October 15, 2011 marked the second anniversary of the Landesa Center for Women’s Land Rights. Launched in 2009 to unite the global community in support of women’s land rights and to maximize the impact of efforts to help women secure access to land, the Center provides resources and training to connect policymakers, researchers and practitioners around the world. The Center also ensures that women’s land rights remain a prominent part of Landesa’s programs around the world.
In its first two years, the Center’s staff has grown from two to nine, with wide-ranging expertise including legal, monitoring and evaluation, research, information/knowledge management and business management. Key achievements during this period have included:
- Creating a China Gender Program to establish key relationships with Chinese partners working on women’s issues. Current work includes research on women’s rights to forestland and developing a strategy to ensure that women’s names are on land documents. This is a critical time as China is poised to begin documenting and registering the rights of millions of farm families. If these documents do not include women’s names, women will have much weaker rights to household land than their husbands.
- Continuing outreach in India and Sub-Saharan Africa to promote women’s land rights. For example, in northern Uganda, we are working with women to teach them a “visioning process” which will enable them to plan a strategy by which they can secure rights to land and use that land to better their lives.
- Partnering with the Nike Foundation, we are working to ensure that rural adolescent girls have access to appropriate assets, including land, in order to reduce child marriage, reduce trafficking, and increase education.
- Enabling recent JD or LLM graduates in our Women’s Land Rights Fellowship Program the opportunity to learn about development, gender and land tenure issues in order to strengthen women’s land rights.
- Building a robust e-Library database that will house information useful to land tenure and women’s land rights, including legal materials and articles pertaining to women’s land rights. There is currently no widely accessible library that publishes and updates laws specifically related to women’s land rights on a regular basis. We expect to launch the system in fall 2012.
In addition to the programs listed above, the Landesa Center for Women’s Land Rights has been involved in projects dealing with women’s land rights in a number of countries including Kenya, Rwanda, Liberia, and Afghanistan.
For more information about this core aspect of Landesa’s portfolio of work, please visit the Landesa Center for Women’s Land rights website.