ResourcesSuccess Stories

Nov 25 2015

MARIE’S STORY

Learn How Land Rights Helped a Rwandan Widow

During Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, Marie lost her husband.

But thanks to Landesa’s work in Rwanda, she didn’t lose her land.

Land is critical to survival in Rwanda. Ninety percent of the population earns their livelihoods from agriculture. Without land, there is no shelter, no food, no income.

Without her husband, Marie feared she would be dispossessed of this important asset – land. She would have no way to support herself and her family.

Landesa’s work in Rwanda prevented this.

Landesa recognizes that clouded land ownership and the resultant conflicts over land in Rwanda, one of Africa’s most densely population countries, was one of the contributing factors to the genocide. And we understand that secure land ownership will help create the foundation for the country’s recovery.

Landesa began work in Rwanda in 2003.

First, Landesa helped design and implement a pilot program to title and register land rights in a few Rwandan villages – including Marie’s. The pilot program not only educated Marie and her neighbors about their rights, it created institutions to ensure that Marie and Rwanda’s other widows wouldn’t be dispossessed.

Landesa now continues its work in Rwanda to secure and protect women’s land rights in an effort to ensure that women like Marie can support themselves and their families. Landesa is advising Rwanda’s Ministry of Lands to ensure that both men and women understand the significance of, participate in, and benefit from, the roll out of a national land titling and registration program that is on going.

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