WOMEN BENEFIT FROM A LEGAL CLICKING TACKLING LAND OWNERSHIP
Participatory Research and Innovation Program (PRIP) is Non-Governmental Organization located in Siaya County in Bondo Sub-county. PRIP works with communities within Siaya county and Kisumu county. Their vision being having a society where the rights of vulnerable persons are appreciated, guaranteed, and protected and also where such persons are accorded the opportunity to live in dignity so they can reach their full potential. The mission of PRIP is To protect and promote the rights and dignity of vulnerable and marginalized women and girls through education, economic strengthening, and advocacy and awareness creation services.
Its thematic areas are women and girls human rights advocacy, education and awerenesss creation, women and girls economic strengthening strategies, promotion of sexual reproductive health rights, health and HIV, climate justice for women and women leadership advocacy.
On 4th December 2022 PRIP carried a legal clinic at Anyuongi Shopping Centre, Bondo Sub-County, Siaya County. This is a legal forum where women/widows with issues with land and property are provided with information on the procedure, legal requirements and information about the land by an advocate. By creating this awareness, they ensure that they Strengthen land dispute resolution structures at the community level. To achieve this PRIP engaged the local administration, land rights champions, and paralegals who help to provide opportunities for resolving disputes. During this training, they ensured that men are in attendance since mostly the obstructions towards land ownership by women come from them.
Due to societal structures, land ownership was mostly by men with women’s sense of ownership was via their husbands or faters. Consititional amendments in Kenya gave women equal rigtt to won land, this however did changes things instantly. Women had a difficult task defending this right with frustration from mostly family members. The lands court cases take years and a are a financial blackhole cause negative implication on women mostly due to limited resources muscle. Such clinics educate women on what is provided for them by the law in terms of legal representation as well as resources they can leverage on.
Resolving land rangles locally reduces the financial implications on both parties. This is one of the objectives of this clinic as well as effective land succession by widows. This can be facilitated by lands offices that can transfer ownership. Widows were identified as the most ,marginalized in this process. Initiatives to offer freee or affprdable representation for those with court cases were set off with an aim of equality and fairness.
“There has been a great shift in the attitude, especially by men toward women owning land within these communities. this has been a great breakthrough for PRIP and even other stakeholders since there are very minimal cases reported about women and girls being exploited when it comes to land inheritance. The community members have moved away from the tradition that hindered girls from coming back to their homes to benefit from their parent's land. Of course, we still have a few people who are still hesitant but with continuous training and creating awareness, we hope that in the future it will be accepted by everyone that widow, women, and girls have their constitutional rights to own land within their communities.” Said on of the PRIP facilitator