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Library The Right to Land and Justice for Women in Africa

The Right to Land and Justice for Women in Africa

The Right to Land and Justice for Women in Africa
African Women’s Land Rights Conference Report, May 2011

Resource information

Date of publication
January 2012

I invite you to read the report of the African women's land rights Conference held in Nairobi from 30th May to the 2nd of June 2011 and, in particular, its final declaration (pp. 34-37), which includes recommendations for national governments, African Union and NEPAD, civil society organisations and international NGOs in Africa.

[From the Introduction] Women at the grassroots are adopting various strategies to secure their land rights in several countries in Africa. For example in Kenya and Malawi, women have formed watchdog groups with the aim of holding leaders to account. In Ghana and Cameroon, women have formed groups and collectively come together to buy land, a strategy used to overcome high land prices and to ensure that women gain secure title to land. In Tanzania, Maasai women with the help of development partners are negotiating for land ownership with traditional leaders.

Despite such initiatives women still face challenges in securing their land rights. Laws and policies at international, regional and local level foster discrimination against women on issues of ownership, access and control of land. In countries where legislation that protect women’s rights exists, there is the issue of ineffective implementation of the laws and policies by the agencies seized with that responsibility.

Gender-neutral programmatic interventions and initiatives often serve to compound discriminatory practices that women face in relation to their land rights. It is imperative that the land policy and law be reviewed where there is clear manifestation of discrimination. It is also essential that emerging policies, laws and programmes integrate gender perspectives in terms of ownership, access to and control of land. There is a need to look beyond legal and policy reforms and adopt broad based social change towards women’s land rights. To this end there will be need to engage in dialogue with the community leaders and traditional institutions to ensure women’s land rights are protected and supported at this level. This should be done in recognition of the intersections between women’s land rights, discriminatory inheritance practices, agricultural development issues, the appropriation and privatisation of communal and indigenous lands, conflict, post conflict reconstruction, HIV/AIDS and SGBV. There is an urgent need for positive engagement and a proactive approach to securing women’s land rights in the context of increasing largescale land acquisitions, climate change, conflicts over natural resources and civil wars.

In light of this, ACORD, Action Aid and Oxfam with support from other partners convened the African Women’s Land Rights Conference, from the 30th May to the 2nd June 2011 in Nairobi, Kenya to discuss the right to land and justice for African women, share experiences and strategies in addressing violations that women are suffering from in their everyday lives.


You can find the full report below or on the Land for African Women's website. 


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