CLEAR Newsletter volume 1 issue 1 Point of Interest:

CLEAR Newsletter volume 1 issue 1
Launching of CLEAR..............................2-3
Point of Interest:
Opening Remarks…………………..……....4
Key Note Speech…………………………....5
CLEAR Defined…………………..…..........6
Picture Speak– CLEAR’s Launching..7-10
Regional Meeting………….………….11-12
Women & Land: A Human Right’s
In the
official opening, Nyaradzai
Gumbonzvanda, Regional Director of
UNIFEM, symbolically referred to
CLEAR as a pregnancy that had been
nurtured and was now born; and
likened the participants to midwives
who are committed in seeing CLEAR
succeed. She laid emphasis on
collective responsibility to assure the
success of this newly born baby.
Editorial Note & Contacts…….…..…….15
See Page 4… Key Note Speech
Launching the Centre for Land, Economy and Rights for Women
The Centre for Land, Economy and Rights of
Women (CLEAR) is registered as a charitable organization committed to setting up a centre of excellence addressing social and economic justice, working with the poor and vulnerable, especially women. CLEAR has a regional
covering Eastern and Southern Africa with country-specific interventions.
The launching of CLEAR on 16th—18th July, 2003 was
greeted with a welcoming reception by an assemblage of
various organizations that were represented—namely, UN
Fund for Women (UNIFEM), Institute of Law and Environmental Law, African Centre for Empowerment, Resource
Conflict Institute (Reconcile), Kenya Land Alliance( KLA),
Mainyoto Pastoralist Development
(MPIDO), Women’s Rights Awareness
(WRAP), KEPAWAE, African Women and Child Feature Service (AWC), IECASD, Widows and Orphans Welfare Association society of Kenya (WOWOSEK), ICW, JFATK, Pastoralists
Organisation Women Empowerment and Rights (POWER),
African Women’s development and Communication Network (FEMNET), Action Aid Kenya (AAK).
The reception was held at Bluepost, Thika, Kenya. It was a
successful and prolific debut in addition to one with edifying information about CLEAR’s commencement. CLEAR
gave her prologue on her aims of how she intends to link
up with others who have similar goals to achieve the best
possible outcome. This launch provided CLEAR
with a point of origin on how the organization proposes
to augment and progress land rights of women.
CLEAR was welcomed into the field of women’s rights
development, and speeches were delivered to this effect.
CLEAR wants to get a strategic pathway right from the
beginning. For this to become a reality a strategic
direction had to be formulated that will guide CLEAR’s
activities in the coming years (See Page 4– 9). The
discussions held were interactive and engaging resulting
in a breakthrough of an apposite strategic plan. The twoday workshop was fruitful given the overwhelming turn
out and response. Overall CLEAR was aided with thriving
ideas giving direction to her development and growth.
This meeting proved a great kick-off for CLEAR, The basic
framework was laid and CLEAR’s niche and constituency
have been clearly identified.
CLEAR’s long term vision is a society where women and
men have equal rights of access, control and ownership
to land, property, natural resources and their benefits.
Her mission is to influence the formulation and implementation of gender sensitive policies, laws and structure on land/property and natural resources in the
Eastern and
Southern African countries. Operation-
ally CLEAR’s niche is on policy analysis, research , advo-
cacy and networking and capacity building with regard
to women’s land/property rights.
The Centre also aims at affiliating with institutions of
higher learning as a centre of research. It will be a onestop shop providing linkages with national and regional
processes addressing women’s livelihoods.
CLEAR’s constituency exists at three levels, specifically
Regional organizations already working on
sues of land and natural resources
NEPAD is now hailed as a major framework for achieving
the continent's development goals. It touches on key areas
such as poverty and prosperity, the new political will of
African leaders and strategies for achieving sustainable
National organizations and individuals focusing on
women’s rights, economy, land and natural resources.
development in the twenty-first century. With majority of
Women at the household level.
tive resource in the region should be top of the agenda for
women living under abject poverty, women’s access to and
ownership of resources, especially land, as a key produceconomic change. CLEAR could explore ways to
prove participation and empowerment of civil society inOpportunities for CLEAR to realise her objective exists
stitutions to engage in, contribute toward and monitor the
within Constitutional Law reform initiatives, covenants,
implementation process of NEPAD.
treaties, and frameworks, such as, Millennium
velopment Goal, World Summit on Sustainable
opment, Habitat Agenda and CEDAW. Partnership can be
Opportunity also exists for CLEAR to link into the Beijing
initiated with UN Agencies, UNIFEM, Habitat, UNEP, UNDP,
+10 Review as a strategy towards lobbying for the Decade
UNECA, FAO, inter-governmental bodies– AU, IGAD, CO-
on Women and Land.
