We are past the season of justifying why women Land Rights are critical
On the 26th of October, during the Africa Land Forum 2021, I listened to many speakers reiterate that it is no longer time to justify women's land rights, but to implement it.
As a young woman, two examples of solutions discussed caught my attention.
The first was the Kilimanjaro Women Initiative. The idea of helping women realise their land rights began 10 years ago with combined efforts from Action Aid Kenya, Oxfam and the International Land Coalition.
Five years after the inception of the idea, the Kilimanjaro Women Initiative was formed to enable women participate in land use decision-making and monitor governments to ensure rural women's land rights are upheld.
In October 2016, 26 women from the Initiative climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness on their rights to land. Indeed, their ascension was significant as their land rights began getting recognition.
The Initiative's recent achievement is enabling 400 rural women present a charter of their demands to the African Union Commission's (AUC) depository.
The second solution for Women’s Land Rights discussed, that I equally liked, were lessons from the Regreening Africa Project.
The European Union-funded Regreening Africa project, which began in 2017, is seeking to restore 1 million hectares of degraded land and impact 500 000 households across eight African countries by 2022.
So far, the project has aided women, youth, and other groups to create best practices such as home gardens and coping methods such as agroforestry techniques to allow them enhance livelihoods, generate income and restore ecosystems.
“Women are practicing regreening technologies e.g., tree planting, Natural Assisted Regeneration (NAR), direct seedlings, tree nurseries, soil conservation and improved stove to reduce deforestation,” said Mawa Karambiri, a Policy and Technical Engagement Specialist for the Sahel at CIFOR-ICRAF.
Although women are increasingly able to access and use land, most of this work is done on family land under the jurisdiction of the male household head, limiting women's decisions on land use and profits from the labour.
What is the project doing to counter this challenge?
Using the slogan "Advocate for the Paper!" the project teaches women how to document and collaborate with local authorities to formalize collective ownership of land.
As a young African woman, I think that these two examples are depicting a clear approach of how women’s land rights are being implemented.
The indigenous women's collective efforts to make their land rights known by developing actions and policies and advocating for them and the Regreening Africa Project, which uses gender sensitive projects to transform local narratives around women's and youth's land rights.