Impact of Land tenure systems on women in Sierra Leone - Land For

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Impact of Land tenure systems on women in Sierra Leone - Land For Powered By Docstoc
					Impact of Land tenure systems
  on women in Sierra Leone
        Christiana Momoh
•   History and Context setting
•   Introduction
•   Acquisition of land in the provinces
•   Impact of land tenure on women
•   The 2007 laws
•   Impact of the 2007 laws on women
•   Issues for Reflection
      History and Context setting
• Sierra Leone a country started off as a British
  occupied territory since 1787
• Became a British crown colony in 1808
• 2 systems of Administration existed (Colony and
• Colony governed by direct rule-Administered by
  the British
• Protectorate- Land situated outside of the colony
  and governed indirectly through Chiefs supervised
  by British District Officers
• In present day Sierra Leone, 2 distinct systems of
  land tenure coexist within the same geographical
  divide (English land law applying to the Western
  Area/ Colony & Customary law applying to
• The colony/Western Area provides for individuals
  to acquire individual ownership of land through
  purchase (title deeds)
• Under the provinces ( sub-divided into smaller
  administrative units referred to as Chiefdoms –
  headed by a Paramount Chief), provincial land use
  is vested in the Paramount Chief as caretaker.
• Paramount Chiefs are elected by an electoral
  college (constituted by 20 tax payers to 1 voter –
  tribal authority)
• very few female representatives are part of the
  electoral college because women were not
  allowed to pay tax (although this is now
• Paramount Chiefs are elected for life
• There are currently 149 Paramount Chiefs and
  only 6 out of this number are women
• This institution is founded on Patriarchy (male
  lineage; male secret society)
 Acquisition of land in the Provinces
• In the provinces there are three ways in which
  land is acquired Communal, Family and
• communal tenure -it seeks to protect the
  paramount interest of the entire group.
• The Paramount chief holds the land in trust on
  behalf of the community.
• Family Tenure- Family land are acquired when
  certain pieces of land within a particular
  chiefdom is vested in a family.
• Such pieces of lands are controlled by family
• Family heads are almost always men.
• Individual Tenure is strange and of modern
  development. This type of tenure is now
  scattered throughout the provinces more
  especially in provincial and other headquarters
  towns although it has been argued that Individual
  Tenure is contrary to Customary Law in Sierra
• Individual tenure is earned by the following
• BY ALIENATION- i.e. through land sale or
• BY GIFT OF LAND- i.e. land is donated to an individual
• By partitions- family land is shared among individual
  family members
• CUSTOMARY PLEDGE- Land can be pledged to
  individuals under customary law and can vest
  paramount ownership on an individual.
  acquire an interest in land. The individual land holding
  does not expire at death but pass on to the surviving
  children who will have continuity of tenure in the land.
Impact of Land Tenure on women
• Positive Impacts
• Individual tenure makes it possible for women
  to own land titles in provincial and other
  headquarter towns.
• Women who are economically empowered
  can lease provincial land for as long as 40
  years giving them control of such lands.
• Economically empowered women can buy
  land in the Western Area
Negative Impacts
• Grants of land that is being made to investors has
  implications on poor women farming groups who
  are normally dispossessed of such land
• In Sierra Leone all tribes practice a system of
  patrilineal decent, except the Sherbro who
  practice matrilineal decent in family holdings.
• Family heads are almost always males
  Traditionally the eldest male family member with
  regards to age, education, power and wealth.
• Women are most times given user rights
             The 2007 Laws
• The laws of 2007 are the domestic violence
  act, customary marriage and divorce Act and
  devolution of estates act
• The Devolution of Estates Act deals with the
  distribution of the property (land) of a
  deceased person.
• It applies when a person dies intestate
 Impacts of the 2007 Acts on women
                     Positive Impacts
• The independence of women to own property (land) is
  guaranteed under the customary marriage Act. Under
  section 18 of the Customary Marriage and Divorce Act
  2007, “A wife in a customary marriage shall have the
  capacity to personally acquire and dispose of
  properties and to enter into contracts in her own
• A woman who has lived with the deceased person at
  least 5 years before his death, whether married or
  unmarried is regarded as a beneficiary of the
  deceased’s property (land).
• The new law allows for girls to benefit form
  property (land) from their fathers and brothers.
Negative Impacts
• Law only covers cases from 2007- when laws
  were ratified.
• Women can only benefit from their partners
  (when co-habiting) property (land) in 2013.
• There is no new law specifically for land yet. Law
  covers all property including land.
           Issues for Reflection
• Banks normally give loans to multilateral
  cooperation but not to women’s farming groups.
• Opportunities through the CAADP process omits
  women focus Agro Business Centres (ABCs).
• Mining companies and big investors dispossess
  poor families from land and women suffer the
• Communities argues that women do not utilize
• Chiefs are not willing to have a change in the land
Thank You.

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