The challenges faced by rural women in order to own land

Case study of Nitlapan and Trocaire-ADDAC in Matagalpa, Nicaragua

Main messages

  • Although agrarian reform policies have been implemented in Nicaragua, rural women have been sidelined and their claims for land are still pertinent today. 
  • The Nitlapan Research and Development Institute and the Association for Community Agriculture Development and Diversification (ADDAC Asociación para la Diversificación y el Desarrollo Agrícola Comunal) offer credits for purchasing land combined with other complementary support, such as strategies for overcoming poverty for families with little or no land.
  • Although Nitlapan and ADDAC share the same commitment to support poor and vulnerable families, they differ in their approach. Nitlapan focuses on providing individualised care for landless  women, while ADDAC focuses on families. Each approach has led to some unexpected results.
  • In the case of Nitlapan, the individualised care offered to women has indirectly led to their husbands shirking their shared responsibility. Without the support of their husbands, these women face further difficulties for cultivating the land, paying their debts and making progress. 
  • ADDA’s approach is based on the joint ownership of land and tends to conceal existing power relations in households, possibly leading to the acceptance that women are historically subordinate to men due to the social construction of gender.      
Selmira Flores, Carmen Collado, Lilliam Flores