500 #Women2Kilimanjaro, 29 Climbers, 22 Countries, 1 Charter demanding Land Rights Now
In their fight for equal land rights, African women have made an epic step up. Between October 10th to 16th, women from across Africa reached the top of Mount Kilimanjaro to shout out a powerful demand: Women’s Land Rights Now! At their return on October 15th, coinciding with the International Day of Rural Women, they were welcomed and celebrated by about 500 other women from 22 African countries.
“I believe the climb to the mountain top was not in vain. It was tough just as our lives have always been tough, but I believe our voices have been hear", Maren Mokotia from Tanzania says.
“I own land in Uganda and my husband is supportive. I hope this does not end with me. We must remove all traditions and laws that prevent women from owning land. It is good for women here to learn that things can be different”, this is the experience of one of the participants, Christine Adongo, which shows how this is not only a women’s fight. And in fact also some men participated to the initiative, such as David Barisa from Tanzania: “There is no reason as to why we are not giving women access and control over land. We hope the leadership in this continent will take this messages with the seriousness it deserves.”
Women arrived at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro with caravans from East, West and Southern Africa for what has been recognized as the largest rural women’s assembly ever seen at the foot of that mountain. They collectively consolidated their charter of demands and handed it over to Ms Ouriatou Danfaka, representative of the African Union Commission Chairperson.
“This charter is just the beginning. We will go back to our communities and governments and demand for legislation as well as implementation”, as explained by another participant, ILC Member Kafui Kuwonu from WILDAF in Cameroon.
The charter consists of 15 demands calling on Governments and decision-makers to take all necessary measures to pursue both de jure and de facto equal rights, enhancing the ability of women to defend their land rights and take equal part in decision-making, and ensuring that control over land and the benefits that are derived thereof are equal between women and men, including the right to inherit tenure rights.
The Kilimanjaro Initiative was supported by a number of organizations, including the International Land Coalition, Actionaid, Oxfam, WILDAF, PLAAS and TGNP Mtandao.
For more information on the initiative, to read more voices from the climbers and learn about the Masai women's story in Kenya please download the below newsletter on:
1 | History: African Rural Women Handover Land demands
2 | Women demand equal / joint ownership of land
3 | Voices of Mountain Climbers
4 | Kenya: Women’s Land Rights charter launched
5 | Kajiado County: Maasai Women stand up for Equal Land Rights
6 | How Maasai Women are cheated and denied land rights
7 | Once Rich, Now the Poorest: Maasai land loss and effect on Women
9 | Why African Women are Marching