Women’s Land Rights for Inclusive Development and Growth in Africa

In most of the African continent, systemic structures of oppression against women are expressed through land relations. For many African women, access to land is dependent on their relationship with a male family member and is forfeited if the relationship ends. Even when laws and policies include gender equality targets, these tend to fade when it comes to implementation. Lower levels of literacy among women can add to their marginalization. Women earn less and have less access to the administrative and legal systems. In recent years the African Union and other international actors have developed principles and standards explicitly in favour of women’s land rights.  Notable frameworks include the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa (F&G), adopted by the African Union (AU); and the Voluntary Guidelines on Governance of Tenure, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGTs), adopted at the World Committee on Food Security (CFS), the African Land Policy Initiative’s Gender Strategy (LPI-GS) for the operationalization of the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa; the AU’s Guiding Principles on Large-Scale Land-Based Investments (GP-LSLBI); the Protocol to the African Charter on human and people’s right on the rights of women in Africa (the Maputo Protocol) and the AU Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges in Africa among others.

Several African countries reformed their legislation integrating women’s land rights into policy provisions. Civil society and grassroots women’s movements such as the Kilimanjaro Initiative emerged on the continental scene.

Despite all these efforts, women’s stories, truths and aspirations continue to be marginalized or minimalized. Formal structures may shift, without challenging the underlying logics of gender bias on which they are based.

For this reason, the Women’s Land Rights for Inclusive Development and Growth in Africa (WLRIDGA) project was conceived with the specific aim to promote women’s land rights and to empower women and CSOs in the process. With the ultimate goal of gender just land governance, the WLRIDGA project is intended to support evidence-based and transformative advocacy efforts of civil society in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Togo and Tunisia, and at the continental level.


The WLRIDGA project is a 3-year project funded by the European Union, led by the consortium composed of Oxfam International Pan-African program, the University of the Western Cape through the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), and The Plateforme des Organisations Paysannes d’Afrique Centrale (PROPAC) , in partnership with the International Land Coalition Africa.

At the country level, the project is executed in partnership with several CSO organizations: Concertation Nationale des Organisations Paysannes au Cameroun (CNOP-CAM) in Cameroon; Union of Ethiopian Women Charitable Association (UEWCA) in Ethiopia, Kenya Federation of lawyers (FIDA),  Resource Conflict Institute (RECONCILE), Equality Now, Women Empowerment Link (WEL), GROOTS Kenya, Kituo cha Sheria, Daughters of Mumbi, Pamoja Trust, Kenya Land Alliance (KLA) and Lawyers Without Borders (LWYO), Kenya Women Parliamentary Association (KEWOPA) and Civil Society Coalition on Land in Kenya, Women's Legal Resource Centre-WOLREC in Malawi, National Association of Rural Extension (AENA) and Fórum Mulher in Mozambique; Nkuzi Development Association in South Africa, Women in Law & Development in Africa (WILDAF ) in Togo, Union Tunisienne de l’Agriculture et de la Peche (UTAP) in Tunisia.


The aim of this project is better enforcement of women’s land rights in Africa. To hold government accountable on the implementation of policies and laws on Women’s Land Rights, the project conducts studies and sets clear objectives, as well as gathering and disseminating evidence. In doing so, the project strengthens pan-African civil society’s and women leaders to monitor themselves, work in coalition with old and new allies, and enhance effectiveness of their advocacy work.

The project reinforced existing connections with and between CSOs and women’s leaders and facilitated use of the following advocacy and capacity building materials developed by the project: 

The project utilizes various fora to enable CSOs to exchange learning and knowledge. Together with key continental initiatives such as the Kilimanjaro Initiative and Pan African women’s movements WILDGRA project strongly supports women’s land rights cause in the pan-African institutions, and African regional economic commissions. The project also supports influencing efforts of CSOs at country level.

Overall, implementing partners have involved and engaged with up to 3.500 different actors from CSOs, land related government institutions, departments and ministries, international organisations, traditional authorities and media.


Project period: Three years, 2018-2020
Target group: Rural women and national CSOs active on women’s land rights
Location: Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Togo and Tunisia. Continental level activities
Budget: 3 million euros
Financial partners: European Union, International Land Coalition Africa

For more information contact
Benard Moseti Bernard.Moseti@oxfam.org
Barbara Codispoti barbara.codispoti@oxfamnovib.nl


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