HAGURUKA cooperatively with RLMUA (Rwanda Land Management and Use Authority) are putting into practice a project entitled “capacity development in land administration” which is being sponsored by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). In connection with this project aimed to “enhance sustainable, efficient, and reliable land administration in Rwanda, as well as accurate, transparent and gender sensitive, land registry like legal framework, process and spatial data”, Haguruka has prepared and conducted a community dialogue with an intention of raising awareness of citizens on land laws.
From December 20, 2018, Haguruka was conducting dialogue sessions in Gisagara District basically throughout citizens forums (Inteko z’abaturage) in at least all sectors of the district. The majority of the people from each sector participated in the community dialogues due to the fact that they were not informed about what laws talk about the land. NDEBAKUMANA Innocent, a participant from Muganza sector, said: “before joining this community conversation, I was not aware of how challenges based on people’s social life like culture can hinder women’s right to land”. This indicates all topics discussed throughout the entire community dialogues were essential to the citizens, and those talking points include widow’s right to land, right to land for couples which did not celebrate civil marriage, necessity of land registration, equal right to land for men and women, seeking information and asking pieces of advice about right to land, and even prior permission to transfer land.
Haguruka Conducting Community Dialogue on Gender Equality in Land Administration with Citizens From Gisagara District
It was obvious that during the conversation, the citizens were excited and eager to learn and understand new information about land law. The discussions were very participative; where the citizens got a chance to raise his/her concern or problem about land law-related issues. For the fact that the dialogue was very open and engaging, the citizens were able to realize that they were formerly not informed about equal right to own land for men and women. It was difficult for them to handle land-related issues, and they have figured out some challenges related to land protection and ownership.
Definitely, the community dialogues have raised awareness of the people as they were able to figure out some challenges and provide a course of action to handle them. Actually, illegal marriage was realized as one amongst the barriers to people to access and own land; This has a connection with a fixed mindset that people had about “only male are eligible to own land or take all decisions related to land use in their families. So, let all Rwandan strive to have a common understanding about land gender equality in land administration for the sake of efficiently and effectively use and protect land, as well as having equal right to own land regardless of people’s cultural belief or social life.