In South Africa, women and youth learn to negotiate better deals during land-based investments.
During the women’s week the NKUZI Development Association, a non-profit working to advance the rights of people and member of the International Land Coalition (ILC) in South Africa, organised a series of events that bettered the capabilities of women and young people to engage policy processes around land-based investment projects.
The actions involved supporting women leaders to learn from each other and educating women and youth to develop engagement strategies for policy processes and how to achieve value addition on their farming produce.
Women leaders mentor other women in Limpopo
Using the Training of Trainers Module on Gender Sensitive Community Engagement in Large Scale Land-based Investments in Agriculture, supported by ILC, 10 women leaders trained villages in the Limpopo province to better negotiate benefits and outcomes in mining projects. The women leaders first received training during an event NKUZI organised in January 2020.
The training equipped 24 women leaders drawn from 8 mining-affected communities and rural areas experiencing different forms of land-based investments with knowledge to engage in land deals and decision-making processes on large scale land-based investments.
The session also had amongst participants, representatives of Land Access Movement of South Africa (LAMOSA) another ILC member working on land rights and the Alliance for Rural Democracy (ARD), a member of the ILC supported LandNNES-the Land Network National Engagement Strategy in South Africa.
“Mining and develop projects usually impose benefits to communities that are not acceptable, like displacing communities and relocating them to areas which are isolated, have no access to services and pay compensation that are by far less than what mines tend to gain on the land. The communities are often not active participants in defining and unpacking the compensation and mining companies adopt a take it or leave it approach as they leave no room for negotiations despite laws which allow communities to participate actively in such transactions,” said Mrs Motlanalo Lebepe, the Executive Director, NKUZI Development Association.
To prevent communities from being cheated, NKUZI is using the engagement tool to support women to advocate for their rights.
With it “ we teach women leaders about informed consent and how to better negotiate benefit sharing in mining projects,” added Mrs Lebepe.
Xitlakati village women and youth learn to negotiate better deals
On March 8, Nkuzi organised a workshop that targeted youth and women in Xitlakati community.The story of Xitlakati is that of a community that depends heavily on land for survival but is locked out of land resources. South Africa’s White Paper of Land promised to redress historical inequalities that blocked the black majority from owning land and participate actively in the economy through agricultural activities. This remains a dream that has not yet materialised.
The community also have a growing number of unskilled and unemployed youth, who want to engage in agriculture but have no land.
The engagement included parallel discussions with youth and women. There were total participants of 69. They included 33 youth and amongst them were 29 women. The session for women was attended by 36 people, of whom 30 were women and 6 were men.
The exchange with the young people of Xitlakati focused on how to demand more inclusion in land processes. Discussions included examples of projects driven by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, local government and provincial government.
The session with women discussed how to campaign for the rights of women. Attended by 6 male advocates, the event also enabled women to learn new techniques to better add value to their farm produce and to market them.
During the exchange, it was observed that women are better in advocacy when they work in collaboration with women groups. The Rural Women’s Assembly and the Xitlakati Development Forum and Mopani Farmers Association were identified as good movements to enable women in Xitlakati to speak for equality. These groups are well organised and have a reputation of influencing authorities on the rights of women.
Both sessions ended with participants developing strategies and approaches to promote youth and women’s land rights.