With support of a grant from Resource Equity, Green Scenery on Wednesday the 21st July 2021, launched its Research report on : “Women’s access to Land in the Northern part of Sierra Leone Port Loko District Security in Sierra Leone?”
The project provided women with farming materials, provided training on tenure rights, and established village land committees with by-laws to protect women’s land rights and ensure their participation in decision making. The project also demarcated and recorded the boundaries of family land.
A presentation was done by the Executive Director Joseph Rahall explaining the need for the research. Elisa Scalise, managing director of Resource Equity looked at women’s and customary right in Sierra Leone and thanks the research team for the work done. The researcher Yannick Wild analyzed the FAO project promoting women’s customary land right as a pilot project in 2018 to give support to women’s livelihood but also to implement the voluntary guidelines to Tenure of Land, Fishing and Forest in sierra Leone.
Wild explained that the research found out that beneficiaries of the project perceived a drastic reduction of conflicts thanks to the mapping and the creation of land committees. He further argued that women’s tenure rights were more secure as the practices of woman inheritance or sending a woman back to her biological family had stopped in the communities observed.
He nonetheless said that gendered division of labour within households, such as cutting or planting trees, continues to keep women away from their legitimate claims to the lands they access.
The country representative FAO Dr Nyabenyi Tipo, in her address said the tenure system in Sierra Leone is risky because of the tension of land issue in the country. She added that a lot has been achieved in the area of land policy in the country and that they hope to see more, adding that it can eradicate poverty and ensure food security for sustainable development.
See the publication of the Awoko newspaper on the event
Read the research
Full Statement by the FAO country representative, Dr. Nyabenyi Tipo making the following statement:
Mr Chairman, Ladies and gentlemen I greet you all. I am honoured and delighted to be the guest speaker of this event.
I want to start by appreciating Green Scenery and all the other Civil Society Organizations for their contribution in the Land reform sector in Sierra Leone. Most of your research and publications has contributed greatly to creating awareness about the discriminatory practices against women access, control and ownership of Land. Discrimination against women access and ownership of Land has been a serious problem in our societies and many women had suffered due to common opinion that women do not have the right to own and control land.
Although, there are many Laws and Policies, which are now in place to protect women land rights many women are still suffering in silent because they are not aware of such policies and laws. Therefore, we appreciate the role of Civil Society Organizations, especially when they work in synergy with other partners to ensure that rural women are aware of the laws and policies that protect their rights to access, own and control Land.
We are all aware that the tenure system is increasingly facing stress and tension as the Sierra Leone growing population requires food security, and as environmental degradation and climate change, reduce the availability of land, fisheries and forests. Furthermore, inadequate and insecure tenure rights increase vulnerability, hunger and poverty, and can lead to conflict and environmental degradation when competing users fight for control of these resources.
The governance of tenure is a crucial element in determining if and how people, communities and others are able to acquire rights, and associated duties, to use and control land, fisheries and forests. Many tenure problems arise because of weak governance, and attempts to address tenure problems are affected by the quality of governance. Weak governance adversely affects social stability, sustainable use of the environment, investment and economic growth. Therefore, research of this nature that inform policy makers and government the issues surrounding Women Customary Land Right is in timely
To support tenure security, in May 2012, the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) endorsed the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT) and all Member States made a strong commitment to implement them.
The responsible governance of tenure conversely promotes sustainable social and economic development that can help eradicate poverty and food insecurity, and encourages responsible investment which contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 2,
Mr. Chairman distinguish ladies, and gentlemen. One of the outcome of this project by including 50% of women in the village area land committee is a great achievement, as mentioned by the presenter if the two bills are enacted, these gains will be concretized. Women are the food producers, women are the care givers, their access to land should be upheld, promoted, supported by laws. FAO remain committed to continue support the Government of Sierra Leone and Civil Society Organizations to strengthen the Land reform sector in the country. As a custodian of SDG 5.a.2, FAO is working with the ministry of land to establish the baseline for women access to land in the country, and this should help the country to track the achievement of SDG 5.a.2 by 2030.
Finally, on behalf of all the participants, I want to thank Green Scenery for conducting this research work and I want to use this opportunity to officially launch this study for the consumption of the public.
Thank you all for your audience.