MESA and ECA, the Women’s Land and
Water Rights,
Southern Africa, Academic and Training Institutions, Civil
Society Organisation and Agencies and National Land
CLEAR’s work in the coming years will be anchored on
influencing policy, research, advocacy and networking and
capacity building on women’s land rights.
Participants of CLEAR’s strategic planning at Bluepost Thika
Dr. Akinyi elaborated on the difficulties experienced by women with regard to
access to the title deeds and on natural resource utilization. Title deeds are
handed down from father to son and never, or rarely to daughters. It is assumed
that the woman will be taken care of in her matrimonial home, yet it is a fact that
not all women get married or even in that situation, that they will be bequeathed
land by their husbands. She noted that liberalization of land is creating a worse
situation for the already poor women hence worsening their position. Women are
further disadvantage in that they rely solely on the goodwill of the owner of the
land and in cases of gender violence have nowhere to turn to due to lack of any Lack of women’s right’s to land is linked to risk of household poverty and destitution. Notable differences have
been found in how women and men in poor households
faced with a dilemma because they can only own land after their husbands’ spend incomes under their control: women and men in
deaths’ with certain often quite unreasonable conditions such as widow inheritance poor households spend almost all their incomes on purchasing goods for the family’s general consumption and
even if the cause of death was something as deadly as HIV/AIDS.
for the children, while men usually spend a significant
part of their personal income on personal needs like
tobacco and liquor.
long-term practical solution. Widows much more so in the African Culture are also
K e y
N o t e
R e g i o n a l
S p e e c h
b y
D i r e c t o r ,
N y a r a d z a i
G u m b o n z v a n d a ,
“...bring women to the level
of participating in the core
of the economy and not the
peripheries. “
Africa is on the path of economic independence, a second liberation, with the launch
of NEPAD and the rebirth of the African Union. She challenges:•
CLEAR to put the processes and issues of women’s rights and access to instruments of production on the NEPAD agenda.
CLEAR to advocate for the issue of land as an entitlement for citizens (both women and men) and not as a private issue for women in
their capacities as wives or daughters.
CLEAR to widen her scope to engendering ecotourism and involvement of women in issues of the economy associated with land.
CLEAR to be broad based, addressing the connectivity between women’s involvement in economic issues. This would bring women to
the level of participating in the core of the economy and not the peripheries.
The Regional Director, UNIFEM, further addresses 3 macro issues affecting women across the continent::1) Poverty is increasingly being symbolized by the African woman
2) That 58% of those affected wit HIV/AIDS are women in Sub-Saharan Africa,
3) She recognizes that community based programmes set up to care for those suffering from HIV/AIDS are women based programmes, yet
women are not allowed access to land rights or property particularly when those who own the land (usually men) pass on.
CLEAR should address these issues in her strategy.
particularly those that promise to move country
CLEAR believes in and will always strive for:
Gender balance, equality , equity and sensitivity
Social and economic justice
Solidarity with the poor and vulnerable, especially
Provide and link up with country/regional initiatives
processes forward through lesson learning, capacity
building and providing forums for debate.
Develop capacity for reciprocal learning exchange of
expertise and cooperative analysis
Work with strategic alliances, UN Agencies
(especially UNIFEM, UN-Habitat, UNEP, FAO) and other
Collaborate with initiatives working towards improving
international agencies focusing on land reforms.
women’s livelihood
Facilitate networking supported by strong national
Transparency, accountability and integrity
It aims to develop practical frameworks for national
in working out strategies for addressing women’s
land rights within Africa.
Initiate network activities on land reforms and policies,
Exchange information,
Research collaboration and capacity building for policy
based organisations and researchers.
influence and improve land structures, the
The main agenda for CLEAR is to link up with similar
implementation of gender sensitive land policies and
initiatives to build an enabling environment for the
laws, and the development of learning resources and
execution of gender sensitive land
training programmes with partner organisations.
policies, laws and structures necessary for the eradication of
poverty and promotion of sustainable livelihoods in Africa.
