MACRAD conducted a women land rights training on the 6th of November 2019 at Matsikidze, Masvingo Central Constituency. The training was attended by the local chief, four village heads, councillor and Provincial council member. The training was attended by 150 women and 67 men. The training was focusing on educating women and men on women land rights in rural and resettlements areas in Masvingo District. During the training participants testify that land is the most important asset for many rural women and men and is often a family’s primary source of cash income, food and nutritional security, health care, and education. Though women play a central role in agricultural production, women’s rights and access to land are often not equal to those of men due to biases in the formal legal framework and customary law.
The chief also alludes that, within customary communities, land passes through clan-based male lineages, and men largely control the decision-making, allocation, management, use, and inheritance of land. Daughters generally do not inherit rights to customary lands on par with men, and wives’ inheritance of land occupancy and use rights is often contingent on their willingness to remain a part of their deceased husband’s family by marrying a brother or other relative. In the event of separation, divorce, or death of her husband, women may be left with no rights to the land in their marital community where they have used, depended upon, and improved land during their marriage. Macrad will engage the local government when designing and implementing land reforms, to consider whether such reforms will formalize existing inequities as land is a crucial resource for poverty reduction, food security and rural development. However, men and women do not always enjoy the same rights to land. The participants welcomed the reintroduction of “Tseu” concept and men were encouraged to give women a piece of land to plough for this raining season as Macrad is in the process of distributing maize seeds to women farmers and those affected by Cyclone Idai disaster.
Source: Masvingo Centre for Research and Community Development (MACRAD)