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  • Adrine Atwiine

Amplifying Voices of Women Small scale Farmers: Local Leaders Pledge to Support on Settling Land Wrangles


The issue of women's land rights remains a pervasive challenge in Nebbi district, perpetuated by factors such as limited access to accurate information, inadequate platforms for recourse, and entrenched cultural norms that restrict women from owning, accessing, and utilizing land. In Uganda, despite constitutional provisions and efforts by the Ministry of Lands Housing and Urban Development, significant barriers still impede women's equal rights to land ownership and control.


According to the Alur culture. Land rights tend to be held by men, and women can only utilize Land mainly through a male relative, usually a father or a husband hence portraying discrimination against women when it comes to land ownership. According to Biwaga Aliethi, 44 years, a mother of seven living in Erussi sub-county, Nebbi district, her husband's conviction by court over murder-related charges in 2008 left her solely responsible for their children. In order to meet their needs, Aliethi, depended on the small piece of land that belonged to her and the husband. But, just a year after her husband's conviction, the in-laws ganged up and grabbed the land. More so, even where they are involved, women are routinely obliged to handover proceeds of any sales of agricultural produce to men and have little say over how the money is spent.


Recognizing the urgency of addressing more of such issues in Nebbi district, ESAFF Uganda spearheaded the inaugural Land Rights camp in Erusi Sub-county, Nebbi District. The Land Rights Camp provided a crucial platform for women small-scale farmers to access vital information, seek legal guidance, and voice their grievances in pursuit of justice. The significance of this initiative was underscored by the participation of numerous women who shared their personal experiences and challenges faced in asserting their land rights.


During the camp, poignant narratives emerged from women small-scale farmers, revealing not only their own struggles but also the profound impact on their children and broader communities. It became evident that the denial of women's land rights not only undermines their individual well-being but also perpetuates cycles of poverty and vulnerability for future generations. During this camp, two women small-scale farmers shared their plight in attaining their land rights, luckily enough for these women, the Nebbi Resident District commissioner took on these two ladies cases and committed to support them gain their land rights hence justifying the fact that women small scale farmers need such platforms to speak out and be heard.


Arombo Roseline a small scale farmer in Erusi sub-county narrated how the father of her children had refused to provide for the children and that he also restricted her from accessing the family land after he married a second woman. “Now I don’t have where to farm from to fend for the children, I invested my energy on that land for over 30 years and now I am homeless with my children”- Arombo added


 “I bought land and the children of the land seller started laying claims over the land, they want to chase me out of the community with my children yet I have nowhere to go. I struggled to acquire this land even when my own father wasn’t supportive of a woman owning land and now everyone is turning against me, it’s so painful I sacrificed my youth years for this land.”-Opormaho Rose, small-scale farmer, Erusi sub-county.


By prioritizing the empowerment of women through equitable land ownership and control, societies can unlock their full potential for sustainable development and inclusive prosperity. Moving forward, concerted efforts are needed from government institutions, civil society organizations, cultural leaders and community stakeholders to enact comprehensive reforms that dismantle systemic barriers to women's land rights. This includes enhancing legal frameworks, expanding access to legal aid services, promoting gender-responsive land policies, and fostering access to information and community dialogue to challenge discriminatory norms and practices.


In harnessing the collective power of women's voices and advocating for meaningful change, we can pave the way for a more just and equitable society where every woman has the opportunity to thrive and contribute to the prosperity of her community. By investing in women's land rights, we invest in a future where gender equality is not just a distant aspiration but a lived reality for all.


 

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