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 -Knowledge Management and Gender Programme 2008-2016
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Access to land, resources, markets


Using CEDAW to Secure Women’s Land and Property Rights: A Practical Guide

The Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 2014

The rights contained in CEDAW apply to all women everywhere, and CEDAW has been used to identify and redress discrimination against women in a range of settings. The Global Initiative would like to encourage the greater use of CEDAW to advance the land and property rights of women because it considers that through engagement with international human rights mechanisms on these crucial issues, there is the clear opportunity to transform the lives of women, their families and communities, for the better.            


Securing Women’s Land and Property Rights. A Critical Step to Address HIV, Violence, and Food Security

Open Society Foundations, 2014

This briefing paper examines the importance of women’s land and property rights in the contexts of HIV and AIDS, violence against women, and food security. Land and property rights increase women’s autonomy—decreasing their dependence on men and entrapment in abusive relationships, enabling greater control over sexual relations, and improving their ability to produce food for themselves and their families. The report examines where and how these rights are protected under international human rights standards and offer strategies to help women effectively claim and enforce their rights.


Women, Livestock Ownership and Markets. Bridging the gender gap in Eastern and Southern Africa

IDRC, October 2013

Providing empirical evidence from Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique, and from different production systems, this book illustrates that livestock is an important asset to women and their participation in livestock and livestock product markets. It explores the issues of intra-household income management and economic benefits of livestock markets to women, focusing on how the types of markets and products, and women’s participation in markets, influence their access to livestock income. The book further analyzes the role of livestock ownership, especially by women, in influencing household food security by increasing household dietary diversity and food adequacy. Additional issues addressed include access to resources, information, and financial services to enable women to more effectively participate in livestock production and marketing. Factors that influence this access are also examined. Practical strategies for increasing women’s market participation and access to information and services are discussed. The book ends with recommendations on how to mainstream gender in livestock research and development if livestock ownership is to serve as a pathway out of poverty, especially for women. 


Gender inequalities in ownership and control of land in Africa: Myth versus reality

IFPRI, 2013

This paper investigates the extent of women’s land ownership in sub Saharan Africa, using nationally representative data sets. It highlights the need to clarify what we mean when we provide statistics on women’s land ownership—what do we mean by ownership, and what land are we talking about.  Most of the available data is not consistent on these points. Where there is data available, there is a very mixed picture of women’s land ownership, and broad generalizations hide that important variability.

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Securing Africa's Land for Shared Prosperity. A Program to Scale Up Reforms and Investments

The World Bank, June 2013

This is the first book on land administration and reform in Sub-Saharan Africa, and is highly relevant to all developing countries around the world. It provides simple practical steps to turn the hugely controversial subject of 'land grabs' into a development opportunity by improving land governance to reduce the risks of dispossessing poor landholders while ensuring mutually beneficial investors' deals. The report lays out land reform pilots in Malawi, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and other countries and shows how many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have recognized customary land rights and gender equality, the two key issues that provide a basis for sound land administration.

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Accountability in Africa's land rush: what role for legal empowerment

IIED and IDRC, April 2013

In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in acquiring farmland for agricultural investments in lower-income countries. Whilst such investments can create jobs, improve access to markets and support infrastructure, many large land deals have been associated with negative impacts for local populations, including the dispossession of land and other resources and increased conflict over economic benefits. There is growing evidence on the scale, geography and impacts of large deals. But less is known about how the legal frameworks regulating this land rush shape opportunities and constraints in formal pathways to accountability; and how people who feel wronged by land deals are responding to seek justice, and to what ends. This report assesses the state of evidence on pathways to accountability in the global land rush, with a focus on Africa. It also identifies areas for a new research agenda that places accountability at its centre.

