3.3 kilometres is the distance women and supporters covered to voice their daily struggles and advocate for land rights.
Zambia Land Alliance (ZLA) with support from the International Land Coalition (ILC) and We Effect took part in the parade to commemorate the 2019 International Women’s Day. The event, organised by the government brought together hundreds of women, young people, civil servants, faith-based organisations, schools and political parties. 10 ZLA officers (four females and six males) took part in the event.
“Equality and equity in land allocation, and women empowerment for improved livelihoods,” read a message on the ZLA banner for this public event.
Though public authorities have made huge strides towards gender justice in land, women still feel marginalised. Zambia recognises customary tenure, which sometimes discriminates against women. Traditional practices are patriarchal, putting women at the back of the queue when it comes to customary land governance.
ZLA believes access to land is central to women’s economic and social empowerment. Livelihoods of rural communities can only improve when women are empowered through secured land tenure.
It is this conviction that led ZLA to lead the Southern Africa component of the Kilimanjaro Initiative, a rural women movement working to campaign for the recognition of rural women’s land rights in 2018.
Under the movement, ZLA is coordinating the women rights movement across the Southern Africa sub-region.
In Zambia, policy makers have failed to realise that it is wrong to make decisions on land without engaging women and youth.
The 2019 International Women’s Day gave an opportunity for ZLA to campaign against this.
In a statement it issued to the press, ZLA urged the government and customary leaders to involve youth and women in decision making processes on land.
It also called on the state to complete the land policy formulation process and implement fully visionary processes that guarantee tenure security for the vulnerable groups such as the 2015 National Resettlement policy and the Gender policy.