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[IFPRI Gender Methods Seminar] Gender and Collective Lands: Good practices and lessons learned


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Presentation by Elisa Scalise and Renee Giovarelli
Co-founders of Resource Equity

Global awareness of two land tenure issues--the importance of recognizing and promoting land rights for women and the problem of insecure collective land and resource tenure rights--is rising. The importance of managing collectively held land, both for those who use it and for the environment, has grown increasingly clear. In fact, studies have estimated that as much as 65 percent of the world’s land is held under collective tenure—customary, community-based tenure systems. Securing that tenure is important for protecting the rights of those communities, and has been shown to improve resource management.

However, efforts to secure community land tenure, generally through documenting and registering rights, are still new. In particular, to date, the conversation around securing collective rights to land has paid little attention to women’s rights, and the effects of formalizing the rights of the collective on women are not well studied. Focusing on securing collective land and resource rights without considering gender differences within communities has the potential to severely disadvantage women who are very often socially, economically, and politically excluded.

This report on gender issues and best practices in collective land tenure projects seeks to begin filling this gap, by taking a detailed look at how six collective tenure land projects addressed gender differences. The six case studies include projects in China, Ghana, India, Kyrgyzstan, Namibia, and Peru. The case studies are program assessments focusing primarily on how each project approached gender, what the gender-differentiated impacts have been in terms of project participation and benefits, and what lessons can be learned and best practices can be drawn from these projects.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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[IFPRI Gender Methods Seminar] Gender and Collective Lands: Good practices and lessons learned