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From marginalisation to empowerment: The potential of land rights to contribute to gender equality – observations from Guatemala, India and Sierra Leone

ActionAid, April 2013

For many years, activists have campaigned for women’s rights to access, control, and, where context allows, own land. This is in recognition of the fact that land is important not only for growing food or as a place to build a home. Land is also a resource that can be used to generate other forms of livelihoods, a place to belong to, and an identity. This is true for both women and men. Our hypothesis, therefore, is that if women have guaranteed, independent rights to land, they will be empowered to better enjoy all their rights. This report aims to set out initial empirical research that affirms this as a fact.


Women's Collective Action: Unlocking the potential of agricultural markets

Oxfam International, Oxfam Research Reports Series, March 2013

Development actors are increasingly prioritising ‘investing in women’ to ensure food security and sustainability—as well as equity—in agricultural development. In this context, collective action is a critical but poorly understood way for women small-scale farmers to strengthen their engagement in agricultural markets. This report provides rigorous new evidence, from quantitative and qualitative research carried out in Ethiopia, Mali and Tanzania, on the economic and empowerment benefits of women’s participation in collective action groups across different agricultural farming systems and markets. The success factors and intervention strategies that have enabled women to benefit most are analysed in order to identify lessons for the future. The research highlights gaps in both current development practice and the wider policy environment which need to be addressed to ensure that collective action in agricultural markets is effective and empowering for rural women.

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Governing land for women and men. A technical guide to support the achievement of responsible gender-equitable governance of land tenure

FAO, Governance of Tenure Technical Guide 1, 2013

Gender equality is one of the ten core principles of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security. This guide aims to assist in its implementation through the achievement of responsible gender-equitable governance of land tenure. It focuses on equity and on how land tenure can be governed in ways that address the different needs and priorities of women and men. The guide provides advice on mechanisms, strategies and actions that can be adopted to improve gender equity in the processes, institutions and activities of land tenure governance.


Chain empowerment: Supporting African farmers to develop markets

CTA, KIT, Faida, IIRR, 2012

Using easy-to-understand language and richly illustrated with drawings and case studies, this book demonstrates how smallholder farmers can earn more by taking control of value chains. Providing numerous insights, the text shows the need to invest in improving the quality of existing products, developing new products, establishing market linkages and building farmer organisation and capacity.

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Enterprising Women. Legal Rights and Economic Opportunities in Africa

The World Bank, October 2012

The importance of property rights in providing the incentive to invest, work hard, and innovate has been recognized for centuries. Yet, many women in Africa do not have the same property rights or formal legal capacity enjoyed by men. This book documents the extent to which the legal capacity and property rights vary for women and men, and analyzes the impact this has on women’s economic opportunities. A companion volume, Enterprising Women: Expanding Opportunities in Africa, further develops a four-part agenda in expanding women's economic empowerment.

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International Mechanisms for Protecting Human Rights Defenders at Risk for their Work on Land Rights

ILC, 2012

The International Land Coalition (ILC) frequently receives requests of solidarity from members in Africa, Asia and Latin America for or on behalf of Human Rights Defenders working on land rights, especially activists. This infonote is meant to support their invaluable work with information on international protection mechanisms and organisations addressing human rights violations related to land.

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Lay of the land. Improving land governance to stop land grabs

ActionAid, 2012

Large-scale land acquisitions by investors, which are often called ‘land grabs’, can deprive rural women and communities of their livelihoods and land, increasing their food insecurity. This report argues that the current rise in land grabbing needs to be urgently addressed, and focuses on the actions that developing countries can take to mitigate land grabs through strengthening national land governance so that it is transparent, is accountable and protects communities’ rights.

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Framing the Debate series - Land Governance in Africa: How historical context has shaped key contemporary issues relating to policy on land

International Land Coalition (ILC), June 2012

The Framing the Debate series aims to facilitate a deeper understanding of the key topics at the centre of current land governance debates. The controversies and disputes surrounding the current land rush result in part from differing perspectives among stakeholder groups. The Framing the Debate series aims to minimize these misunderstandings and quid pro quos, and to create the conditions for a constructive discourse of ideas and perspectives.