Specifically she will:
Provide technical support to the government, civil
society and other stakeholders in their efforts to
formulation and
Facilitate linkages with governments and civil society
Technically analyse world trends affecting land issues
and the implementation involving governments and civil
Build gender sensitive information systems at all
levels for use by governments, NGOs and community
arrangements, information sharing and cooperation
Develop gender sensitive systems to monitor the
impact of land reform programmes on poverty and
Play an active role in land reform processes in the
livelihoods, economic growth and environmental
sustainability i.e. land redistribution, the formulation
context of poverty reduction debates, especially
of land rights, the nature and performance of land
ensuring that the voice of poor women is heard by
institutions, and the integration of land issues with
providing expertise and capacity building.
wider development and poverty reduction
Participants of the Strategic Plan Workshops held @ Bluepost, Thika, 21st March 2003
Participants of the Strategic Plan Workshops held @ Bluepost, Thika, 21st March 2003
Participants of the Strategic Plan Workshops held @ Bluepost, Thika, 21st March 2003
Participants of the Strategic Plan Workshops held @ Bluepost, Thika, 21st March 2003
CLEAR organised a Consultative Expert Group Meeting in Nairobi, Kenya on 26th – 28th November 2003 at Nairobi
Safari Club. This meeting was attended by: experts, researchers, and academicians’, urban planners, land use
economists, environmentalists, pastoralists, nomadic communities, development planners and women’s land rights
activists from Eastern and Southern Africa.
To develop strategic alliances by CLEAR with similar country/regional initiatives,
To develop joint programmes in Eastern and Southern Africa on women's land rights linking up with wider
economic development and poverty reduction strategies,
And establish strong networks and strategies for information sharing.
Overview of Issues
1. The on-going agrarian reform involving re-distribution of land has been discriminative on women. A large
number of the poorest people, most of whom are women, live in farming households and depend for their
livelihoods and food security on the productive use of land. Competition for land is especially marked in
urban and peri-urban areas where growing numbers of poor people live.
2. Poor people have no choice but to take what land they can through informal or illegal means. Adequate
shelter for all requires the provision of legal security of tenure and equal access to land for all people,
and the ensuring of transparent comprehensive and accessible systems for transferring land rights and
for legal security of tenure. Future slum policies should incorporate security of tenure and enhance
housing rights of the poor, with specific provisions for poor women whose number is increasing by the
day in urban slums.
3. A number of key issues identified for national sustainable development and poverty reduction strategies,
include access to sources of energy at affordable prices, modernisation of agriculture to increase food
production, development of small-scale irrigation schemes in arid and semi-arid areas and the improvement of indigenous technologies, and indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) on farming. For all these types
of land resource, the rights held by the poor are frequently their most fundamental livelihood asset.
Women, in particular, through their management and use of natural resources provide sustenance to
their families and communities as consumers, producers, caretakers of their families and educators.
The security and quality of these rights directly affect land use which means that weaker rights may
discourage investment and lead to unsustainable use and if people have uncertain rights to their land,
they have little incentive to invest in or conserve it. Often it is the poor who have to intensify use of
their diminishing land. For the very poor, the majority whom are women, even short-term tenure
Continued,’Regional Meeting: “Addressing Women’s Livelihoods and their Land Rights through Gender Equality”
improvements can be a great advantage.
4. NEPAD aims at promoting women’s social and economic development by ensuring their participation in
the political and economic life of African countries, giving special attention to the reduction of poverty
amongst women, and improving the productivity of farmers, with particular attention to women farmers.
With majority of women living under abject poverty, women’s access to and ownership of resources,
especially land as a key productive resource in the region should be top of the agenda for economic
5. Women and children often constitute a higher percentage of refugees, and other displaced persons,
including internally displaced persons. During times of conflict, and the collapse of communities, the role
of women is crucial. Conflicts associated with deep and unresolved historical and inter-ethnic
inequalities in land distribution, refugees/returnees require special attention and especially how these
are affecting women and their livelihoods.
6. HIV/AIDS directly affects land rights, notably in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa. The land rights of
widows and orphans tend to be lost where land is registered in a man’s name, or is inherited through the
male line. Land policies and laws must be modified to protect the rights of HIV/AIDS widows and
7. The Centre for Land Economy and Rights of Women (CLEAR) shares the concern on the importance of a
greater understanding of the linkages between land and food security, natural resource management,
land and property rights, economic growth, inequality, poverty, peace, security and sustainability and the
need to formulate policies with a common denominator to all the above identified issues in addressing
livelihoods through gender equality.