  2. 2. Choosing Case Studies  Interventions on collective lands that aimed to increase the land tenure security of the community while also addressing gender differences.  Namibia—compared CLRA intervention to non-intervention in an existing customary system  Other criteria considered included diversity in types of land, geographic location, type of implementer, and type of funder.  Limited in number of projects that fit our criteria and were also willing to participate in close analysis of gender dimensions of intervention.
  3. 3. Methodology  Each case study drafted by different author(s)  Desk research covered project documents; legal and contextual framework analysis  Field-based assessment of intervention, conducted over 10- 14 days, usually in coordination with a national expert and the team who implemented the project  Case studies drafted in consultation with local experts, and findings presented to stakeholders in validation workshops  Case studies reviewed by Landesa and RE staff and then peer reviewed by at least one national expert
  4. 4. Six Case Studies Country Type of land Project Aim Author(s) China Grassland Ensuring compensation related to rights to collective held grassland is shared by women Wang Xiaobei (Landesa) Yang Li (Research Center for Rural Economy) Ghana Arable land Improve capacity of Customary Land Secretariats and improve role of women in land governance Amanda Richardson (RE) Reem Gaafar (Formerly Landesa) India Forest land Increase forest dwellers access to and control of forest resources under the Forest Rights Act Amanda Richardson (RE) Kyrgyzstan Pastoral land Increase livestock productivity on community held pastures in context of pasture land reforms. Elisa Scalise (RE) Peru Arable land Increase women’s participation in community land governance Leslie Hannay (RE) Namibia Arable Land (&residentialp lots) Implementation of the Communal Land Reform Act and operationalization of customary system governing communal land. Hirut Girma (Landesa)
  5. 5. China (Alashan League of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region)
  6. 6. Context  Ongoing national government program “subsidies and rewards mechanism for grassland ecological preservation” (2010)  Central policy, subsidies provided to herders’ household based on the amount of grassland. HH decides how funds are allocated  Local policy, provide subsidies to herders’ HH based on number of family members
  7. 7. Ghana
  8. 8. Context  AGRA Land Policy Action Node (2012) implement Land Access and Tenure Security Project in Northern Region  Customary Land Secretariats  landholding rules; land use planning; overlapping claims  dispute resolution; boundaries of the customary land area  simple registries  identify, adjudicate, demarcate and register holdings in the customary area  improve the security of vulnerable (women)  COLANDEF: Community sensitization; capacity building of CLS; ADR for traditional authorities.
  9. 9. India: Facilitating Individual and Community Rights under the FRA 2006 and Strengthening Campaign on Peoples’ Access and Control over Natural Resources in Five Districts of Jharkhand
  10. 10. Context  Naya Sawera Vikas Kendra (NSVK); Local NGO works with communities—Oxfam funded  Jharkhand, new state (2000); Part of Bihar; Approx. 28% of population is “tribal”; 12% “scheduled caste”  Objectives: Increase forest dwellers’ access to and control over forests under FRA (women, tribal, and scheduled caste);Build community based institutions; mass awareness campaigns re: FRA; Address FRA Implementation Gap
  11. 11. Kyrgyzstan: Livestock and Market Development Program (IFAD)
  12. 12. Context  43% Grassland (State Owned)  2009 Pasture Law devolved responsibility to PUU  Customarily men responsible for pastures; women use  Objective: Increase livestock productivity, improved and equitable returns to livestock farmers  Outcome 1: More productive/accessible pastures  Outcome 2: Healthier livestock  Outcome 3: Market partnerships in milk value chain providing incentives for productivity increases
  13. 13. Namibia Enforcement of CLRA 2002 in Oshana Region Operationalize customary system governing communal lands in Kavango East (Shambyu TA).
  14. 14. Context  Oshana Region: Leads implementation of the Communal Land Rights Act that introduced the registration of customary land rights in communal areas; recognizes and consolidates the legal authority of Traditional Authorities to administer communal land while also reinforcing gender responsive customary laws  Kavango region declined to participate in the registration process. Instead, continues to independently administer customary land rights in accordance with its established customary system.
  15. 15. Peru: “Indigenous Quechua and Aymara Peasant Women’s Access to Land Governance in their Communities” (SER)
  16. 16. Context  SER promotes human rights through democratic participation and rural development  Goals: increase women’s use and control of community land and resources increase rural women’s involvement in land tenure governance support rural women’s access to productive resources
  17. 17. What does it mean in practice… To promote and secure collective tenure in a gender-sensitive way?
  18. 18. Two Questions that Always Matter for Collective Tenure Who is a member of the community?  Who decides who is a member?  What rights do members have?  What rights do non-members have?  Can status change between member and outsider? Who has the right to participate in governance or control?  Who has right to govern land used communally?  Can women meaningfully participate in governance?  For communally held land that is used by households?  Can a woman’s rights to land change if marital status does?
  19. 19. Key Gender Issues  social change  women’s empowerment  legal rights  project design  governance  training and knowledge  data collection and use
  20. 20. Social Change/Risks  For women and men to have equitable rights to land, either in the household or community, requires social change  Social change requires focus, time, effort, and community acceptance, and is difficult to achieve without existing relationships within the community
  21. 21. Implementing Organizations  NSVK in India: issue-based committees, run by social workers employed by NSVK; young, literate; bridge between the community and outsiders  Social workers trained in monthly meetings; trained on FRA- -how to prepare claims, how to lead an exercise for mapping land holdings.  SER Peru: already involved in community on democratic participation/rural development  Worked with women/men on governance
  22. 22. Build on Positive Customs  Namibia: (Kavango East) Shambyu Traditional Authority- women well represented at all levels  Women’s representation in leadership not sufficient to change deeply held customs related to women’s rights to land  Non-native women and men--level of scrutiny is higher  Women likely to fall in this category due to patrilocal residence.  Land acquired during marriage--ancestral land, not often allocated to outsiders
  23. 23. What actions might limit these risks?  Seek out and support local partners with existing relationships (land/gender if possible)  Connect local issues and organizations to efforts at the regional and national level  Understand local customs and social norms- -what is the potential benefit or harm of change and to whom—and build on positive customs