This first publication in the series presents an overview of the historical roots of the current land governance challenges facing Africa, from customary land tenure issues to present-day land administration dilemmas and the phenomenon of large-scale land acquisitions by foreign actors, which is a striking déjà vu, when seen in the context of Africa’s trajectory over the last five centuries. The study charts the evolution of land tenure and governance during the economic liberalism and structural adjustment policies of the late twentieth century. It examines the barriers to land access faced by groups such as women, pastoralists, tenants, and migrants, and questions the role of land titling in improving access to land. It also examines contemporary phenomena such as the upsurge in foreign investment and “land grabbing” for the production of food crops and biofuels. The author suggests a framework for land governance minimises social conflicts over land, ensuring greater transparency in land management that benefits smallholders and other customary land users.

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Women’s legal empowerment: lessons learned from community-based activities

International Land Coalition (ILC), Briefing Note, June 2012

In 2010 and 2011, the ILC supported five community-based projects promoting the legal empowerment of rural women. Projects piloted innovative ways to enhance women’s land rights, but also identified models for replication and scaling up. Activities included raising women’s legal awareness through grassroots mobilisation, community trainings, and consultations and the provision of paralegal services, with the aim of improving women’s ability to use legal and administrative processes and structures to gain or maintain land rights and to benefit from them. ILC also facilitated a peer-to-peer exchange in India between SARRA and SWADHINA and a field visit and workshop in Cambodia, where lessons learned were shared with other ILC members from Asia and with Cambodian civil society organisations (CSOs) working on women’s land rights and legal empowerment. This briefing note captures lessons learned from these five projects and from the learning exchanges.

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Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security

FAO, March 2012

These Voluntary Guidelines are intended to assist States, civil society and the private sector in improving the governance of tenure, and thus contribute to alleviating hunger and poverty, empowering the poor and vulnerable, enhancing the environment, supporting national and local economic development, and reforming public administration. Voluntary Guidelines set out principles and internationally accepted standards for responsible practices. They provide a framework that States can use when developing their own strategies, policies, legislation and programmes. They allow government authorities, the private sector, civil society and citizens to judge whether their proposed actions and the actions of others constitute acceptable practices.

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How can women’s land rights be secured? Summary of the online discussion

International Land Coalition (ILC), 2012

From 23 January to 6 February 2012, ILC held an online discussion leading up to the ILC-IFAD-FAO side event at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). The discussion was held simultaneously on the Land Portal and in the FSN-Forum – 70 contributions were received from 32 countries, from grassroots activists, researchers, NGOs and government staff. While highlighting the difficult situation faced by women in many countries, contributions to the discussion included many examples on how to promote women’s land rights, providing recommendations based on best practice in three main areas:

  • Understanding rights: the importance of information
  • Claiming rights: the importance of mobilisation
  • Guaranteeing rights: the importance of enabling environments and implementation

While highlighting the difficult situation faced by women in many countries, contributions to the discussion included many examples on how to promote women’s land rights, providing recommendations based on best practices.


Access to and control of resources by women. A challenge for food security

Commission on Women and Development (Belgium), Group on Gender, Empowerment and Food Security, January 2012 (with input from FAO-Dimitra)

An international seminar entitled “Access to and Control of Resources by Women: a Challenge for Food Security” was held on 15 December 2009. This one-day event allowed us to discuss ways of tackling the topic of women’s access to and control of resources in relation to food security. There were academic presentations that showed the results of research and/or analysis from the field as well as testimonies from women leaders of farmers’ organisations who shared their experiences.

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Environmental and Gender Impacts of Land Tenure Regularization in Africa

UNU-WIDER Working Paper 74, November 2011

Although recent developments greatly increased interest in African land tenure, few models to address these issues at the required scale have been identified or evaluated. Rwanda’s nation-wide land tenure regularization programme is of great interest. A discontinuity design with spatial fixed effects that is used to evaluate the pilot for this programme points to three main effects; namely, (i) improved land access for legally married women and better recordation of inheritance rights; (ii) significant and large investment impacts that are particularly pronounced for women; and (iii) a reduction in land market activity rather than distress sales. Implications for programme design and policy are discussed.

