WOLREC train chiefs on women access to land

Women’s Legal Resources Centre (WOLREC) this week has been training chiefs in Lilongwe on the importance of access to land for women.

Chiefs in a group photo at the workshop
Chiefs in a group photo at the workshop
Chiefs discussing the land access to women
Chiefs discussing the land access to women

Speaking during the workshop, WOLREC Programme officer, Loma Mtema, said it is very important for women to have access to land.

Loma said last year her organisations invited chiefs from Malawi for a familiarisation tour to Zambia so that the chiefs should appreciate on land management.

Some of the chiefs who went to Zambia include Paramount chief Lundu, Paramount chief Kyungu of Karonga, Senior Chief Lukwa of Kasungu, Senior chief Kachindamoto of Dedza and Traditional Authority Chowe.

Loma said the meeting convened in Lilongwe was a follow up of the Zambian tour.

She said during the meeting in Zambia, Malawi chiefs’ delegation attended the Southern Africa Traditional Leaders Conference which was organised by Women for change and We Effect.

Traditional Leaders, Government officials and Civil Society organisations from Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe attended the conference.

During the Conference, the meeting delegates resolved that they shall make land available to both women and men and protect communities’ rights to land through community land certifications where there are both husband and wife.

In the communiqué which the meeting released, the land certificate shall bear the names of husband and a wife in the best interest for a family.

The meeting communicated that where there is female or male headed household only, the certificate shall bear the name of the male or female as trusted by the family.

In the communiqué, it was reflected that there shall be different forms of dialogue on land rights for women through different structures and stand in solidarity for promotion of land rights for women.

Speaking during the Lilongwe meeting, Paramount Chief Lundu said the workshop was very important for chiefs who went to Zambia to share knowledge, ideas and aspirations of land ownership for women.

Senior Chief Kachindamoto commended WORLEC for the workshop saying it will help to share knowledge in land management.

Loma commended We Effect organisation for the support saying the issue of land is very complex in Malawi.

She said under the customary land tenure and administration land is held in trust for the people by the chiefs who have the right to allocate land to her subjects.

“Under this system there are two distinct patterns of social arrangements that determine access to land, the matrilineal and  patrilineal system,” said Ms Loma.

Land remains a primary factor of production and yet land access, acquisition and ownership especially among women population is a major problem.

Minister of Gender Children and Social Welfare, Patricia Kaliati recently said her Ministry will continue lobbying for support from various ministries to ensure that women have access to lands.

Malawi Parliament passed a Land Bill 2013 which will meant that foreign nationals could no longer be allowed to own land except when they enter into a partnership or joint venture with a Malawian to use the land for investment purposes only.

Statistics indicates that 70% of food is produced by women who ironically have no access to land.

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