Learning Route on “Innovative Tools and Approaches to Secure Women’s Land Rights”
The Learning Route on “Innovative Tools and Approaches to Secure Women’s Land Rights” was organised by the Women’s Land Rights Initiative of the International Land Coalition (ILC) and Procasur in Rwanda and Burundi in February 2014.
A Learning Route is an educational journey built around the experiences of local organisations that are supported to systematise and share their knowledge with others. The 16 participants, or ruteros, in this Route, women and men from civil society organisations (CSOs) and government programmes in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, learnt from the local organisations visited, and from each other.
During a week-long programme of visits and reflection, the ruteros learnt from the Rwanda Women Network (RWN), a national humanitarian NGO dedicated to the promotion and improvement of the socio-economic welfare of women; the Association pour la Paix et les Droits de l’Homme (APDH), a community-based organisation in Burundi promoting peace and human rights through education and capacity-building; and the Programme Transitoire Post-Conflit (PTRPC), an IFAD-supported government programme in Burundi focusing on legal aid and awareness raising.
Participants learnt about the potential for empowerment of women’s solidarity groups, the strategic role played by paralegals, the innovative role of mobile legal clinics in improving access to justice, and the effectiveness of legal competitions to raise the awareness of rights and the procedures of claiming them. A key lesson emerging from the Route was that awareness of rights contributes to legal empowerment, which is particularly important to women in contexts where statutory law and customs diverge on women’s inheritance rights. Another lesson was that addressing or even integrating customary norms into approaches to secure women’s land rights is crucial in contexts where access to formal justice systems is limited. Last but not least, the experience of women involved in activities demonstrated how involving women in community life, as well as in projects and programmes promoting secure land rights, can create a virtuous circle of empowerment.
The Route clearly highlighted that CSOs working at the local and national levels have an incredible amount of knowledge and expertise to share with others, but that they face capacity and resource constraints in doing so. The methodology of the Route supports organisations in making this knowledge available to the ruteros, but also to a wider audience.
For the full report, as well as additional information, including the case studies and interviews with participants, please go to: http://landportal.info/content/learning-route-innovative-tools-and-approaches-securing-womens-land-rights-rwanda-and-burund