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Forests & Gender

IUCN & WEDO, 2011

This book explores some of the main themes concerning forests and gender with case studies from around the world demonstrating the wealth of learning and experience that is the result of increased awareness and integration of gender issues within forestry work. The final section of the book takes a step back and examines issues and progress at the international and global levels, bringing us up to date and forecasting future challenges and developments.


Women and land: securing rights for better lives

IDRC, November 2011

The core of this book focuses on recent findings from sub-Saharan Africa, where researchers in 14 countries have explored the topic from many angles: legal, customary, political, and economic. Researchers from NGOs, academics, and grassroots activists worked together with communities, exploring the experiences of women in specific contexts.

On the affiliated website, a series of five case studies is presented.

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How Do Community-based Legal Programs Work. Understanding the Process and Benefits of a Pilot Program to Advance Women’s Property Rights in Uganda

ICRW, 2011

From 2009-2010, the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) and the Uganda Land Alliance (ULA) implemented and evaluated a pilot program to strengthen women’s property rights. This report describes the pilot program’s implementation, outcomes and lessons. It details the program design, methodologies for monitoring and evaluation, and the context in which the program was implemented. Findings include a discussion of challenges encountered by the rights workers and overall program achievements. And recommendations for community rights work as an approach to promoting women’s property rights also are included.

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Securing Women’s Access to Land: Linking Research and Action

International Land Coalition (ILC), 2011

This toolbox is based on materials developed for ILC project in Eastern and Southern Africa from 2007-2010 entitled “Securing Women’s Access to Land: Linking Research and Action”. The core of this project was action-oriented research carried out by partners in seven countries with a view to using research results in advocacy. The capacity-building activities to support partners included advocacy workshops on which this toolbox is based. This toolbox is split into two sections: one on advocacy planning, and one on tools. In an attempt to facilitate advocacy for small organisations with limited funds, using this toolbox does not require financial resources, but rather, focuses on sensitising the media and lobbying.

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A Woman and Her Land - A ray of hope beacons

Uganda Land Alliance, 2011

The ULA conducted a field study in eight districts of Uganda (Amuru, Apac, Gulu, Pader, Hoima, Kyenjojo, Mubende and Jinja) to establish the progress women have made vis-à-vis their rights to land. The detailed experiences captured from the cases have been published into a book which contains the real life stories as told to the documentation team.

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Strategies to get gender onto the agenda of the “land grab” debate

International Land Coalition (ILC), Policy Brief, March 2011

The International Land Coalition (ILC)’s Commercial Pressures on Land (CPL) initiative aims to support the efforts of ILC members and other stakeholders to influence global, regional, and national processes to enable secure and equitable access to land for poor women and men in the face of increasing commercial demand. Its global research contains a careful and focused analysis of the gendered impacts of CPL, and especially the impacts on women. This concludes that:

1. Women (and women’s NGOs and CSOs) need to actively and strategically organise at all levels to get gender issues around CPL on the table of current and forthcoming processes on regulatory responses;
2. The gendered impacts of CPL need to be seriously addressed within this process in relation to all four aspects of women’s vulnerability (systemic discrimination related to land access, ownership, and control; systemic discrimination related to decision-making; relative income poverty; and general physical vulnerability);
3. Gender issues must not be subsumed within the broader debate on CPL.

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Land and property rights

FAO, December 2010

This Junior Farmer Field and Life Schools (JFFLS) Facilitator’s Guide module contributes to the JFFLS approach by helping the students acquire the knowledge, skills and values they need to be able to build their future and in the specific in knowing and protecting their land, property and human rights and the rights of others. In this way, JFFLS participants can contribute to building a culture of rights in their communities and environments. Secure property rights are central to any effort to address inequality, poverty, vulnerability to food insecurity and sustainable development in general. The JFFLS programme, especially its life skills component, is an excellent channel for introducing the topic of land and property rights to young people. Learning about land and property rights will help students understand the impact that gender inequality in land and property rights can have on people’s livelihoods and food security, and the role that these rights can play in building and strengthening livelihoods and in reducing poverty.