  24. 24. Women’s Empowerment/Risks  Women’s low status = impact on decision-making  Raising status takes time; interventions often short-term  Women may not know how to organize to mobilize change  Women may not know how to lead or participate in group meetings  Women may not understand the value of contributing to decisions  Men may not allow for change if they do not understand the need  Men may be suspicious if they are left out of process
  25. 25. Women’s Groups  India/NSVK: Women already organized; savings and income-generating SHG; already frequent meetings  Ghana/COLANDEF: project reached large number of women by working with and training existing groups; Met quota for women’s involvement by targeting women who were part of women’s groups.  China: Women’s group organized for purpose of gaining subsidies for non-use of land; 10 married-out women not allocated grassland under HRS.  Group shared information, provided support; collective action put political pressure on the government to avoid escalation.
  26. 26. Community India NSVK: Men required training; communication Peru SER: women needed “permission” Work with Local leaders
  27. 27. What actions might limit these risks?  Work with existing women’s groups  Women’s groups as part of design  Help women understand value of mobilization  Community leaders give women permission to pursue action  Provide training on group organizing, leadership, participation, etc.
  28. 28. Risks to formalizing collectively held land  Customary law supersedes other laws for women’s equal rights  Membership not defined and excludes married-in women  Local authorities define membership; few women participate  Membership not confer right to manage land/resources  HH rights not protected by family law if land collectively held.
  29. 29. Legal Pluralism  Namibia: customary law that creates conflict may be repealed or modified by Parliament. CLRA recognizes legal authority of TAs to administer communal land; gender responsive process safeguards: independent customary land rights; widows protected; informal marriages; joint titling.  Ghana: intestate succession law exempts stool land from its purview, and states that customary land held in trust in the traditional leadership of stools (80% of Ghana’s land)  Peru: autonomy of local communities trump constitutional protections for women; peasant and native communities self-govern, including land rights; women excluded from inheritance rights and decision-making  China calls for gender equality but devolves authority over governance decisions to village collectives; village collective decisions not subject to appeal
  30. 30. Membership Rights  Women excluded as outsiders  China: woman’s “membership” is not set – depending on how each village defines membership  Kyrgyz Republic: membership defined by residency and thereby includes women who live there, no matter their marital status.  Peru: Membership rules gender neutral; membership in community does not grant right to vote and participate in community decisions; must be a qualified community member; one person per household; no explicit requirement that internal governance includes women; male- dominated community assemblies, favor inheritance to sons rather than widows  Ghana: likelihood of widow retaining rights to marital property depends on age, number of children, and relationship with in-laws.
  31. 31. Collective rights and marital and inheritance rights  Where land is held, used, and managed collectively, intra- household laws do not apply; issue is membership  Marital property and inheritance laws apply only to land that is held and used by the household  India: FRA provided where forest land was under cultivation by HH for period of time, marital property laws apply and joint titling required.  Namibia (Oshana): Need not rely on marital property and inheritance laws to protect interests of women; formalization rules can integrate protection; CLRA defines spouse more broadly than the marital property laws to include customary/unregistered conjugal unions
  32. 32. What actions might limit these risks?  Give TAs rights and responsibility to address women’s exclusion  Know community membership rules; include married-in women  Definition of membership includes all residents  Membership gives right to vote and to manage land  Land used by HH but collectively held, apply family laws to HH
  33. 33. Project Design/Risks  Pre-project assessment of community not consider women as distinct from men  Team does not understand value or importance of women’s land rights; no gender expertise  Project design not take into account women’s marital status  Project staff not identify vulnerable women or how to reach them  Women not have a voice in project design  Only women receive training; men hostile to change because of lack of understanding  Project design unchangeable; not incorporate monitoring
  34. 34. Design Lessons  Hire women staff; obstacles: physical capacity, time, capacity, norms, experience, or interest.  Gender sensitivity training: Staff at NSVK not focused on gender or FRA when they began; Oxfam exposure visits/training. Interviewed staff—very knowledgeable  Target specific women—activities they’re engaged in  Flexible Design
  35. 35. What actions might limit these risks?  Set targets for hiring of female staff; Identify challenges and barriers to employing women  Train project implementers at beginning of project; include gender sensitivity  Hire STTA to work with project gender experts who lack experience; work with men and women  Target women as beneficiaries of project; pre-design assessment to identify target goals;  Build flexibility into design and monitor effectiveness for women  Understand legal framework and adopt legal duty to address inequality of women.  Consider legal changes that provide framework for equality in collective land tenure
  36. 36. Inclusive Governance/Risks  Not treated equally in governance institutions/processes; interests not considered; not participate in decisions that affect land; governing body unaware of value of inclusion  Governance institutions not address women’s ‘double burden’  Community policies, rules, by-laws not challenge gender inequalities  Community/national institutions not accountable on gender equality  Unaware of rules and procedures of governing bodies  Unwilling or uninterested in participating in governing bodies  Lack skills, confidence, experience of speaking in forums
  37. 37. What Actions Might Limit Risks?  Ensure policies, laws, by-laws informed by gender; gender balance in decision-making bodies  Develop accountability for community; go beyond gender targets/quotas  Find means for communicating rules, decisions, information to women  Create space for women and men’s interests to be voiced and heard  Ensure women’s rights are known and appreciated  Ensure dispute resolvers grounded on principles of gender equality  Where line Ministries are represented include Ministry of Gender  Incentivize women in governance; include training, outreach, capacity building
  38. 38. Thank you!