In Burkina Faso: 225 women gain access to land

Saydou Koudougou
Tuesday, February 27, 2018

In a general assembly chaired by the Mayor of Satiri, women and farm managers register their land agreements in a collective document on February 20th.

"Women, whether migrant or indigenous, are the most affected by the lack of sustainable access to land," concludes a recommendation of participatory action research entitled: "Gender, land and sustainable land management in Burkina Faso" Faso: Case Study of the Bouere and Tiarako Villages" Disclosed in November 2017.

Published by the Land Research and Action Group (GRAF), a member of ILC and its partner, the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), a German institute, the study adds to many sensitisation efforts and several negotiation sessions to help 225 women access plots of land ceded by 125 farm owners in the village of Tiarako, located about 45km north-east of Bobo-Dioulasso in the rural district of Satiri .

Degraded lands

According to the National Partnership Programme for Sustainable Land Management, 34% of arable land in Burkina Faso is degraded. Since 2007, Burkina Faso has been engaged in a new land policy in rural areas, and the law on rural land tenure adopted in 2009 offers a good instrument for the recognition of legitimate customary land rights and the land security of vulnerable groups such as women and young people and breeders. But without the institutional conditions of application, this law does not exist in all councils.

With this in mind, GRAF and its partner engaged in participatory action research in the village of Tiarako with a dual purpose:

  1. To co-develop with local actors (women, their husbands, village customary authorities, landowners, communal actors) and state technical services, innovative alternatives to land tenure security for women, without however being in contradiction with the land legislation in force;
  2. To enable women's secure access to land in the villages of action research.

Participatory action research

As part of the project " Soil protection and rehabilitation for food security " (ProSol) funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) as part of its "One World Without Hunger" initiative, implemented by GIZ – the German Agency for International Cooperation, GRAF in collaboration with IASS launched the project in 2015.

 GRAF and IASS first began with a baseline study on sustainable land management (SLM) projects or programmes with a SLM component implemented over the last 25 years in the Prosol area (provinces of Tuy and Houet in the west of the country) and in Ioba province in the southwest. The results of this first study and the workshops that followed led to a more specific study focused on the link between land tenure patterns of disadvantaged groups, including women, youth, migrants and transhumant indigenous herders and the adoption of SLM technologies in the villages of Bouéré (Houndé council) and Tiarako (Satiri council).

The results of this second study and the workshops that accompanied it reinforced the conviction that the lack of secure access of disadvantaged groups to land is one of the main factors in the low adoption of SLM technologies by disadvantaged groups. In addition to land issues, however, there is a multitude of other factors such as poor access to management, credit, inputs and agricultural equipment and the low technical mastery of SLM measures. Awareness raising and support towards women by GRAF researchers for negotiations led to the ceding of plots of land by 152 farm owners to 225 women in the village of Tiarako. The same approach will be taken in early March in Bouere, the village where the study on gender, land and sustainable land management were conducted.

Next steps

The next step will be to support women in the development of the lands they have been given (production) and to connect them to the market to improve their living conditions and those of their families.
The results of this action research show that with limited resources, we can produce great results in women's access to land, in the realization of their right of access to the factors of production and in the promotion of their social and economic status and in building inclusive land governance for a more just world.

GRAF is also a pioneer in this type of pilot action. This action research was informed by a first experience of land tenure security for women in the rural commune of Cassou (southern Burkina Faso). Implemented between 2011 and 2014, this project enabled 53 women to benefit from permanent land transfers (donated by men) with the Land Possession Certificate (APFR), that is to say, recognition of customary property rights which confer on their holders permanent and transferable rights of enjoyment recognized by law.

Mr Saydou Koudougou is the Executive Secretary of GRAF

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the position of ILC Africa.