Gender in Water and Sanitation

World Bank & WSP, November 2010

This publication highlights, in brief form, approaches to redressing gender inequality in the water and sanitation sector. It is a working paper as the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) and its partners continue to explore and document emerging practice from the field. The review is intended for easy reference by sector ministries, donors, citizens, development banks, NGOs and water and sanitation service providers committed to mainstreaming gender in the sector. Two central features in the review are the illustration of good practices and checklists.


Access to and control of resources by women: a challenge for food security. Recommendations

Gender, Empowerment and Food Security group, Commission on Women and Development (Belgium), October 2010

In the past decade, the theme of food security has received more and more attention, and strategies to meet this challenge have been developed. The process of the empowerment of women thus logically forms part of the road to the solution, at both the individual and organisational level, by taking into account four components: ASSETS (economic power) – KNOWLEDGE AND KNOW-HOW (power to) – WILL (internal power) – CAPACITY (social and political power). This is why the Commission on Women and Development recommends that actors at all levels give these four components priority in their development policies.

Dimitra participated in the development of these recommendations.

Download the recommendations

Smart Water Solutions Examples of innovative, low-cost technologies for wells, pumps, storage, irrigation and water treatment

CTA/KIT, 2010

In an average day, women in Africa and Asia carry 20 kg of water on their heads over a distance of 6 km. In 2025, the number of people suffering from inadequate water supplies is expected to reach 3 billion. Methods of collecting and storing water can and should be improved in order to resolve such shortages and unequal water supplies. There are a many techniques available. Some of them have existed for years, but have been forgotten or neglected. This booklet offers practical advice on how to improve the situation. It provides information on all the main techniques for recovering and storing water, showing how inexpensive technologies can help poor families live healthier lives and double or even triple household revenue.

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Her Mile. Women’s Rights and Access to Land. The Last Stretch of Road to Eradicate Hunger

ActionAid, March 2010

This publication argues that “women’s rights to land and natural resources are the missing link in the analysis of the food crisis and women’s empowerment is the factor on which donors have less invested in their response to the increasing number of hungry and malnourished people.”


Gender and Land Rights: Understanding Complexities; Adjusting Policies

FAO Policy Brief 8, March 2010

Increasing women’s access to land is crucial to fight hunger and poverty. However, gender disparities in land access remain significant in most countries, regardless of their level of development. A new FAO database helps to understand the factors that prevent women from accessing land; and to design better policies to effectively address this situation.


Land Tenure, Gender, and Globalization. Research and Analysis from Africa, Asia, and Latin America

Zubaan/IDRC, 2009

Drawing from field research in Cameroon, Ghana, Viet Nam, and the Amazon forests of Brazil, Bolivia, and Peru, this book explores the relationship between gender and land, revealing the workings of global capital and of people’s responses to it. A central theme is the people’s resistance to global forces, frequently through an insistence on the uniqueness of their livelihoods. The book addresses a gap in the literature on land tenure and gender in developing countries. It raises new questions about the process of globalization, particularly about who the actors are (local people, the state, NGOs, multinational companies) and the shifting relations amongst them. The book also challenges the very concepts of gender, land, and globalization.

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Market Access and Agricultural Product Marketing: Promoting Farmer Initiatives

AFD/CTA/Inter-réseaux, 2009

One of the main difficulties cited by crop farmers and livestock keepers is selling their products for a good price. Market access is in itself a problem for many smallholders. Many also face problems in getting what they consider a fair return for their labours. The presence of middle-men, price fluctuations and disorganised supply chains are all frequent complaints. In order to overcome these problems, some farmers have developed individual and collective initiatives. But these remain too few in number, and there is scant knowledge about how and where they operate.

Against this background, Inter-Réseaux Développement Rural, a forum for rural development in the South, launched a programme to investigate these issues. The document produced as a result of the inquiry is designed as a resource compendium of methods and tools used to create different forms of debate and exchange. Much of the space is devoted to case studies of initiatives run by farmers and their support organisations to help improve marketing of their products. Among them are examples of cashew nut producers in Benin, farmers and women processors in Burkina Faso who are organising the marketing of white rice, and contracts that are being set up between onion farmers in Burkina Faso and buyers in Ghana.

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Land tenure security and poverty reduction

IFAD, February 2009

Land is fundamental to the lives of poor rural people. It is a source of food, shelter, income and social identity. Secure access to land reduces vulnerability to hunger and poverty. But for many of the world’s extremely poor rural people in developing countries, secure access is becoming more tenuous than ever.


Trading Up: Building Cooperation between Farmers and Traders in Africa

KIT and IIRR, 2008

Finding a market and transporting produce are among the biggest headaches facing small-scale farmers in Africa. Often these farmers are portrayed as being at the mercy of middlemen or traders who exploit their ignorance, vulnerability or desperation. Published as part of a new series titled Farm to Market, Trading Up seeks to redress the balance, arguing that with more support, Africa’s traders could significantly boost the efficiency of food supply chains, increasing the demand for farm produce and improving the livelihoods of rural people. Case studies provided by 30 traders, farmers and professionals from seven countries examine how relationships between different players in commodity value chains can be strengthened.


Promising approaches to address the needs of poor female farmers

IFPRI, August 2008

This brief focuses on key agricultural resources needed by poor female farmers to generate incomes and ensure their families' food security. It is organized around key resources and promising approaches to increase poor women's control of those resources. One resource that is not included in this review is human capital. It must be emphasized that investing in women's education, health, and nutrition is an integral part of enabling women to guarantee their families'—and their own—well-being. These approaches were identified in the course of a review of projects and interventions in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

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Securing Women’s Right to Land and Livelihoods - A Key to Ending Hunger and Fighting AIDS

ActionAid, July 2008

This briefing paper highlights the link between gender inequality and HIV and AIDS, through which women’s unequal social and economic status creates situations of poverty, hunger, violence and abuse. Breaking that link requires taking action on women’s rights to land and livelihoods and improving women’s food security. ActionAid repeats its longstanding calls for governments to pay attention to small-scale agriculture and in particular to women’s smallholder farming and the domestic work economy. The paper also stress the need to deal with HIV and AIDS from a human rights perspective and to break down institutional resistance to this approach.


Fuelling exclusion? The biofuels boom and poor people's access to land

FAO/IIED, May 2008

What are the impacts of the increasing spread of biofuels on access to land in producer countries, particularly for poorer rural people? Biofuels could revitalise rural agriculture and livelihoods – or, where there are competing claims on land – exclude poorer land and resource users. This study documents current knowledge on current and potential impacts of commercial biofuel production for access to land in Africa, Latin America and Asia, charting both negative experiences and promising approaches.

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From being property of men to becoming equal owners? Early impacts of land registration and certification on women in southern Ethiopia

UN-HABITAT / Norwegian Mapping and Cadastre Authority, January 2008

Traditionally, the land tenure system in Southern Ethiopia may be characterised by patrilineal inheritance and virilocal residence. Young girls have very little influence over when and whom to marry. Further, they have to go to a husband that their clan or family has identified for them, meaning that they after marriage move to the home of their new husband and inherit no land from their parents. Bride prices and dowries are commonly used, and girls are seen as the property of the husband and his clan. This also implies that if the husband dies, his wife is still the property of his clan. Hence, a brother of the late husband would then become the new husband of the wife. This report provides recommendations as to how women’s land rights could be strengthened further in Ethiopia by improving the quality of the land reform, followed by some recommendations for issues where further research is needed.

