We link the grassroot communities to influence national and regional debate on ESCR of Women
Registered land is owned by women in Uganda today. 70% of the women are engaged in agriculture and surprisingly less than 20% control outputs of their efforts (UNHS 2012/13).
We focus on the increasing global urgency and concerns about the women’s land, housing and property rights. In most societies, women have historically managed and fulfilled the responsibilities of domestic labor, family care, and nutritional security. As the definition of these gender roles and contexts surrounding them become more tenuous (generating both positive and negative impacts on women), the need for women to be able to secure land, housing and property has become even more critical. CESCRA seeks to address the cross-cutting nature of women’s human rights issues. Women’s land and housing rights intersect with other problems such as discriminatory inheritance patterns, development issues, gender-based violence, the appropriation and privatization of communal and indigenous lands as well as gendered control over economic resources and the right to work. The interdependence of women’s human rights highlights the importance of women being able to claim their right to adequate housing and land, in order to lessen the threat of discrimination, different forms of violence, denial of political participation, and other violations of their human rights.
We have strongly built the capacity of 8 women groups at the grassroots in Ngwedo and Kigwera in Buliisa district and Kyangwali and Kabwoya in Kikuube district. They are now empowered with knowledge, are aware and have capacity on women’s land, inheritance and property rights. The women can now engage in oil and gas debates, educate and dialogue with communities and are using drama to tackle negative social norms for transformative change. We have also empowered men as role models to engage fellow men in debates on changing social economic norms that sustain gender inequalities in land, housing, inheritance and property rights.
The men in these groups at individual level have testified to have changed the way they treat women and girls in their households. We have captured testimonies where women have united families conflicting over land, land use and products from land.
CESCRA networks the grassroots women at sub-county and district levels into District Women Action Groups (DWAGs), focusing apparently on Hoima and Buliisa districts, but with a broader strategy of forming the Action Groups into an Albertine Regional Network on Women Land and Property Rights, to including Ntoroko, Masindi, and parts of West Nile that form the oil and gas corridor in Uganda. We have so far been able to establish Hoima Women Action Group on Land, inheritance and Property Rights (HOWAG – LR), and Women Action Group on land rights (BWODA– WAG) under Buliisa Women Development Association, we are now looking at bringing more districts in the region on board. The two district networks brings together over 20 women groups from Kyangwali, Buseruka, Kabaale, Kabwoya, and Kaiso in Hoima district, and Ngwedo, Buliisa and Kigwera sub-counties in Buliisa district, with a total of over 100 women, and a few CSOs from Hoima and Buliisa.
Since 2015, CESCRA has been working on the participation, representation and influence of women in the extractive sector. We have been directly engaging women at the grassroots in the Albertine region specifically in Kyangwali sub-county Hoima district and Ngwedo sub-county in Buliisa, to understand the land conflicts that increased in this region due to oil and gas discovery and activities related to oil exploration and related oil development as roads and a proposed oil refinery. CESCRA identified three problems; women have limited knowledge about their land and property rights; hyped land market has increased drivers of land conflict such as land grabbing, land displacements and forceful eviction in some incidents due to related oil developments; women’s voices have not been fully been considered in related private company and government consultations, negotiations and guided displacements and because of this women have suffered injustices related to unequal compensations in land and landed properties, domestic violence and family conflicts.
We empower women groups at the grassroots to form into formidable community based organizations, build their capacity through capacity building and advocacy trainings especially in Kyangwali and Ngwedo sub-counties in Hoima and Buliisa districts. The women groups CESCRA works with are now using the knowledge and skills gained to influence other women and communities; for example, they have conducted trainings to fellow women groups in communities that CESCRA as an organization do not reach out to. The women groups have conducted community dialogues and sensitizations meetings on women’s land, inheritance and property rights particular issues of ownership, access to and control of land.