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The paradox of gender discrimination in land ownership and women's contribution to poverty reduction in Anglophone Cameroon

Full citation: Fonjong, L., Fombe, L., & Sama-lang, I. (2013). “The paradox of gender discrimination in land ownership and women's contribution to poverty reduction in Anglophone Cameroon.” GeoJournal, 78(3), 575-589. - This study adopted a method of field work involving observations, the use of questionnaires, interviews, and focus group discussions for data collection that was able to capture key issues related to women, culture and land. The sample size of 2,205 participants included 80 % women and 20 % men from all socio-economic, political, demographic and ethnic groups. In addition to this sample, interviews were conducted and focus-group discussions held with key women, human rights NGOs and, traditional and administrative authorities in each of the localities.

The study found that land is an important factor of production for both men and women in predominantly agrarian Cameroon. While the legal framework in Cameroon advocates for equal rights and opportunities to resources, the majority of rural women who are mostly peasant farmers can neither inherit nor own land due to gender discriminatory customary practices. The findings revealed that although women are key players in the struggle against poverty who depend solely on land, they still do not have security of tenure over the land they cultivate. Specifically, land inheritance is one of the areas in which gender discrimination is still prevalent. It is deeply rooted in the socio-cultural practices of both patrilineal and matrilineal societies. In matrilineal communities like Aghen and part of Kom, where inheritance follows the female linage, the sons, and not the daughters of this linage have inheritance rights. Field investigation indicates that men and women are unanimous on the fact that current practices discriminate against women. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Cameroon
Creator:
Fonjong, L., Fombe, L., & Sama-lang, I.
Year:
2013

Enhancing Customary Justice Systems in the Mau Forest, Kenya: Impact Evaluation Report

Full citation: Freudenburg, M., & Santos, F. (2013). “Enhancing Customary Justice Systems in the Mau Forest, Kenya: Impact Evaluation Report.” USAID. - This paper evaluates a project which piloted an approach for improving women’s access to justice, particularly related to women’s land rights, by enhancing the customary justice system in one target area: Ol Pusimoru sub-location, Mau Forest, Kenya. The Justice Project consisted of: (1) delivery of a training curriculum to targeted groups (Chiefs, Elders, women and youth) focused on civic education, legal literacy, rights and responsibilities related to land and forest resources (with special emphasis on rights of women and children), and skill-building; (2) facilitated community conversations with target groups; (3) peer training for targeted groups to share information with others in the community; and (4) public information and education activities to reach the broader community.
The evaluation found improvements in legal awareness, particularly women’s legal knowledge, men’s knowledge of women’s rights, and women’s familiarity with the local justice system and alternative dispute resolution; women’s confidence in both fairness and outcomes if they need to access the local justice system, and procedural and process improvements in local dispute resolution institutions; respect for women’s rights by men in the community; increased access to land by women; improvements in women’s perceptions that they have access to an appropriate forum for dispute resolution; improvements in women’s land rights and tenure security, particularly in men’s expressed intentions to leave equal inheritance to all children, including girls, and women’s confidence in their ability to protect their land rights with support from local institutions; increased perceptions by women of improvements in the promptness and affordability of the local justice system and in Chiefs and Elders’ knowledge of the Constitution. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Kenya
Creator:
Freudenburg, M., & Santos, F.
Year:
2013

On the Edge of the Law: Women's Property Rights and Dispute Resolution in Kisii, Kenya

Full citation: Henrysson, E. and Joireman, S. (2009). “On the Edge of the Law: Women's Property Rights and Dispute Resolution in Kisii, Kenya.” Law Society Review 43(1), 39-60. - This study used interviews and focus groups to explore property disputes and perceptions of formal and customary systems of dispute resolution. The initial interviews were structured and conducted with various groups and individuals.

In Kenya, government efforts at establishing clearly defined property rights and adjudication mechanisms have run up against alternative processes for the adjudication of disputes. This research demonstrates that customary processes may also carry a monetary cost that puts them beyond the means of many citizens. This article compares the costs and processes of the formal and informal methods of property rights adjudication for women in the Kisii region of Kenya. The research results suggest that women have weak property rights overall, they have limited access to formal dispute resolution systems because of costs involved, and even the informal systems of conflict resolution are beyond the means of many citizens.