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Access of the Poor to Agricultural Services - The Role of Farmers' Organizations in Social Inclusion

KIT Publishers, 2007 - US$25 / €17

Using case studies from Benin, Rwanda and Tanzania, this book explores how farmers' organisations can facilitate access by the poorest farmers to agricultural services, and which conditions tend to favour social inclusion. By asking how the poorest of the poor can gain benefit from agricultural services, the authors hope to stimulate research and debate with a view to drawing up guidelines for the future development of farmers’ organisations. The book goes into a detailed analysis of current organisations, their rules and members, before moving on to examine some strategies for ensuring greater involvement of disadvantaged groups or individuals, so they too can benefit from the services on offer.

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In Search of Equality: A Survey of Law and Practice related to Women's Inheritance Rights in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region

COHRE, 2007

The focus of research was on the legal situation of inheritance rights in these States, as well as women's actual experiences with respect to inheritance. Research findings reveal the complexity of the issues, identifies causes and consequences of inheritance rights violations, and recommends key changes, based on a human rights framework. The main finding of the report is that inheritance laws should be reformed to embody full gender equality. Far more challenging will be the eradication of the cultural roots of discriminatory customs, traditions and notions. Education must also take high priority as most women are unaware of their rights.

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Reclaiming Rights and Resources: Women, Poverty, and Environment

CARE, January 2007

This 34-page report presents 7 case studies from across Africa that focus on three types of threatened environmental resources: land, forests, and water. In each case women share their stories of how the loss or degradation of such critical resources has adversely affected their lives and what they are doing to address these problems. In the foreword, Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai argues that women's livelihoods are directly linked to the state of the environment, and that when rural environments become unsustainable, it is women whose lives are most disrupted. She also argues that educating those who work most closely with the land - especially women - will greatly benefit the environment.


Landless women, hopeless women? Gender, land and decentralisation in Niger

IIED Issue paper no. 143, October 2006

This 35-page paper is a summary of a regional case study on gender, land and decentralisation. The main study has two parts: three portraits of women showing different examples of access to natural resources and local leadership; and a general report based on the portraits and on interviews carried out in seven study sites in Maradi and Zinder regions in Niger.

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Improving gender equity in access to land

FAO Land Tenure Notes 2, 2006

This guide has been prepared to support NGOs that are working to promote more equitable access to land for women and men in rural communities. In most societies, access to land has favoured certain individuals and groups at the expense of others. Women are one of the groups that often have fewer and weaker rights to land. The guide addresses gender relations and how their structure affects access to land. It presents strategies to improve gender equity by evaluating the current situation to identify what gender issues exist, by informing people of their rights to land, and by working to empower the marginalized.

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Better land access for the rural poor: Lessons from experience and challenges ahead

IIED and FAO, October 2006

This paper reviews recent policy and practice to improve land access for poorer groups. It examines shifting approaches to land reform, different means to secure land rights and to achieve more equitable land distribution, the particular vulnerability of certain groups to losing their land rights, and the need to address land rights within conflict resolution and peace building. It concludes with broad recommendations for protecting land rights of poorer and more vulnerable groups. It focuses on Africa, Latin America and Asia, while also referring to experience from Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

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Reclaiming Our Lives. HIV and AIDS, women’s land and property rights and livelihoods in southern and East Africa – Narratives and responses

HSRC Press, 2006

A study drawing on research, workshops and personal and organisational testimonies, covering Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It aims to raise awareness of the heavy impact of HIV/AIDS on women’s property rights and livelihoods and the active steps being taken by many grassroots organisations to respond to the crisis. It looks at a number of creative initiatives such as the Memory Book Project in Uganda.

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The Land and Property Rights of Women and Orphans in the Context of HIV and AIDS. Case studies from Zimbabwe

HSRC Press, 2006

This publication covers analysis of the study sites in Seke, Buhera, Chimanimani and Bulawayo Districts, land and property rights of widows and other vulnerable women in those sites, livelihood strategies, obstacles and options, policy issues and recommendations. The study highlights the vulnerability of widows to property rights violations.

