What does a land title have to do with carpentry?
A simple piece of paper allowed Rwandan farmer and carpenter Evariste Hagumimana to substantially expand his carpentry business. That paper was a land title. | Photo © Deborah Espinosa
The land title made it possible for Evariste, father of five, to obtain a loan from the bank. And with this loan, he was able to build a carpentry workshop to protect his handy work from the rain. | Photo © Deborah Espinosa
Before Evariste received his land title, he could only “make one chair at a time, make, sell, make, sell.” His customers had a significant wait before he could fulfill their order. But now he can make eight chairs at a time. | Photo © Deborah Espinosa
Also with his land title, Evariste was able to afford electricity, which allows his young children to complete their school work after the sun goes down. It also offers a cost savings to Evariste. Fuel for lanterns is expensive, and electricity, after the initial hookup fees are paid, is much cheaper. | Photo © Deborah Espinosa
Although Evariste’s family has tilled the same land for generations, like many farmers across Africa, they never had a title, or any way to defend that land, until the Government of Rwanda’s land titling program in his area in 2008. | Photo © Deborah Espinosa
Historically, land pressure has been a huge problem in Rwanda, where a majority of the population relies on agriculture to survive. And the country is the most densely populated country in Africa. | Photo © Deborah Espinosa
Landesa has worked in Rwanda for almost a decade to help the government pilot a land titling program, improve the country’s conflict resolution institutions, and strengthen land rights – particularly for women – to help prevent future conflicts. This work is aimed at helping farmers like Evariste improve their harvests and make the most of their land. Besides his carpentry work, Evariste grows beans, potatoes, sugar cane, bananas, and maize. | Photo © Deborah Espinosa