Women in rural areas are still ignorant of their land rights, according to a survey.
Preliminary findings of the survey done by civil society organisations were released yesterday at a national research agenda workshop in Kigali.
The survey looked at gender legal rights to land, grassroots mediation effectiveness on land disputes, land tenure reform and revenues and assessment of citizen’s knowledge on land related laws.
Dr Charity Wibabara who is conducting research for the Institute for Legal Practice and Development (ILPD) on gender legal rights to land, said the survey is being done in five pilot districts, including Rubavu, Bugesera, Huye, Gicumbi and Kicukiro.
The survey shows that women are still discriminated against when it comes to land ownership.
“Our preliminary findings through the focus groups indicate that awareness on land law is still low. We still have men who are reluctant to share with women in disregard of existing laws,” she said.
The findings also show that girls do not get equal share in case of property inheritance.
The survey, done under Usaid Land Project, however, shows that in urban centres, people are more aware of their land rights.
Meanwhile, another study by Rwanda Initiative for Sustainable Development on mediation effectiveness carried out in two sample districts on solving land disputes, ranks Abunzi the first at 87 per cent, family and neighbours at 82 per cent, local leaders at 75 per cent, civil societies and religious at 65 per cent.
The study recommends that other entities such as parents’ forum (Akagoroba k’ababyeyi, Inteko y’abaturage among others) also be used in mediation for social cohesion
Peter A. Malnak, the Usaid Mission Director, said the findings call for media engagement and civil society to enlighten more citizens on land rights.
Nearly 80 per cent of Rwandans depend on agriculture.
“So to address current and future related disputes, the Land Project will train local institutions to generate quality evidence-based research on land related issues that can be used to understand the laws, policy and legal judgments on land issues”, Malnak added.
Dr Emmanuel Nkurunziza, the Director General of Rwanda Natural Resources Authority, said the research findings would inform policy makers for sustainable land management.