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The ‘age of ignorance’
For a long time land governance, land tenure and land rights remained in the ‘age of ignorance’. We have known for some time that land governance is a key ingredient for social, economic and environmental development; what was missing, however, was the data. With the little information available to us at the time, we set priorities and crafted interventions for our course of work. Relying on a few rough figures meant that we were often repeating mantras and slogans based on loose, rather than on hard and reliable facts. Most notable among these was the often repeated and now widely disputed, “women own 2% of the world’s land”.
We meet Rosalía in a roadside café in a dusty town in the Quiché department, in Guatemala’s Western Highlands. She lowers her voice whenever people come in – you never know who might be listening. Land is sensitive stuff, especially in Quiché, a region that still bears, perhaps more than any other part of Guatemala, the scars of the civil war (1960-1996) – as we will see. In 2018 alone, 15 defenders of land rights in Guatemala have been killed with total impunity, several of them in Quiché.
A data story from women in a semiarid region of Brazil
*This story was written by the following women: Ducicleide Maria da Silva, Gigliola Silva Araújo, Ianka Sayonara da Silva, Josefa Ferreira da Silva, Maria do Carmo da Conceição Carvalho, Maria Karoline Policarpo Silva, Manuella Donato, Mariana de Albuquerque Vilarim and Thalya Carla Vieira de Lima and Patricia Maria Chaves . It was translated by Sonia Jay Wright.*