MACRAD has been successful on its campaign on women land (#WomenLandNow). After MACRAD trained land ambassadors on women land rights and advocacy skills, women in Chiredzi Rural district, Chitepo village ward 18 for years they wanted a piece of land to do community projects but constantly failed to be allocated a piece of land by the local leadership. Families that stay in Chitepo village are former farm workers who were rendered jobless during the fast track land reform program in Zimbabwe and have continued to reside in the village but they have constantly failed to get land which was parceled out to politically connected people. Women in Chitepo village had no access to land and in August 2019, war veterans in Triangle demanded the eviction of Chitepo families from their farms. After engagements done by councilor Mutubuki, MACRAD and the help of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, the Chitepo members were not evicted from their area. Chiredzi district in Masvingo Zimbabwe is one of the most conservative districts in Zimbabwe were strict adherence to patriarchal practices is commonality such as men and traditional leaders in the community do not believe in allocating land to women.

After the intervention of MACRAD, 40 women in Chitepo gained 2hacters of land for a women’s community field ‘mushandirapamwe.’ By so doing, the women of Chitepo village ward 18, are now able to grow their supplementary crops as women themselves to supplement them in their day to day lives since in their area, men are in control of agricultural land and they determine on which crops to grow in their fields.

MACRAD has already provided maize seed and fertilizer to the women. As the project progresses MACRAD will continue to work against the retrogressive aspects of the patriarchal system that gives women half measures in terms of “rights” and clearly there is no protection of women land rights and this has perpetuated into current policies and practices. Abuses of women on their rights to land are still visible in in rural and communal lands, local traditional leaders need to be educated on the importance of empowering a women with land. MACRAD will also endeavor to educate women on their land rights as for women, land serves as security against poverty means – a means to basic needs.

Source: Masvingo Centre for Research and Community Development (MACRAD)