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Influencing law and policy for practice change in land governance to enhance security of tenure for women

“The predominance of patriarchy in law, policy, and practice ensures that the land has owners but that they are not women.”  Dr. Patricia Kameri – Mbote – 2008.

Uganda is undergoing major land reforms aided by the recently passed National Land Policy 2013, in which women’s rights to land across the four tenure systems is ingrained. Uganda is now presented with an opportunity to raise the voices of women high on the national agenda on land governance. The inadequacy of the legal system needs to be addressed in the policy development and review processes to ensure that appropriate legal reforms are instituted. Even where the law is adequate, the need to translate it into reality for the women is paramount.

Women’s land rights are Human rights because it is human rights that are the only values on which there is global consensus. Political, economic, cultural and religious traditions vary widely even within Uganda and therefore there is no national consensus on which system is right or wrong. The diversity at national level was felt at the international level and in the process of developing the International Human Rights framework, common elements in these were brought together. One of the central principles human rights law has established is that all human beings, women included, are equal and should not be subjected to discrimination. Once gender equality is understood as a human right it needs no additional justification, and the legitimacy of work to advance gender equality does not depend on proving its usefulness for other purposes such as those of development or economic growth and goes beyond the cultural paradigm.

The understanding here of what counts as equality is substantive equality. It goes beyond the need to have provisions enshrined in the law and policies that ensure equality between men and women simply by the laws being gender neutral, to considering their actual impact and effect on men and women. There is a duty in the State to ensure that all the necessary arrangements are in place that will allow women to actually experience equality in their lives. This therefore translates into the state eliminating discrimination that is perpetrated by private individuals and organizations or communities and that at a point when one’s rights are being infringed, there must be recourse to law.

Strategic Objective 1: By 2022, LANDnet will have significantly influenced the amendment of the succession Act to reflect gender equality on land through succession and inheritance.


  • A complete Succession Act (Amendment) bill ready to be presented to Parliament.
  • Identified and functional stakeholder platforms and strategies for engagements all aimed at influencing Parliament to pass the succession law.
  • Passing of the Succession (Amendment) Bill by the 10th Parliament

Key activities

  1. Technical working Group (including key Government departments, CSOs and academia) meetings to prepare background documents, policy briefs and position papers
  2. Advocacy platforms with parliamentarians through partnership with Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA)
  3. Publish the draft Bill for media advocacy and public consultations
  4. Develop and Publish simple of information, education and communication (IEC) messages to publicize the bill.
  5. Engagements with the Legal Sessional Committee of Parliament in preparation of tabling of the Bill

Strategic Objective 2: By 2022 LANDnet will have supported the gendered retooling of the operational manuals, regulations and standards of land administration that impact on the registration and documentation of land rights for a gendered outcome.


  • Increased documentation of rights to land in the names of women either as individuals, joint holders or within collectives.


  1.  Review Regulations on formation of property and survey to reflect the capture and documentation of gendered information from the onset of the survey process.
  2. Review Regulations on land registration to incorporate gender equality in land registration
  3. Review the operational manuals, guidelines and standards of the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development to mainstream gender in a manner that supports the increase in documentation of women’s land rights.
  4. Influence the Land Information Law to integrate gender fields and report gendered information regarding land holding.