Tackling the Gendered Impact of Resource conflicts

There is always a cost of bad governance which more often than not manifests, as gendered disparities, affecting women more than men, due to the patriarchal nature of society that places burden of primary care on women. Whenever inequalities are present, disadvantaged groups suffer disproportionately, while the others, usually the minority enjoy the benefits. This is always the case whenever there are natural resource endowments, including the land itself and this has led to numerous conflicts across the country.

According to the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) 2019 report in all the provinces with natural resource disputes over access, control and uses of the resources continue to cause conflicts. The NPRC says that most of these conflicts are best solved by peace architecture at local level, in their justification of the setup and induction of Peace Committees at Provincial level. It also has plans in the future to cascade this architecture to district level or lower for communities to start organic conflict busting solutions at a local level.

The Commission is guided by terms of the NPRC Act, which mandates it to receive and investigate complaints from members of the public. An analysis of complaints received reveals that the majority of conflicts revolve around issues of unfair distribution of resources, land disputes, mining disputes, and partisan distribution of food aid, political victimization, and and chieftainship wrangles. The NPRC report stated, “Of notable concern is the fact that women, children and persons with disabilities were not spared in the conflicts.”

GGZT and like-minded civil society organization should engage traditional authorities at the local and regional levels to address the conflicts in land tenure systems. Mainstreaming of successful experiences and programs that have proven to be successful in supporting women and land governance is recommended. Programming on land issues should shy away from political structures and interference which are pretty abusive of their authority by distributing land on partisan basis. Examples of capacities that need strengthening include understanding of policy-making processes; improvement in negotiation and communication skills . Engaging with traditional authorities at the local and regional levels to address the conflicts in land tenure arrangements; mainstreaming successful experiences and programs that have proven to be successful in supporting women and land governance is also recommended.

There is a need to develop land reform policies and tenure structures that secure women’s access to land and their control over the land they are allocated. This implies that governments must recognize and promote the land rights of women who are married, divorced, widowed or single and facilitate women’s participation in the design of tenure systems because women’s labour is a major contributor to agriculture hence their land rights matter for development.

Engendering land reforms is needed to develop a policy framework that gives privileges to women in land reform through the identification of the implications and impacts of the criteria, procedures and delivery processes on married, single, divorced or widowed women and girls in comparison to men and boys. This should also highlight the gaps between policy statements and the actual resources channeled towards their implementation. Areas needing attention include farm mechanization and credit

Source: Green Governance Trust

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