Attempts to maintain use rights over their land when widowed or divorced are not taken to the land tribunals because of the expense involved. Pursuing the resolution of disputes through the customary system is also prohibitively expensive. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Kenya
Creator:
Henrysson, E. and Joireman, S.
Year:
2009

Gender, social capital and information exchange in rural Uganda

Full citation: Katungi, E., Edmeades, S., and Smale, M. (2008). Gender, social capital and information exchange in rural Uganda. J. Int. Dev., 20: 35–52. - Established social structures, such as grassroots associations, have contributed to efforts at agricultural development in rural areas. By disaggregating the analysis by the gender of the household head, the study provides a detailed assessment of how differences among male and female heads of households influence information diffusion in rural areas. Results support the premise that social capital significantly influences information exchange among rural households, with evidence of gender disparities in the process. Female heads of households appear to be disadvantaged in their access to information related to agricultural technologies. Local associations have a higher effect among female heads of households while social institutions have a higher effect among male heads of households. An important implication from this result for outreach programs is that different forms of social capital may need to be accounted for in development programs. The results provide support for group-based approaches in technology dissemination. Since both male and female heads of household have the same propensity to join associations, this type of social capital should be encouraged. Strategies that promote gender heterogeneous groups may have a greater impact on information diffusion. Formal extension activity in the village stimulates information exchange, particularly among women that head households.

Finally, the direction of information exchange is also of policy relevance. Both informal and formal mechanisms for information dissemination appear to have a significant impact on a two-way information sharing. This warrants support for formal extension programs and community associations as two complementary mechanisms for information diffusion in rural areas. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Uganda
Creator:
Katungi, E., Edmeades, S., and Smale, M.
Year:
2008

Improving Access to Land and Strengthening Women's land rights in Africa

Full citation: Odeny, M. (2013). “Improving Access to Land and Strengthening Women's land rights in Africa.” World Bank. - The need to improve access to land and strengthen women's land rights in Africa has elicited a lot of discussion with women's rights activists arguing for increased access and control over land and other productive resources. The paper examines inter-relations between women’s land rights and socio- economic development, peace and security and environmental sustainability in Africa. It goes on to highlight the impacts of the discrimination against women with regard to access, control and ownership of land and identifies promising practices related to strengthening women’s land rights with possible benchmarks and indicators to track progress made in strengthening women’s land rights in the context of the implementation of the AU Declaration on land. It concludes by providing concrete recommendations on how to further promote dialogue, advocacy, partnerships and capacity development in support of women’s land rights in Africa. This paper is as a result of a study commissioned by AU-ECA-AfDB Land Policy Initiative (LPI) which is implementing a 5- year Strategic Plan and Roadmap to assist member states in the implementation of the AU Declaration on land issues and challenges in Africa, in accordance with the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa in order to achieve socio-economic development, peace and security, and environmental sustainability. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Multiple Countries
Creator:
Odeny, M.
Year:
2013

Institutional Innovations Towards Gender Equity in Agrobiodiversity Management: Collective Action in Kerala, South India

Full citation: Padmanabhan, M.A. (2005). “Institutional Innovations Towards Gender Equity in Agrobiodiversity Management: Collective Action in Kerala, South India.” - This study compares two institutions of collective biodiversity management in Kerala, India. The traditional mechanisms of a scheduled tribe, the Kurichyas, are contrasted with the new institution of the People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR) under the local form of governance, the panchayat. Collective action is analysed for the core variables of reputation, trust and reciprocity. In the tribal institutions, traditional seed exchange rests on reputation and gender complementarities, which are eroded by a diminishing degree of trust and dissolving property rights for women and weakened by failing norms of reciprocity. The new institution of PBR threatens tribal women’s reputations and their knowledge by reducing it to a bureaucratic register, the disembodiment of knowledge into information reduces trust and unpredictable returns diminish reciprocity. A massive public investment in strengthening women’s capabilities for a transformation from conservers and users to advocates, managers and decision-makers regarding biodiversity might halt the loss. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
India
Creator:
Padmanabhan, M.A.
Year:
2005

Learning from a 'paralegals' intervention to support women's property rights in Uganda

