Empowering rural women through land rights

Success story - 2023-10-18
In a world where land ownership has long been a symbol of power and economic security, the fight for rural women's land rights continues to gain momentum in Liberia.
4 women have their back against the camera to show the text Empowering Rural Women through Legal and Economic Advocacy for Land Rights written on their purple t-shirts.

The Rural Women Land Rights Conference (RWLRC) marked its 4th edition on September 29th, 2023. The conference was organized around "Empowering Rural Women through Legal and Economic Advocacy for Land Rights." It was a collaborative effort between ForumCiv, the Multi-Actor Platform Liberia, Action Aid Liberia, and other partners. 

The RWLRC, initiated by ForumCiv Liberia in 2020, serves as a crucial national platform where rural women from across Liberia come together to share experiences, network, develop advocacy strategies, and directly engage with those responsible for ensuring their land rights. The conference aims to promote land ownership among rural women and increase their land management and governance participation. In the 2023 conference, more than 15 rural women shared inspiring stories of how they applied the knowledge and skills gained from previous conferences to secure land ownership, benefiting both themselves and others.

Ma Musu is wearing a purple t-shirt and is speaking into a microphone.
Ma Musu, the Head of Rural Women in Bong County.

One particular success story involves Ma Musu, the Head of Rural Women in Bong County. After attending the inaugural RWLRC in 2020, she embarked on an awareness campaign, raising awareness about land rights and advocating for the 2018 Land Rights Act. Her efforts resulted in land recovery for women like Comfort Goll, who regained control of over a hundred acres, including a rubber farm, which she now manages to support her family.

The RWLRC plays a pivotal role in empowering rural women by equipping them with the knowledge and tools needed to assert their land rights and fostering economic independence and self-sufficiency.

The conference participants advocated for several key initiatives

Support for an Alternative Dispute Resolution law: Advocates highlighted the need for a context-sensitive, cost-effective and sustainable way to address land disputes.

Legal representation for rural women: The importance of providing legal support for rural women involved in land ownership conflicts that end up in court.

Promotion of rural-friendly credit mechanisms: Encouraging financial mechanisms, such as the Village Savings and Loan Association, to provide rural women with access to funds for land-related investments.

Incorporating the 2018 Land Rights Act into the national curriculum: Advocating for the inclusion of land rights education in the national curriculum in schools across Liberia.

Recognition and promotion of traditional practices: Acknowledging and supporting traditional practices that safeguard and empower women's land rights.

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