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“Without Land You Are Nobody”

“Without Land You Are Nobody”
Critical Dimensions of Women‟s Access to Land and Relations in Tenure in East Africa

Resource information

Date of publication
January 2007
ISBN / Resource ID
IDRC Scoping Study for East Africa on Women‟s Access and Rights to Land & Gender Relations in Tenure

This scoping study on women's access to land in East Africa sets up a conceptual framework in which to consider issues of women's land tenure and identifies key aras for future research as well as key actiors toward increased jender equity in land rights.

[From the Introduction] Land is a critical resource for women and men in East Africa. It has multiple values and meanings, and this overlapping multiplicity makes it even more critical for people‟s livelihoods. For instance, land is not only a material and productive resource that enables survival, livelihoods and agricultural production, it is also an important symbolic resource that heavily influences status, rites of passage and identity. Moreover, it is deeply laden with cultural and spiritual meanings that are context and culturally specific. It is not surprising then, that any study of gender and land rights must first and foremost take into account cultural variability, historical specificity and political-economic and geo-political differences.

This scoping study focuses on gender and land rights in four East African countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. It has been commissioned by IDRC, under its Rural Poverty and Environment Program (RPE) Initiative, to carry out a scoping study on women‟s access and rights to land within the context of gender relations in tenure. It is part of a global study undertaken in 9 regions and in 23 countries, with an overall objective to develop a program for support for research and action that can improve rural economically poor women‟s access to and ownership of land and other productive resources. This must be done with an understanding of the gender, socio-cultural and power relations that govern tenure, as well as moving beyond this to support secure access to resources in practice. The specific objectives of the study are to i) identify key actors, review existing key issues, activities, gaps and priorities in gender, land and resource tenure; ii) to identify a few specific cases where ongoing research can contribute to the field testing and implementation of gender positive tenure; iii) to build partnerships with key international and regional organizations engaged in research and development in this area and identify opportunities for potential collaborative work; and iv) synthesize a set of key outstanding issues and efforts to advance this agenda, and concrete recommendations in terms of strategic research support and partnerships for RPE.

In order to address these broad and cross-cutting dimensions, this report begins by making explicit the conceptual framework and the methodological approach taken in carrying out this study. Following this, it summarizes and analyzes the common themes and issues that emerge across different cultural and geographical contexts, as well as the differences and specific issues. Based on these findings, it concludes by identifying gaps in research and capacity, and by suggesting a way forward through positive action and agency.

You can download this publication from the website of the International Land Coalition or below.

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