Horn, East and Central Africa
Approximately 1.2 million households farm on average 0.5 ha each, thus the pressing need for an integrated sustainable approach to produce enough food. Women’s labour produces more than 90% of food products. Prevalence of patriarchal succession system exacerbates women’s exclusion from land inheritance. The constitutional women representation still fails to challenge preeminence of customary rules!
Populated by 11.3 million, the density of Burundi is estimated to 437 inhabitants per Km2, making it one of the most densely populated countries in the world. With skyrocketing demography and high fertility rate, barriers to land access unveil its gender dimensions. That is why gender-sensitive land policy means guaranteeing fair access to land for all. Women’s access to land will likely arouse necessity for adjustments in socioeconomic governance.
Courts’ records are debilitating, with 70 % being cases related to land-based conflicts. Since 2015, Oxfam Novib with local partners are engaged in influencing norms and attitudes’ shift by amplifying women’s voice over land. The lobby tools are constituted by highlighting the benefits generated by the enactment of gender-sensitive policies in other EAC member States, recording of female victims of land-based conflicts, disseminating innovative approaches and good practices in land fertility’s restoration.
Malawi has since British colonial rule, operated without a comprehensive policy on land matters. This has resulted in many Malawians - particularly women - enduring a history of precarious land rights characterized by poor access, control and ownership of land.
From the early 90s, Malawi embarked on the comprehensive land law reform process, which aimed to address the various land challenges faced, a process which has unreasonably delayed, taking over 20 years to be implemented.
Oxfam in Malawi embarked on the rigorous advocacy and influencing efforts targeting all stakeholders including engaging policy makers particularly the Government of Malawi and convening the Civil Society fraternity to push for the speedy enactment and operationalisation of the new land laws which yielded results as all the land related laws including the Customary Land Act (CLA) were eventually enacted in 2016 and CLA eventually came into full force on 1st March, 2018.
Oxfam, along with its partners, is currently implementing projects meant to popularize the provisions of CLA2016 to the masses and operationalize its implementation through the pilot Land Governance Project. This seeks to establish customary land governance structures and pilot customary estates registration and titling to guarantee security of tenure for Malawians.
Rural Women Assembly (RWA)- Malawi Chapter
Coalition of Women Farmers in Malawi (COWFA)
Land is a contested area in Tanzania, largely due to the prevalence of land conflicts amongst land users. Conflicts exacerbated by non-responsible investments have resulted in displacements and deprivation of vulnerable communities such as small holder farmers, pastoralists and hunters and gathers living in marginalized areas.
Formalization of land tenure rights is the method used to give vulnerable communities secured land tenure and to protect and promote their livelihoods. Despite the importance of formalized land tenure, more than 80% of villages in Tanzania are not surveyed and, as a result, communities (particularly women) are vulnerable to losing their land.
Women continue to suffer in the face of patriarchy cultural attitudes, behavior and beliefs which hinder their ability to own property. This is despite Tanzania’s law asserting equal property rights between men and women
Oxfam in Tanzania’s land rights work is guided by a theory of change that focuses on empowering citizens, particularly women, to engage with responsible leadership/states to secure their land rights. This strategy combines several approaches: policy influencing to institutionalise the land rights of community (especially of women); supporting innovative and inclusive approaches to securing certificates of land ownership; research to generate evidence; campaigns such as the Female Food Hero (a reality TV show and movement of women changemakers) that challenges the underlying structural norms that disadvantages women. Oxfam in Tanzania works with wide range of organisations to maximize reach and influence.
Uganda faces numerous social, economic and political challenges that have perpetuated poverty and extreme inequality particularly among women, youths and pastoralists. Inequities in land ownership and access are possibly one of the most common injustices that have persisted in Uganda since the pre-colonial times. The lack of tenure security must be immediately addressed if Uganda is to achieve its development goals under the National Development Plan II and most of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Oxfam is working in Uganda together with partners to address the drivers of extreme inequality and injustice such as Land. The Oxfam Country Strategy (OCS) recognizes the centrality of land in addressing some of these issues and as such, treats land as a cross-cutting issue. The OCS is further buttressed by a Land Rights Strategy which supports the mainstreaming of land rights in our work.
Oxfam’s Land Programme seeks to support effective implementation of land laws and policies; create and/or facilitate existing spaces for dialogue and networking; and conduct and disseminate research findings on land rights issues in Uganda. Oxfam also supports budget advocacy for the Lands Sector in Uganda. At the core of our work is promotion of women’s land rights which is one of the key issues in the country.
Located in Southern Africa, Zambia is a land-locked country with a population of 13.4 million, 64% of the population living below the poverty line. Zambia is considered as one of the least equal societies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Added to this is the outdated land policy and the slow, if not the lack of, implementation of the 2015 National Policy on Resettlement and poor practices of just compensation.
Oxfam has scored some wins on the inclusion of specific chapters (and objectives) on FPIC gender in the final draft land policy. Oxfam also works on protecting the land rights of communities, especially women and youth, in the wake of large land-scale investments using cases from rural communities and increasing transparency of land administration. For example, Oxfam has developed and piloted a tool for the enhancement of community engagement in large-scale land based investments with a focus on gender.
Oxfam supports approximately 7 partners working on improving land rights in Zambia, and regularly advocates with district land and women’s assemblies.