Women empowerment on land ownership in Gabon
Agriculture is the mainstay of many economies continentally. With women the majority of the population that engages in agriculture, building their capacity to understand their rights to land increases their confidence in farming activities, contributing to a diversity of foods, improving the nutrition and health of the children, and increasing income from the sale of surplus produce. Rodrigue Mihindou, Administrative and Finance Manager at ONG Muyissi Environment, shares his experience of a capacity-building workshop they held for women in Gabon.
A key question for the workshop was whether women have the same rights as men in Rural Land ownership and governance in Gabon.
The Decree N°257, from the Gabonese Law on Land governance and ownership, presented by a panelist representing the National Agency for Urban planning and Topography works (ANUTTC), clarified that women have the same right to access Land ownership and governance as men in Gabon. A participant from the community asked, is ANUTTC issuing title deeds indiscriminately to all genders? The panelist affirmed that the title deeds are issued to all applicants for the title deeds. He further clarified that a procedure, which is applied to both men and women, must be followed as per Decree N° 257 to get a Land Title. The land title deed secures the Rural Lands for women who have been using it from generation to generation. The land is used for different activities such as farming, conducting traditional and cultural practices besides the family agriculture for food production.
Before this workshop, the particpating community women were ignorant about Land Management and Governance in Gabon. While most of the farmers in the country are women, they didn’t know their rights on land matters. Most young women who participated in this workshop were curious to know about their rights on land matters. Various panelists shed light on policy provisions around land ownership in the country. This activity was an eye opener to the participants whose questions were too many to respond to during the workshop.
After the workshop, the participants were greatful an important event, which shared information on the Rural Land use and the rights of women on land. The workshop raised the awareness amongst women, increasing their knowledge about land ownership. Importantly it further encouraged them to increase their farming activities without fear of losing the land, especially amongst those who had land but feared to lose it to men. Part of take-away from this sensitization workshop, was the commitment to spread the knowledge to other community members and encourage women to apply for the title deeds, especially those who have land but do not have proper documentation. The participants were further encouraged to increase their responsible farming activities on their land to diversify their nutrition, increase food production to realise food sovereignty in the country.
Many stakeholders were invited to participate in this workshop. Among them were : a representative of the National Agency for Urban planning and Topography works (ANUTTC), the Regional Administration of the Forest (RAF), Environnement & Waters in Charge of the Climate (EWCC), the Representative of the Regional Administration of Agriculture Journalistes (RRAAJ) and one of the Mayors from the City Hall of Mouila. These representatives clarified many questions the participants had on land, climate change, environmental conservation, forest management among other matters on land. The participants have asked for another workshop to further sensitize them on forests and management of the forest resources, mitigation of climate change, prevention of logging and other destructive activities within the forest, sustainable food production systems women and governance, among other areas of interest.
The workshop to build capacity on Women’s Rights on Rural Land Governance in Gabon was held was facilitated by the NGO Muyissi Environnement in partnership with the ABN through the SIDA-funded project.
Additional reading materials: