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Community women from across Sierra Leone lobby Parliamentary Committee members on their rights to land and property
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Aug 27, 2012, 12:00
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Press Release

 

Date: 27th August 2012

 

Community women from across Sierra Leone lobby Parliamentary Committee members on their rights to land and property

 


Whilst women constitute 60 80 per cent of the agriculture workforce in Sierra Leone, a large majority do not have full or ownership rights of property and land. The Devolution of Estates Act 2007 only provides rights to private individual property, meaning many rural women living and working on family, chieftaincy or community property are not protected. Additionally, customary practices which prevail in almost all rural communities define women as the property of men, meaning they are unable to own property or land.


The difficulty women face to gain economic independence leaves them vulnerable to abusive and sometimes violent situations. In the case of divorce or abandonment women can lose all access to either the land they have been farming, or the house where they and their children have been living. This is particularly true for most Sierra Leonean women who are living in extreme poverty especially vulnerable women such as those living with HIV and AIDS. 


COOPI, Oxfam, FAWE,SLYEO and ActionAid supported by the EU are hosting a one day dialogue session between 120  community women from across Sierra Leone and 30 members of strategic parliamentary committees on the 28th August 2012 at the British Council. 

 

The event will enable community women to present to the parliamentary committees the reality of the challenges they face around both accessing and owning land in the country. It is hoped that the event will influence members of the parliamentary committees to secure key policy and legislative reforms, in addition to identifying ways to address traditional beliefs and behavior that discriminate against women.


Roisin Cavanagh, from COOPI, stated: This event is a crucial step to enable those with power over policy and legislation to really understand the reality on the ground. Whilst the National Land Policy is being finalised, we really need a piece of legislation that has teeth, in order to make real change for the women of the country.

 

Christiana Momoh from ActionAid also commented; Whilst all women face discrimination around property and land in the country, certain groups of vulnerable women such as those living with HIV and AIDS and the poorest women face a double burden. It is time that our parliamentary committees really considered the issues these women and others face, and identify concrete steps to move us forward


The event will be an essential component of national campaigns run by each of the partners. Please note the event is by invitation only.


© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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