March 2014 – This paper discusses a pragmatic, adaptive framework for understanding and taking action to strengthen women’s land tenure security in the context of customary tenure. The Framework defines secure land rights in terms of five elements, which each serves as the basis for distinct, measurable indicators upon which to base project assessment, design, and evaluation. This paper presents the Framework and suggests its potential as an analytical foundation for assessing the security of land rights, for designing projects or developing policies that protect and strengthen women’s land rights, and for evaluating the effectiveness of such policies or projects. Section I of the paper sets the stage by describing the problem that the framework seeks to address. Section II presents the Framework. Section III provides an example of how the Framework was used to design, implement, and evaluate a pilot project in northern Uganda. Finally, Section IV offers concluding thoughts about how the Framework can be adapted and used to conceptualize and address women’s land tenure issues in the context of customary tenure.This Paper was prepared for presentation at the “2014 World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty” in Washington DC, March 24-27. Authored by Leslie Hannay and Elisa Scalise.
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Landesa partners with governments and local organizations to ensure that the world’s poorest families have secure rights over the land they till. Founded as the Rural Development Institute, Landesa has helped more than 105 million poor families gain legal control over their land since 1967. When families have secure rights to land, they can invest in their land to sustainably increase their harvests and reap the benefits—improved nutrition, health, and education—for generations.