Creating peaceful societies through improved management of natural resources, women's land tenure rights and e | Land Portal
Contact information: 
Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken, Postbus 20061, 2500 EB Den Haag

Geographical focus

Related categories


Fostering women’s empowerment and access to political, legal, economic, and social rights is a core dimension of peacebuilding efforts. In Sierra Leone, land tenure and access to natural resources with economic exclusion lie at the heart of this debate. The complex land tenure and ownership system and unequal access to natural resources are among the primary causes of conflicts in Sierra Leone. Farmers – particularly women – operate in an informal and precarious system without sufficient legal safeguards. The project is time-sensitive, as the new Government has committed to the implementation of a long overdue land reform as well as a National Gender Strategy, both of which, on paper commit to non-discrimination and gender equality within an overhauled land tenure system. The project is innovative, being the only initiative in the country that combines the promotion of women’s land tenure security, economic empowerment, and peacebuilding, anchored on the implementation of land policy. The project will enhance women’s access to and control over land and at the same time strengthen their economic opportunities through business skills and knowledge, gender-sensitive financial products and ability to cooperate effectively. The project is also in line with the Government’s efforts to foster national cohesion, as dialogue will augment local conflict preventions and peaceful resolution of disputes, with the support of a network of trained insider mediators. The project relies on innovative methods in its implementation, including the use of an innovative geospatial technology “System for Open Land Administration (SOLA)” an Open Tenure software developed by FAO, with a gender-sensitive, community-based approach to record land rights and tenure relationships in the field, including rules on tenure dispute resolution. Improving the governance of tenure will require engaging a broad range of stakeholders with different and sometimes conflicting interests. Building on the existing wide consensus on the need to strengthen women’s empowerment and participation at all levels of society, as well as to sustain social cohesion by preventing escalation and political use of land conflicts. The project will serve as catalyst to mobilize local and national political will to engage powerful elites who benefit from weak tenure governance and in a system that engenders women’s exclusion.