Full citation: Patel, P. Douglas, Z., and Farley, K. (2014). “Learning from a ‘paralegals’ intervention to support women’s property rights in Uganda.” ICRW. - This paper analyzes an ICRW and Uganda Land Alliance program to establish and build the capacity of a legal rights worker organization in Luwero District, Uganda. The program aimed to support women’s property rights by training a group of male and female community members to become legal rights workers. Referred to as “paralegals”, these legal rights workers provide legal advice, mediation services, and education about WPR and other property rights issues to people in their communities. It found that targeted sensitization messages help to support the intensity and reach of community education efforts on women’s property rights, that two levels of training and technical support for paralegals have been critical: 1) formal, structured trainings on the law and women’s property rights; and 2) ongoing, more personalized assistance on handling property rights disputes/cases and delivering sensitization messages on women’s property rights, that strengthening relationships with local leaders and institutions — whether with local councilpersons, religious leaders, or law enforcement bodies — is critical for the successful implementation of a community-based legal aid program that aims to strengthen women’s property rights, and that implementing a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system enabled the program to identify challenges and formulate new approaches will help increase its effectiveness. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Uganda
Creator:
Patel, P. Douglas, Z., and Farley, K.
Year:
2014

Land Rights Knowledge and Conservation in Rural Ethiopia: Mind the Gender Gap

Full citation: Quisumbing, A. and Kumar, N. (2014). “Land Rights Knowledge and Conservation in Rural Ethiopia: Mind the Gender Gap.” IFPRI. - This paper examines the community-based land certification effort in Ethiopia, an early successful attempt to implement a cost-effective and transparent land-registration process. It found that while the difference between male- and female-headed households’ proportions of land registered is small, there is a “glaring” gap in men’s and women’s knowledge of land rights and that educating women had significant impact on soil conservation. Using the 2009 round of the Ethiopian Rural Household Survey, the paper examines the medium-term impact of the land registration on investment behavior by households, particularly the adoption of soil conservation techniques and tree planting. The paper suggests that closing the knowledge gap in legal rights is an important step to improving adoption of soil conservation technologies and sustainable farming techniques. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Ethiopia
Creator:
Quisumbing, A. and Kumar, N.
Year:
2014

Is gender an important factor influencing user groups' property rights and forestry governance? Empirical analysis from East Africa and Latin America

Full citation: Sun, Y., Mwangi, E. & Meinzen-Dick, R. (2011). “Is gender an important factor influencing user groups’ property rights and forestry governance? Empirical analysis from East Africa and Latin America.” International Forestry Review, Vol. 13 (2), pp. 205 – 219. - This article explores the effects that gender composition of forest user groups has on property rights and forestry governance, based on data from 290 forest user groups in Kenya, Uganda, Bolivia, and Mexico. It finds that while female-dominated groups tend to have more property rights to trees and bushes, and collect more fuelwood but less timber than do male-dominated or gender-balanced groups, gender-balanced groups participate more in forestry decision-making and are more likely to have exclusive use of forests. Female-dominated groups participate less, sanction less, and exclude less. It’s therefore important to gain better understanding of the dynamics of mixed-gender groups, including the nature and types of cooperation among males and females when determining what kind of group-based intervention to pursue. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Multiple Countries
Creator:
Sun, Y., Mwangi, E. & Meinzen-Dick, R.
Year:
2011

Towards Customary Legal Empowerment in Namibia: Enhancing gender equality in customary justice systems

Full citation: Ubink, J.M. (2011). “Towards Customary Legal Empowerment in Namibia: Enhancing gender equality in customary justice systems.” International Development Law Organisation. - In Namibia, national authorities have made various interventions aimed at enhancing the functioning of customary law and traditional leadership. These efforts include both the creation of institutional linkages as well as community-based activities. One issue has been the position of women under customary law, and especially the fact that widows often have no rights to their deceased husbands’ lands. At a workshop, the traditional leaders present unanimously decided that widows should not be chased from their lands or out of their homes and that they should not be asked to pay again for the land. The president of the country was also a proponent of the change. This research found that this statement led to positive change. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Namibia
Creator:
Ubink, J.M.
Year:
2011

Empowering Widows: An Overview of policies and programmes in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka

Full citation: UN Women. (2014). “Empowering Widows: An Overview of policies and programmes in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.”
- This paper finds that strengthening engagement with civil society in the implementation of government programs results in a more enabling environment for widows to claim services, including land rights. Focus group discussions in India and Nepal showed that widows who were a part of this collaborative effort were more articulate, confident and aware of their rights. This played an important role in helping them claim their entitlements, including land rights. In Sri Lanka, widows have been able to take advantage of government programs for capacity building and skills training due to the partnership between the government and the groups working with widows. In the process, many widows have become agents of change in their community. [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]

Collection Type:
Research Articles
Country:
Multiple Countries, Sri Lanka, Nepal, India
Creator:
UN Women
Year:
2014