BY GARIKAI MAFIRAKUREVA
MASVINGO Centre for Research and Community Development (Macrad) recently conducted a women land rights training in Masvingo Central constituency, and will be moving to Gutu and Bikita.
It is expected to cover the whole province by year end.
The training is mainly attended by chiefs, village heads, councillors and villagers. The training focuses on educating women and men on women land rights in rural and resettlement areas.
According to Ephraim Mtombeni, the programmes manager, participants testified that land was the most important asset for rural folks and was often a family’s primary source of income, food and nutritional security, healthcare, and education.
“Though women play a pivotal role in agricultural production, women’s rights and access to land are often not equal to those of men due to biases in the legal framework and customary law,” Mtombeni said.
“Daughters generally do not inherit rights to customary land like their male counterparts. Women are often coerced into remarrying within the same family to guarantee their inheritance of land occupancy and use rights. In the event of separation, divorce, or death of her husband, women may be left with no rights to the land in their marital community where they have used, depended upon, and improved the land during their marriage,” he said.
Macrad is going to engage the Local Government ministry when designing and implementing land reforms, to consider whether such reforms would correct existing inequalities as land was a crucial resource for poverty reduction, food security and rural development.
The organisation’s main thrust is driven by the fact that men and women do not always enjoy the same rights to land.
In Chitepo area, Chiredzi and in Masvingo Central participants welcomed the reintroduction of the “tseu” concept and men were encouraged to give women pieces of land to plough this rainy season.
Macrad is distributing maize seed to women farmers and those affected by Cyclone Idai in a bid to empower them.