Giving women land, an aid to ending hunger and poverty

By Shamiso Chigonde

The empowerment of women through land distribution is not feasible until chiefs and headmen who are at the center of the programme appreciate the value of women, an international development non-profit organization has said.

The Konrad-Adenauer Foundation, a Germany non-governmental organisation that is in charge of the One World No Hunger Project in Zimbabwe, sees empowering and emancipating rural women as a lasting solution in the fight to end hunger and poverty.

Speaking to Amakhosikazi Media, Goodhope Ruswa the Programs Coordinator at the Foundation said their main objective is development through women empowerment.

“Our main objective is to develop communities but you cannot talk about development without mentioning women. They are the ones who give birth to us, they are our sisters, wives and mothers. They till the land so they should have rights to land in order to fight hunger,” he said.

Achieving women empowerment as far as land is concerned without talking about chiefs and headmen who are responsible for allocating the land in rural areas is impossible.

It is because of this realisation that the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation has established community outreach programs aimed at educating village heads on women’s rights.

"We are doing community outreach programs which are not only meant to empower women but to educate the men around them and educate chiefs, headmen and village heads so that they include and involve women in land distribution. "

According to the Zimbabwe Statistical Agency, 67 percent of Zimbabwe's population is in rural areas and they rely on agriculture for survival.

However many of the women in these areas share land rights with their husbands and often end up losing land after the husband's death or in the event of a divorce.

Some women are forced to stay in violent relationships with their partners so as to access food, housing, land and other resources.

Trying to get a piece of land can prove to be difficult in some instances where village heads are in constant power struggles with rural district council heads over distribution of land, women are asked for sexual favours in order to get land and end up being displaced if they do not comply.

The One World No Hunger program is in line with one of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and vulnerable have equal rights to economic resources as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land, inheritance and natural resources.