By UG Reports
KABALE: According to a survey conducted by Kigezi Women in Development (KWID), the majority of women in Kabale district are not aware of land ownership rights and what to do in case their land ownership rights are infringed on.
KWID is a nonprofit organization operating in districts of Kigezi focusing on empowering women, girls, and other vulnerable persons to exercise their rights and active participation in decision-making processes among others.
Kabale is one of the districts in Uganda known for land shortage due to its high population and hilly terrain.
Florence Tumuheirwe, the executive director of KWID says that the story is different on the ground as the majority of women are not aware of land ownership rights.
She says that in a survey conducted by KWID in conjunction with Kabale district Local government officials attached to Lands, probation, and Community Development office departments as a way of making violent free Kabale, it was discovered that 15 percent of women in the district are not aware of land ownership rights.
She says that the survey which was conducted between December last year and February this year targeted 200 women, especially in the sub-counties of Kyanamira and Buhara where there are higher cases of land wrangles.
The interviewed women said that they are only aware that land belongs to men.
73.5 percent of the interviewed (equivalent to 147) women responded that they had ever experienced land gender-based violence with their family members over ownership rights.
When asked if they know where to access justice in case they face land ownership rights challenges, only three mentioned courts and the majority were not aware of where to get justice from.
Edismary Musimenta, a 55-year-old resident of Rujanjara village in Muyimbu parish, Kyanamira sub county, Agnes Night, a 48-year-old resident of Kabisha village also in Kyanamira Sub County and Grace Kemirembe, a 49-year-old resident of Buhara Sub County narrate that they have ever experienced land related wrangles with their families.
They all testified that they are not aware of any policies about land matters.
The Kabale District Senior Community Development Officer Christopher Namara, says that on a daily basis the office of the district probation officer registers domestic violence cases involving relatives moving to grab land from widows.
Namara says that due to a lack of enough funding to carry out enough sensitization about land rights, they only aim at reconciling the parties that report as well as referring them to court. He however declined to reveal the amount of funds the department receives.
The Kigezi region police-community liaison officer Enock Hatangimana, says that the problem originated from an ancient culture of parents who would not consider a girl child while sharing the land.
He however says that as authorities they are trying to carry out sensitization to prove that even women have land ownership rights.
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