Rubavu residents have been urged to abandon customary and traditional practices that have continued to deny women the rights to land ownership as well as inheriting it from parents.
The call was made yesterday in a three-day training workshop conducted by an international NGO, Justice and Democracy, aimed at enlightening women on their rights to land ownership, inheritance and land registration processes.
“This exercise aims at building the capacity for women to protect their rights on land as prescribed by the formal law and decide how land should be used,” said Madina Ndangiza, an official at the NGO.
Twenty four people are undergoing training who would in turn share the acquired knowledge and skills within their respective communities.
“The 1999 law is very clear about women rights to ownership of land as well as inheritance but it’s not respected in some parts, thus living women landless and homeless in case their husbands die,” Ndangiza added.
The advocacy exercise aims at economically empowering women.
Marie Jose Uwacu, the legal assistant at Haguruka, an advocacy organisation for vulnerable citizens encouraged women to abandon the traditional thinking and embrace the justice system that will grant them their rights.
“Women have equal rights as men, to land ownership, inheritance and in deciding how land is used,” Uwacu said.
Beneficiaries, especially women in rural areas, applauded the exercise saying it is timely and helpful as it will protect them from unlawful eviction by their husband’s relatives in case their spouses pass on.
“Previously, we were not considered as lawful co-owners of the land after the death of our husbands; hence our immediate eviction. We hope this exercise will sensitise many people,” said Antoinette Mukarwego, one of the trainees.