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Forum on Gender Equality and Social Inclusion GESI in Land Sector Held-NETRIGHT

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There is a complex mix of customary and statutory laws governing the land turner system in Ghana.

According to the Lands Commission, 80 percent of the land in Ghana is commercially owned, about 18 percent is vested land, and the remaining 2 percent is State owned.

There are over 100 laws that govern lands in Ghana, together with unwritten laws regulating stool, skin, and family land.

The Land Bill 2018 that has been laid before Parliament is intended to consolidate and harmonize all existing laws on land to regulate land use and enhance effective land management in the country. In line with this, a Regional roundtable with stakeholder’s forum has been organized, by the Network for Women’s Rights in Ghana NETRIGHT in the Upper East Region.

As part of contribution to advocate for gender equality and social inclusion reforms in the land sector, NETRIGHT in partnership with its regional focal points and LAWA Ghana, Alumnae Incorporated, is implementing a 30 month project under the theme: “Addressing Systematic Barriers to Enhance Gender Equality and Social Inclusion in Land Governance” the project is intended to mobilize support for the passage of GESI responsive Land Bill and also contribute to evidence-based advocacy for gender and social reforms in the land sector, to protect livelihoods of rural women farmer in Ghana.

It is organise by STAR GHANA with funding from the UKAID, the European Union EU, and DANIDA.

The forum brought together about 50 key stakeholders drawn from women’s organizations and groups, Civil Society organization CSOs, Trade Unions, Traditional Authorities, the socially-excluded, farmers, Municipal and District Assemblies, the Media and other critical actors in the region.

It was intended to mobilize support at the regional level to ensure the gender provisions in the Land Bill are maintained and strengthened. It also aimed to discuss provisions in the Land Bill with a particular focus on the GESI responsive provision.

The land turner system in Ghana has deep rooted structural and systemic challenges that have created gender and class inequalities.

There are several socio-cultural issues relating to land and land governance in Ghana and women play limited role within that context. In some communities, women have limited access to land as compared to men.

In the area of spousal property rights, the female spouse tends to be denied of her right to jointly acquired landed property in spite of Article 22 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana that requires equity in sharing of such properties.

Speaking to Radio Ghana, the programme Manager of NETRIGHT Patricia Blanckson Akapo said the essence of the roundtable was to let the voice of the vulnerable be heard instead of speaking for them.

She said that, they intend to hold meetings with the traditional leaders to further ascertained their view on the bill and how they can support the women access to spousal property.

The founder of the Widows and Orphans Movement, (WOM), Betty Ayageba stated that, the Land Bill, when passed into law will help women especially widows.

This is because most of the cases that come to her office are about land related issues. Betty Ayaygeba indicated further that, most women always prefer to stay in their decease husband’s homes to take care of the children, but will be denied of fertile lands to farm or given unfertile lands far away from home.

The end results she added will be their children dropping out of school and at times forced in to early marriages.

The Chief of Baare in Tongo Nyaakora Mantii

The chief of Baare in the Talensi Distirct Nyaakora Mantii I said the Land Bill will help solve many land litigation issues in their traditional areas especially women’s access to land for farming.

The chief of Baare in the Talensi Distirct Nyaakora Mantii I said the Land Bill will help solve many land litigation issues in their traditional areas especially women’s access to land for farming.

Naba Mantii I added that, society is dynamic and therefore the outmoded traditions must be changed, he stated that the information will be conveyed back to their traditional council meeting for further deliberations.

Upper East Regional Legal Aid Sheme Director Lawyer Richard Adazabrah

The Upper East Regional Legal Aid Scheme Director Lawyer Richard Adazabrah who took the participants through the new Land Bill indicated that166 laws are brought together to consolidate the bill, taking into consideration the disadvantaged groups in society.

Lawyer Adazabra gave more insight into the bill. Land plays a crucial role in the livelihood of many Ghanaians; nearly two-thirds of the populations make their living on the land as smallholder farmers with majority being women.

Yet, access to land is a key challenge for women farmers; although it is a basic requirement for farming. If the issue of access to land is not properly address, then the government flagship programme of Planting for Food and Job will be seriously jeopardized.

Story by GBC’s Emmanuel Akayeti

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