Women's Land Rights Conference 2011

The third Pan African Conference focusing on Women's Land Rights "Advancing the Right to Land and Justice for Women in Africa" has once again given women's rights activitsts, policy makers, military and law enforcement personnel, the academia and other groups an opportunity to re-examine the impact of the efforts to put the women's rights agenda at the forefront, specifically on issues of land.

Held in Nairobi, Kenya from 30th May to the 2nd of July, the conference attracted more than 160 participants from across the African continent. 

Wednesday, 1st June 2011

Excursion à Nanyuki, Mercredi le 1 Juin

La conférence sur les droits des femmes à la terre n'a pas seulement été l'objet de travaux en ateliers et de séances plénières, trois sessions de travail sur le terrain ont été organisées sur le terrain dont celle réalisés avec la communauté du village de Ngénia dans la zone de Nanyuki.

Les participants sur la route de Nanyuki (photo: Awa)

Après avoir traversé un beau paysage sur un relief accidenté sur lequel gravitent des cultures en escalier et une végétation luxuriante composée d'une flore très diversifiés allant des mimosacées, aux graminées et cypéracées, et des cultures très variés allant des plantations de cafés de d'ananas de patates douces de pommes de terre, de maïs bananes pour ne citer que celle-ci, après quatre heures 30 minutes de routes nous voici, une vingtaine de participants, arrivés à Nanyki dans le centre est de la vallée du Rift au nord ouest du Mont Kenya, le long de la route A2.

Un accueil chaleureux nous y était réservé. Ce fut d'abord un garçon et une fille tous deux orphelins qui nous reçurent avec un chanson de bienvenu très choral, puis les femmes avec un rythmes de danse très parlant. Nous sommes devant une communauté WDG « Watch dog Group » (groupe de surveillance) qui accueille des femmes vivant avec le VIH dont la majeure parti est composée de veuves déshéritées suite au décès de leurs époux ainsi que les orphelins du SIDA (des enfants rendus orphelins par le SIDA). Les appuies alloués à ses victimes sont : Le renforcement des soins des femmes à domiciles ainsi que leur intégration, dans la société d'accueil par l'octroie de lopin de terre pour cultiver et d'abris construits dans le volontariat a travers la participation physique pour certain volontaire, financière et matérielle pour d'autres.

Avec les orphelins l'appui consiste surtout la prise en charge de leur scolarité et de leu nourriture après les avoir logés. Ainsi, grâce aux conseils et aux sensibilisations faites par les programmes humanitaires, les chefs coutumiers du village enregistrent les événements comme les naissances, les décès et recense le foncier pour toute la communauté avec un objectif noble de rendre les droits des femmes suite aux décès de leurs maris.

L'excursion effectuée à Nanyuki a été riche et instructive. Celles-ci ont été l'occasion de rencontre de partage avec les communautés des PVVIH, et les ouvres humanitaires réalisées envers ses personnes ainsi que les défis des ces WDG et la solidarité le volontariat qui caractérisent cette communauté soutenue par des programmes humanitaires comme GROOTS KENYA et l'Etat.

Awa Diop Fall, ACORD Sahel I


OXFAM Holds Pan African Launch of its global 'GROW' Campaign

As part of the African Women's Land Rights Conference there was on the evening of 1st June a launch of Oxfam's new GROW campaign. This is a campaign for ‘food justice in a resource constrained world' aiming to ensure that everyone on the planet has enough to eat always. Irungu Houghton the Oxfam Pan Africa Director who was master of ceremonies initiated in Kiswahili what became the slogan for the evening: "Chakula, haki yetu (food, our right)! Maisha, haki yetu (Life, our right)! Sayari, Haki yetu (Planet, our right)!".

Oxfam Grow campaign logoMarc Wegerif, of Oxfam emphasised that "on this Kenyan Independence Day and more than fifty years after the first African countries where liberated from colonialism we must now ensure we achieve food independence. It cannot be right to so many children are stunted by poor nutrition, it cannot be right that in the Horn of Africa 8million people are depending on food aid. On this independence day let us commit to achieving food independence in Africa." Mary Wandia of Oxfam explained the contribution of women to food security. "If we women farmers are given stronger rights to land and the right kind of investment they can substantial reduce hunger and poverty."

Evelyne Khaemba a women farmer from Western Kenya shared the multitude of challenges that women farmers face from insecure land tenure to lack of access to capital and discrimination in markets. Evelyne is a single mother who grows maize and vegetables as well as sugar cane. She has managed to buy a small piece of land (quarter of a hectares), but has to lease land from male land owners for most of her production. She left the event with the clear call for us all to "join hands to save the woman farmer".

By Marc Wegerif, Oxfam

Tuesday, 31st May 2011

The issues of land grabs, land conflicts and women's fragile rights to land took the centre stage on this cloudy but warm day at the conference venue. Some of the key questions being asked were the following:

  • What are the impacts of large scale land based investments on women's land rights?
  • What are the links between land grabbing and conflict?
  • What needs to be done to protect and advance women's land rights in the face of increasing demand for land for large scale investments?
  • What can we learn from experiences of women's struggles to advance and defend their rights?
  • Women are active agents in the land rights struggles. How well are they faring and what lessons can be learnt from this?

Opening Ceremony, Monday, 30th May

Speech from the Minister of Lands and Housing Hon. James orengo
(read on his behalf by the Assistant Minister, Hon. Gonzi Rai)

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Hon. Gonzi Rai, Assistant Minister in the
Ministry of Lands and Housing, Kenya

It is with gratitude that I wish to record my sincere appreciation to the organisers for inviting me as the Chief Guest tothis conference under the subject of 'African Wome's Land Rights'. You will appreciate the fact that the economies of most countries in Africa are largely dependent on land resources, yet land-related problems have been a big impediment for effective utilisation of these vital resources.

In Kenya, land is critical to economic, social and cultural development of our nation and plays a key role in promotion of the Government effort in eradication of poverty, attainment of gender equality and women empowerment towards achieving of Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Our country's rapid population growth has given rise to high demand for land which has negatively resulted into fragmentation of land resulting to small uneconomic land parcels which have led to enumerable land conflicts. The increased competition for land has not left women behind and has created a big impact on their land rights.
Read the full speech

  • land rights
  • women