Jan 11, 2021

Using people power and tech for women's land rights

The new year is grounded in a sense of hope as the COVID-19 vaccines become available. But this is not the only thing bringing hope to many: in Tanzania, the Stand For Her Land campaign, is mobilizing dozens of local organizations to advocate for and secure women's land rights. Thanks to the impressive support from the GlobalGiving community, and other likeminded donors, the campaign in Tanzania is moving forward with several important actions in 2021. Among upcoming projects is the first-ever National Women's Land Rights conference, scheduled for March of this year. This conference will bring together representatives of farmers, women's groups, policymakers, and private companies to discuss the state of women's land rights in Tanzania and share best practices in the efforts to strengthen these rights.

Members of the team are also leading the discussion exploring the intersection of women's land rights and climate change. In December, we hosted a webinar on Gender Dynamics of Climate Change and Land Tenure Security for Women, sharing some of the findings in this emerging field. In addition to exploring this critical angle on women's land rights, we expanded our partnership with the mobile platform Sheria Kiganjani (Law On Your Palm) to provide women with useful information on their land rights and connect them to legal resources. This partnership is having a real impact on women in Tanzania. For example, Asia is a farmer who faced obstacles to aking ownership of a plot of land she inherited from her parents. Using the "Women and Land" module of the Law on Your Palm app, Asia and her sister connected with a community paralegal who helped document their situation and provide legal guidance. With this help, she was able to make her case to village leaders who ruled that she was the rightful owner of the land. As a result, Asia and her sister are gaining security and opportunity that they too can share with their family. 

With the continued support of the GlobalGiving community and other generous donors, Stand For Her Land’s work to strengthen women's land rights in Tanzania is helping families and communities find the security and opportunity that Asia's family now experiences. We are incredibly grateful for your generosity and allyship in our mission to secure land rights for all. Thank you for your support.

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Dec 17, 2019

Sharing Resources, Building Capacity

Emmanuel Urey hosts a weekly radio program on land
Emmanuel Urey hosts a weekly radio program on land

As is often the case in legal reform, Landesa’s work in Liberia was far from over after the passage of the Liberia Land Rights Law in 2018. Since then, our teams in Liberia and the U.S. have worked diligently alongside national policymakers and community leaders to ensure that this ground-breaking law reaches all Liberians. Key to achieving this goal is building capacity within Liberia, from the higher levels of the bureaucracy to local communities to share information, answer questions, and provide guidance to rural and marginalized populations. Landesa is actively assisting the Liberian Land Authority (LLA) develop a gender integration strategy, hosting workshops for senior LLA staff on the importance of women’s land rights.

Landesa Liberia Country Representative Dr. Emmanuel Urey’s popular radio program, Land is Life, is reaching more listeners than ever as the show is now relayed to a station in the remote Bong County of northeastern Liberia. With a largely illiterate or semi-literate population, Dr. Urey’s program provides rural residents an engaging and accessible format to learn about the Land Rights Law and other developments in the land rights sector in Liberia.

On the other side of the continent, Landesa is hard at work in Zimbabwe where our team has submitted several recommendations at the request of the Zimbabwe Land Commission (ZLC) as that country seeks to revive its agricultural sector following decades of stagnation. Among the focuses of Landesa’s work in Zimbabwe is to understand the challenges faced by young farmers. Currently, the average age of farmers in Africa is 60, underscoring the importance of including youth in the discussion of agrarian reform and development. By working alongside civil society organizations and public bodies like the ZLC, Landesa is able to better understand the factors that discourage youth from engaging in agriculture and help bring those concerns to Zimbabwe’s land reform efforts.

Progress is being made in both these countries towards secure land rights for all women and men. Thank you for supporting Landesa’s work in Africa!

Sep 3, 2019

Inheriting Hope

Latifah stands in her papaya grove
Latifah stands in her papaya grove

Thank you for your support of secure land rights across Africa! As a land rights champion, you help Landesa continue to engage with national governments and local communities to ensure that all people have secure land rights, through which they can pull themselves and their communities out of poverty. Together, we have raised $6,378, more than 75% of our goal!

Land rights take many forms, from the right to purchase land to the right to inherit land, to the right to decide which crops to plant. For Latifah, inheritance rights have shaped her life and ability to thrive. After she and her husband divorced, Latifah knew she faced the prospect of being left landless. Fortunately, in Tanzania, women have the legal right to inherit land, which Latifah did upon her father’s passing. Six years later, she managed to develop that inheritance into a thriving orchard where she produces papaya, coconuts, and sugarcane that she can sell. With this new source of income, Latifah has been able to improve her living situation, including purchasing a new roof for her home. Latifah’s situation underscores the importance of equal land rights for both women and men: it’s not just economically beneficial; rather, it’s a requirement to ensure secure lives.

But Latifah’s situation, sadly, is not the norm in the region. Customary land tenure that often discriminates against women’s land inheritance, access, and control rights is used for 80% of African land holdings. For many, the promise of national laws has yet to materialize into meaningful practice. That’s why Landesa is committed to working with our partners to guarantee that all women and men have equity under the law and practice.

On the other side of the continent, Landesa is working to close this gap between laws and practice in Liberia, providing assistance to the Liberian Land Authority to ensure successful and complete implementation of the Liberia Land Rights Law. The success of this implementation will protect the rights of some 3 million Liberians who previously lacked secure land rights. This new land law will help women in Liberia enjoy the same benefits from land as Latifah, some 3,500 miles away in Kisarawe, Tanzania.

Thank you so much for your support for land rights across Africa. Together, we will continue to champion secure land rights for millions of the world’s poorest women and men, providing opportunity and promoting social justice. For additional updates on our work around the world, visit https://www.landesa.org and follow us on Instagram.

 

In Solidarity, 

Eleanor

Latifah holds a papaya harvested from her orchard
Latifah holds a papaya harvested from her orchard

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