Subsequent to the meeting, CLEAR co-ordinates its work within the region involving information
sharing, and strategising forward planning. This meeting saw the emergence of an active and credible
network on women's land rights in Eastern and Southern Africa. Ultimately, the realisation for full-fledged
programmes to be implemented at all levels- community, national and regional, addressing women's land
rights materialized. In due course an inventory of national, sub-regional stakeholders, resources and
experts working on women's land rights within the two regions will be developed.
(Full text available at
Feature Article:
Land is the most central issue that affects Kenyan politics, society and the economy at
large. At the heart of the land question is the need to ensure equitable access and tenure
rights to Kenyans.
Women constitute 52% of the country’s population and contribute over 70% of agricultural
labour. The problems facing women’s rights in land range from historical transformation of
customary land tenure systems from the colonial to the present period. By and large the
land reform processes, land distribution to the landless, re-settlement schemes and
registration of titles have tended to leave women out as bureaucrats are generally gender
blind, for this reason the land adjudicators, land committees, land arbitrators, and land
boards are almost always men. Furthermore, the Land Tenure Policy provides for
registration of land title deeds in the name of the head of the family- such heads are
frequently men. The setback is that titled land is being transferred almost exclusively to
male individuals- husbands, grandfathers, fathers or sons- without provisions of how
women’s access rights are to be identified.
Despite the land laws that allow anybody to own land regardless of sex, only 5% of women
own land in Kenya. Women’s limited economic resources and also lack of decision-making
power in the household make it impossible for them to acquire land. Women’s rights to land
continue to be determined by their marital status, by the laws of inheritance and divorce
and by institutions that are themselves deeply embedded within local perception that
women cannot own land.
Overall Opportunities exists in review of the Constitutions, the National Land Commission to
be established and the proposed formulation of the National Land Policy
The advancement of women and the realization of equality between women and men are a
matter of human rights and a condition for social justice. Empowerment of women and
equality between women and men are the prerequisites for achieving political, social,
economic, cultural and environmental security among all peoples. Women's poverty is directly
related to the absence of economic opportunities and autonomy, lack of access to economic
resources, including credit and land ownership.
Continued, ‘Women & Land: Human Right’s Perspective’
The national and international non-governmental organisations and women's groups are
called upon to mobilise to protect women's rights to the full for equal access to economic
resources, including the right to inheritance and the ownership of land and other property,
credit, natural resources and appropriate technology. Discussion of international human
rights includes an agreement that economic or subsistence rights are as important as civil
and political rights.
The Platform for Action reaffirms that all human rights-civil, cultural, economic, political and
social, including the right to development- are universal, indivisible, interdependent,
interrelated and that the human rights of women and the girl-child are an integral part of
universal rights (United Nations, 1996:122 paragraph 213).
Notably, the changing gender relations in land rights fall within the human rights paradigm.
The UN Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination against women includes among
others, the right to equality of men and women in the family and equal rights regarding
property and inheritance. The International Conference on Population and Development
reaffirms women's reproductive rights and the right to development.
If human rights include all people by the virtue of their humanity, they must include women
as well as men. As the culturally approved view of women's roles are changing as social
structures change, women's rights must be protected in law and practice, particularly when
real constraints on human rights are hindered by differential access to material resources
between women and men.
Editorial Note
This is CLEAR’s official first Newsletter. In the consequent years we
will issue four copies per year, each covering a three-month quarter. The
aim of these Newsletters will be to inform and bring up to date on
CLEAR’s work and progress. The Newsletters also help us put down
our developments and make aware of any events and issues within
CLEAR’s scope. We will keep it as comprehensive as possible. In
future we will reserve this page for any issues relevant to CLEAR’s
functions, that any organisation or individual would like to publicize or
bring to the notice of CLEAR’s network. We will accept
advertisements, all forms of art and official write ups relevant to
CLEAR’s objectives. To communicate ideas and comments on the
newsletters, please write to us.
The Newsletters will be available on our website too!
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Email us on [email protected]
Compiled and Edited by Linda Mbatha,
Assisted by Jeanette Ngatia
Mpaka Plaza 2nd Floor, Mpaka Rd. ,Westlands Nairobi , Kenya,
P. O. Box 00100—48974