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A new blog for IIED on What Women Want to happen when their communities are affected by land deals.

Our work on gender, land and accountability, which looks at large-scale land acquisition processes in sub-Saharan Africa, has highlighted a lack of opportunities for women to be involved in key discussions that affect their livelihoods.

Consultation processes between investors and local communities commonly rely on traditional land governance structures, which are led by men. When it comes to land issues, men are considered to be the official owners of the land, and to represent the wider communities.

These consultations between local communities and investors are crucial as this is when the implications of the changes proposed by investors on land use and livelihoods are discussed. They are the opportunity for the community members to put forward demands and to highlight key needs.

All too often, only men are involved in these discussions, and women’s voices are excluded. This can have long-term and deeply felt impacts on their lives and livelihoods.

 

Read more here.

Sharing a new blog I have been working on for IIED.

(G)ender inequalities in land governance can be seen as the result of women not being involved in local decision-making processes around land. They are also connected to wider gender discrimination in local or cultural practices, and to attitudes in social hierarchies…. it clear how important it is to have a good understanding of the issues at a local level. For projects seeking to improve women’s access to land, exploring these local dynamics is key to addressing root inequalities.

Read the full piece here. 

Sharing a new briefing I have been working on about gender equal land governance.

Discussions around gender equality in land governance in sub-Saharan Africa often highlight the fact that only a small percentage of women own land, and many projects addressing land and gender in the region focus on women’s ability to acquire land. But this framing does not fully convey the breadth of challenges women face in relation to land stewardship, such as involvement in decision making. Based on learning from an event that brought together 28 NGO practitioners and academics from East and West Africa, this briefing suggests that any attempt to tackle gender inequalities in land governance must also take into account local contexts and gender dynamics. Projects must start at a household level, put aside easy assumptions about customary practice, and — perhaps most crucially — ensure that women’s voices are solicited and heard.

Download the full briefing here.

Image Credit to Pablo Patruno

Image Credit to Pablo Patruno

A beautiful photo essay by Paolo Patruno following mothers through the journey of giving birth in Africa and highlighting the difficult reality of this journey.

In Malawi … the words for pregnancy in the local language—’pakati’ and ‘matenda’—translate into ‘between life and death’ and ‘sick’.

While documenting the lives of these mothers, I saw things that shocked me, such as a midwife yelling at a woman in labor to stop crying. I also met nurses and midwives who were heroes, saving the lives of mothers and children on a daily basis, despite strained resources and crowded facilities. I saw that the conditions in which women give birth can vary widely, even within the same community. Many women give birth in facilities without adequate equipment and services, or at home without skilled providers. Some women deliver their babies without access to power or running water.

In particular, women in poor and remote communities, far from the nearest health services, are most at risk. And of these, young women and girls are in the most danger: In many communities girls still marry when very young and contraceptive advice is poor or non-existent.

The death of a mother—an all too common outcome of these conditions—is a human tragedy. Her death endangers the lives of the surviving newborn and young children. Girl children are often pulled from school and required to fill their lost mother’s roles. A mother’s death makes it harder for the family to obtain life’s necessities and escape the crush of poverty. As I’ve traveled throughout Africa over the past ten years, I have seen how important women’s roles are, not just for families, but for entire communities.

Find full essay and images at Birth is A Dream.

 

 

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