Pastoralist women’s land rights in Tanzania
At the XVI Biennial IASC (International Association for the Study of the Commons) Conference (https://www.iasc2017.org/) in July 2017 in Utrecht, Netherlands “Practicing the commons: self-governance, cooperation and institutional change”, Naseku Kisambu presented a paper from the International Land Coalition (ILC) Rangelands Initiative on “Pastoral women’s land rights and village land use planning in Tanzania” (2017, 33pp). This brought experiences from the Sustainable Rangeland Management Project into the IASC panel on Women’s Land Rights organised by ILC.
It points out that pastoralist women may enjoy some degree of protection by virtue of customary law, even if men dominate the customary institutions. In times of social, economic and political change, this protection may be lost and, without protection from statutory laws, women are in danger of “falling between two stools”. An ILC-supported study in four villages in Tanzania sought to understand the challenges and opportunities facing pastoralist women with respect to accessing land and other resources in the context of village land-use planning. Empirical data shed some light on pastoralist women’s land rights and how these are manifested in different contexts. It was found that pastoralist women lack awareness of their rights and lack space to express their views. New processes underway such as a government-led review of Tanzania’s land policy and its implementation strategy provide some opportunities to overcome these challenges.