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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Women's land rights in the context of the land tenure reform in Rwanda - the experiences of policy implementers
Authors:Bayisenge, JeannetteISNI
Höjer, StaffanISNI
Espling, MargaretaISNI
Periodical:Journal of Eastern African Studies (ISSN 1753-1063)
Geographic term:Rwanda
Subjects:land rights
land tenure
land law
women's rights
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/17531055.2014.985496
Abstract:Over the last decade, many international organisations such as the World Bank, the Department for International Development (DFID) and the United States Agency for International Development have expanded their programmes on land tenure reforms in developing countries. Throughout this process, women's exclusion from land ownership has been increasingly questioned and legal reforms have been suggested as one solution. The aim of this paper is to explore and analyse the experiences of implementers of land registration and titling vis-a-vis women's land rights in the Northern Province of Rwanda. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions with administrative staff at different levels involved in the programme. From the implementers' experiences, the findings show that the land certificate does not necessarily guarantee women decision-making over land, but also that women show increased awareness of land issues, which has led to land conflicts involving women. Secondly, the challenges encountered, such as polygamy, inheritance and 'ingaragazi' issues, as well as men's unwillingness to register their marriages, are related to men's customary rights to land and to deeply embedded socio-cultural norms. The implementers' experiences and the encountered challenges during the reform process are framed by the values of a patriarchal society in which the supremacy of men over women is still strong. This leads to a theory/practice dilemma where laws and policies that look good on paper are not necessarily easily implemented and where the intentions of laws are not necessarily logic to the local-level implementers. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]