By Elena Davert
In celebration of International Day of Rural Women last week, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) partnered with the World Bank and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to host a seminar on gender and land acquisition in rural agricultural communities. The seminar featured a study led by Cheryl Doss at Yale University that investigated property rights for women in Eastern and Central Uganda.
Overall, the results of suggest that additional research needs to look beyond declared “household ownership” of land and investigate the different rights that men and women actually exercise. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)
During the seminar, Allan Bomuhangi, a visiting research assistant with Yale, and Ruth Meinzen-Dick, an IFPRI Senior Research fellow, discussed the importance of research on poverty, productivity and equity in rural communities. They emphasized the importance of agricultural empowerment of women, which is often dependent on secure access to land.
The researchers used the study to achieve three main goals:
- Identify the mechanisms – both formal and informal – through which women can obtain land;
- Assess the various models of ownership and their associated rights;
- and identify how property rights vary from district to district.
Through a combination of surveys, household interviews, and focus groups, the researchers connected with households from 7 villages in the districts of Luwero and Kapchorwa. Interviews with people from these two very distinct districts shed light on the many different types of land ownership that have developed over the years. In addition to inheritance, individual ownership, and joint ownership, other land-use trends include renting agreements, land leases, and a variety of informal methods of land access, such as community land use and squatting. It took a series of cross-checking questions to determine which of these agreements were used in each household because many individuals were unclear about the type of land-use agreement they actually had. (more…)