The Women Advancement Trust (WAT) in Tanzania carries out various initiatives related to land rights, affordable housing, and inheritance rights. This report presents lessons learned from a housing and shelter development initiative. The goals of the initiative were to empower low-income communities, particularly women, to participate fully and actively in all aspects of human settlements development, including the improvement of their living and housing conditions. The initiative sought to achieve this through providing education and offering training and technical assistance in urban and peri-urban areas of Tanzania on land rights, housing construction, and savings and credit. The authors consider various aspects of the programme including housing development and the establishment of housing cooperatives and groups, infrastructural development, and information, communication, advocacy and lobbying by WAT around women's right to own land. The authors conclude that WAT's combination of promoting gender sensitivity in land and property ownership and housing development provides a unique opportunity for the poorest residents to benefit from new government initiatives to support housing development and improve the living conditions for the urban poor. WAT also has an important role to play in raising awareness of these initiatives.
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BRIDGE is a research and information programme located within IDS Knowledge Services. We are part of a global movement whose vision is a world where gender equality, dignity and social justice prevail, where poverty is eliminated and where human rights – including women’s rights - are realised.