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Women, Land and Property Rights

Summary
It has been recognized that securing interests in land and property rights serve as a cornerstone for the realization of human rights and poverty reduction as these underpin social inclusion and economic development. For the last seven years, KELIN has been working to address the needs of Kenyan widows and their children who have been disinherited and left homeless due to the denial of their lawful rights to inherit and own property. Because the judicial system in Kenya is inaccessible to most people in rural areas, KELIN has been working with traditional cultural structures such as Councils of Elders to address these injustices through mediation. KELIN recognizes cultural barriers that impact changing attitudes. Women are discriminated against because of patriarchal attitudes, misunderstood cultural practices, and limited awareness of human rights and this is worsened by their HIV positive status.

The implementation of the Cultural Structures Project (CSP) in Homa Bay and Kisumu counties saw the successful resolution of 224 cases out of the 311 cases received by the Project as of March 2015. A total of 36 cases are still being mediated on. Thirty out of the 50 elders who are actively involved in the mediation process have been trained on land and property rights to ensure that they make decisions within their mandate as stipulated in the Constitution of Kenya 2010. 33% of the 50 the elders are women. To date, over 400 beneficiaries (widows, children and elders) benefit directly from the Project.

KELIN staff working on WLPR:
Onyango Opondo Ondeng is the Programme Manager for Women, Land, and Property Rights. He can be reached at ondeng@kelinkenya.org; Emily Awour is the Project Assistant, she can be reached at eotieno@kelinkenya.org