganda

Learning from a ‘paralegals’ intervention to support women’s property rights in Uganda

Payal Patel, Zayid Douglas, Kathryn Farley
2014

Restrictions on women’s property rights (WPR) prevent women across the world from achieving their full economic potential. Without comprehensive rights to own, sell or make key decisions about land and other property, women often face difficulty in earning an adequate income and in providing for themselves and their families. On a global scale, women’s limited rights over property hampers progress in economic growth, poverty reduction, and gender equality.

A number of social and economic constraints prevent women in the region from fully claiming their legal rights to property. These include women’s lack of awareness about their legal rights, weak access to funding for legal and dispute resolution services, women’s fear of violence from husbands or other family members as a result of claiming property rights, and a mistrust of local law enforcement and legal institutions.

To address these challenges, over the last two decades there has been a rise in public and NGO-supported community-based legal aid programs.These programs train community members to educate others about existing laws on property rights in order to increase knowledge and change norms related to women’s ownership of property. Referred to as “paralegals”, these legal rights workers also help to mediate disputes related to land and other property.

This brief discusses lessons learned from an evaluation of one such community-based legal aid program in Uganda, carried out by the Uganda Land Alliance (ULA) in collaboration with the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW).

(2.29 MB)

We encourage the use and dissemination of our publications for non-commercial, educational purposes. Portions may be reproduced with acknowledgment to the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). For questions, please contact publications@icrw.org; or (202) 797-0007.

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In Tanzania, a reason to celebrate International Day of Rural Women

This week marks International Day of Rural Women, as well as World Food Day. Both are cause for exceptional celebration in Tanzania this year with the recent passing of a new national constitution that for the first time provides all women with the same rights as men to own land. Faudhia Yassin of the ICRW-supported Mama Ardhi Alliance, a group of five Tanzanian rights organizations advocating for greater land rights for women, tells us why this is so critical for women, their children and, in the end, for all Tanzanians.

This week marks International Day for Rural Women, as well as World Food Day. Both are cause for exceptional celebration in Tanzania this year. Just under two weeks ago, after a very long and at times contentious process, the Tanzanian Parliament finally passed a new draft constitution providing women with the same rights as men to own and use land.

Can a piece of paper shield women from land grabs in Uganda?

Proscovia Nnamulondo of the ICRW-supported In Her Name Coalition, which is advocating for greater land ownership for women, reflects on a recent trip to post-conflict northern Uganda where she met Colina, a farmer and a widow who nearly lost her land to those closest to her.

As the world celebrates International Day of Rural Women this week, I can’t help but think of Colina, a widow and a farmer I recently met in the remote region of Pader District in post-conflict northern Uganda. Her story represents a struggle that many women and their children in Uganda face: the threat of losing their homes and their land – from which grows their livelihood – simply because they do not have the right piece of paper.

Protecting the Land and Inheritance Rights of HIV-Affected Women in Kenya and Uganda

Protecting the Land and Inheritance Rights of HIV-Affected Women in Kenya and Uganda

Anne Stangl and Laura Brady
2013

Many in the field of the public health and international development hypothesize that strengthening women’s property and inheritance rights (WPIR) may reduce susceptibility to HIV and enable households to better mitigate the economic, physical, and emotional consequences of HIV, particularly in high prevalence countries. A growing body of qualitative and programmatic evidence suggests that programs addressing both WPIR and HIV are more effective at helping women and families alleviate the consequences of HIV compared with programs that address WPIR or HIV alone. However, there is a lack of quantitative evidence to support this assumption.

To better understand the effectiveness of combination programming at this intersection, more investment is needed in data collection and monitoring to document and evaluate the impact of programs that address both WPIR and HIV. A critical first step is having a clear understanding of current programmatic and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) efforts. This compendium aims to fill this gap by reviewing programs working at the intersection of HIV and WPIR in Kenya and Uganda, countries that have been heavily affected by the HIV epidemic and subsequently are experiencing a high occurrence of property grabbing and disinheritance from widows and orphans.

The compendium includes descriptions and analysis of the 11 identified organizations and two in-depth case studies. Though not meant to be exhaustive, the compendium represents the depth and breadth of current programming in Kenya and Uganda that includes both WPIR and HIV. We summarize current programmatic and M&E approaches, discuss strengths and challenges of each, and provide recommendations for next steps.  

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We encourage the use and dissemination of our publications for non-commercial, educational purposes. Portions may be reproduced with acknowledgment to the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). For questions, please contact publications@icrw.org; or (202) 797-0007.

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