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Linking livelihoods and gender analysis for achieving gender transformative change

FAO, LSP Working Paper 41, 2006

This paper is one of a series which addresses livelihood issues in access to natural resources. It reviews the key elements of livelihoods and gender perspectives and their "fit" with each other. It draws attention to the challenge of addressing gender issues within natural resource-based development programmes using a livelihoods perspective. The paper emphasises the need to go beyond gender role analysis and proposes some generic questions to help analyse changing gender relations. The paper also looks ahead towards ways in which the gender project might be framed in the future, and advocates for more support to non-farm natural resource-based interventions for building livelihoods, especially the livelihoods of rural women.


For her it’s the big issue: putting women at the centre of water supply, sanitation and hygiene

WSSCC, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, March 2006

How can the vital role of women in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions be better recognised? This report is a collection of evidence and brief examples highlighting the effect and benefits of placing women at the core of planning, implementation and operations of WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) programmes.


Land Tenure Reform and Gender Equality

UNRISD, January 2006

This UNRISD Research and Policy Brief examines the extent to which women’s interests are reflected in the new generation of reforms to land tenure, including land titling, and the new possibilities opened by democratic transitions that have placed inequalities in land distribution back on national agendas.

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Gender and land compendium of country studies

FAO, 2005

Hunger and poverty are, in general, consequences of inadequate and restricted access to land and other resources, such as capital, inputs and technology; being women among those with less access to land, while accounting for a large share in small-scale food production. This compendium has been put together to provide an improved understanding of the complex issues concerning gender and land. It draws on research commissioned by FAO, and has been compiled by the Gender and Development Service in collaboration with the Land Tenure Service.

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A place to live: Women’s inheritance rights in Africa

COHRE, 2005

This publication gives an overview of laws and policies affecting inheritance rights and their effects on women’s lives in 10 Sub Saharan African Countries.


Law, Land and Tenure and Gender Review: Southern Africa


This set of four reviews provides a broad overview of the national and local legal framework related to land, housing, inheritance and marital property rights in Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia. This includes a description of relevant policies, such as the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper or National Development Plan. The series examines tenure types and land management systems and analyses their accessibility to the (urban) poor, also from a gender perspective. It highlights innovative forms of tenure and alternative dispute settlement mechanisms and describes the important role of civil society organisations in law and policy formulation, advocacy and implementation . Relevant good practices are documented in each review, such as tenure regularisation, participatory decision-making, women’s rights to land and housing and innovative land management. The review concludes with a set of recommendations.

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International Decade for Action - Water for Life 2005-2015

"Appropriate policies and good governance practices are needed to encourage and guide farmers to make better use of water," FAO said in a message on the eve of the International Decade for Action 'Water for Life 2005-2015'  launched by the United Nations and Governments on 22 March, World Water Day.

Agriculture is the biggest water consumer. On average, according to FAO, it takes one tonne of water to produce one kilogram of wheat. Most of the water used by crops comes from the rain stored in the soil. The agriculture sector faces a complex challenge: producing more food of better quality while using less water per unit of output; providing rural people with resources and opportunities to live a healthy and productive life; applying clean technologies that ensure environmental sustainability; and contributing in a productive way to the local and national economy. This will not only require changes in attitudes, but also substantial and well targeted investments in infrastructure, modernization, institutional restructuring and upgrading of the technical capacities of farmers and water managers.

The Water for Life Decade provides a unique opportunity to adapt agricultural and rural development policies, accelerate changes in irrigation governance and, through adequate water laws and institutions, support the integration of the social, economic and environmental needs of rural populations, according to FAO.

For more information see the Water for Life Decade website

A gender perspective on land rights - equal footing

FAO, Sustainable Development Department, March 2005

Access to land is essential to food production and income generation. It is also a key social and economic asset, crucial for cultural identity, political power and participation in decision-making. Ensuring equal land rights for men and women increases economic opportunities, encourages investment in land and food production, improves family security during economic and social transitions and leads to better land stewardship.

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