“My inaugural attendance at this conference has given KELIN an opportunity to share our experience on securing land rights for widows living with HIV. Many stakeholders have shown interest in our work and I intend to take the conversations forward with them in the coming months. The conference has been a useful learning platform I have learnt a number of new things that will help shape our work on women land and property rights and the intersection with the right to health. “
These were the observations Allan Maleche, Executive Director of KELIN, at the close of the Annual World Bank Conference that took place in Washington, DC from 20 – 24 March 2017. The conference was graced by more than 1,250 participants from over 130 countries. Allan Maleche and Gina Alvarado from the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) made a joint presentation titled “Securing land rights for widows living with and affected by HIV using customary justice structures”. ICRW has been working with KELIN for the last four years to support their monitoring and evaluation system and programming strengthening.
The presentation is based on nine year’s work with a number of stakeholders including widows living with HIV, 127 trained elders, local administration and the Judiciary in Kisumu and Homa Bay counties in Kenya. Over the nine years we have received 363 cases of widows who have been forcefully evicted from their homes. The elders trained on human rights, including land and property rights, have successfully resolved 272 of the cases (75%) thus reclaiming their right to own and inherit properties. 107 (30%) of the 363 widows have been trained on human rights and are willing to challenge violations. At least 50 of them are considered to be most economically vulnerable – earning less than a dollar a day.
KELIN has encouraged elders during trainings to include women in the Council of Elders in line with the Constitution of Kenya, that calls for 2/3 inclusion of women. A total of 28 houses, of over 50, have been built through the contributions of the community (including the in-laws), churches, local officials, and other donors. In general, KELIN has facilitated the construction of 59 structures between 2009 and 2016 for the widowed households.
As part of the efforts aimed to support the widows that have successfully regained their rights to land, friends of KELIN have started a campaign to collect funds to support building houses. Donations for building houses for widows can be made here: https://www.gofundme.com/rebuild-kenyan-womens-homes-lives )
To contribute to the discussion and for live updates follow KELIN on our social media platforms: Twitter: @KELINkenya using hashtag #LandConf2017
For more information contact:
Executive Director KELIN
Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network on HIV & AIDS (KELIN)
4th Floor, Somak Building, Mombasa Road Tel +254202515790;