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Securing Land Rights and Ending Gender Exclusion Project

Overview

In Uganda, Trócaire partnered with Land Equity Movement of Uganda (LEMU) and Soroti Catholic Diocese Integrated Development Organization (SOCADIDO) to implement the Securing Land Rights and Ending Gender Exclusion Project. This project addressed power imbalances between men and women to prevent and respond to GBV, and improved land tenure and property rights in Uganda.

Summary of impact

28,493

Direct and indirect project beneficiaries

142

People trained on GBV prevention

54%

Of participants are now more aware of GBV through the project

Situational background

In Northeastern Uganda, where land is a source of wealth and power, most people have rights to their land through customary tenure arrangements. Harmful social norms that suggest women cannot own land or widows have no right to stay on marital land after their husband’s death have been used to justify land-grabbing from women. One study indicates that 85% of widows in this area experience land conflicts within the first six months of widowhood, and another found that 58% of female divorcees experienced land conflict. When women seek to assert their land rights, they risk experiencing further psychological, emotional, or physical violence. The adjudicators of land justice and the community at large are often insensitive to the violations women experience, and less than five% of disputes are resolved in a court of law.

Project approach

Trócaire and its partners adapted the SASA! Faith approach, a proven methodology that addresses power imbalances between men and women to prevent and respond to GBV, to improve land tenure and property rights in Uganda. They helped women to document their land rights by training customary and community leaders to use a gender-sensitive alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanism to resolve land conflicts. To ensure women exercised their rights and secured their tenure, the project promoted the use of the MyGPS application to ascertain and determine boundaries under the customary system and then documented women’s land rights through gender-sensitive demarcation. Additionally, the project team facilitated community dialogues on GBV and harmful gender norms, as well as provided access to updated referral services to GBV survivors.

Notable learning

Over the two years of project implementation, Trócaire and its partners supported 53 women and 87 men to document and demarcate a total of 356.83 acres of land. Community activists and clan leaders also conducted awareness-raising sessions that provided 4,191 people with the skills and knowledge necessary to demarcate and document their land using customary methods. The ADR was used to successfully resolve land disputes for 98 men and women in a manner that allowed the two parties to continue to co-exist peacefully as neighbors or families.

By the end of the project, 73% of women and 71% of men surveyed in the target communities reported that they did not accept gender inequality or behaviors that lead to GBV, an increase of over 60% from when the project began. As a result of training sessions that aimed to increase awareness of GBV prevention, one male clan leader stated,

“It is true that both women and men can experience violence, but it is clear that women are at a higher risk, and we as men need to acknowledge this and see how to end the cycle.”

– Male clan leader

Some of the positive social norms that were more widely adopted as a result of the project included women and girls having the right to inherit property from their parents or husbands, as well as a belief in collective responsibility and decision-making within households. 

Project report

To learn more about how Trocaire and its partners worked to address gender-based violence and land rights in Uganda under the Resilient, Inclusive, and Sustainable Environments (RISE) grants challenge.

Trocaire
Uganda

Period of Performance

From March 2020
to February 2022

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