Hoima launches Shs700m project to promote women land rights

Jolly Abitegeka,, Project Focal Person at the Mid-western Region Anti-corruption Coalition (MIRAC) speaks at the UN Women sponsored project launch at Hoima Resort Hotel.

The United Nations Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund has responded to the injustices against women in regard to land rights protection in Hoima District by allocating a Shs700m grant.

Through the UN Women, the two-year project will be implemented by the Mid-western Region Anti-corruption Coalition (MIRAC) in Hoima district and Hoima city administrative units.

At the official launch of the project in Hoima city yesterday (Tuesday), May 4, 2021, the Hoima District Land Board Chairman, Yusitasi Ireeba, expressed optimism that the project will help to bridge a grave sensitisation gap caused by financial constraints in his office.

“I cannot hide this. My office has no vote for sensitisation in budgetary allocation. I blame the ignorance of the community on land rights on the political side of local government”, said Mr Ireeba.

Audio: Ireeba on land (English)
Hoima District Land Board Chairman, Yusitasi Ireeba, speaks at the project launch.

Ismail Kusemererwa, the Executive Director for MIRAC, said the project among other things seeks to empower women to participate in land conflict prevention and resolution and be in position to defend their rights violated and abused mainly on cultural grounds.

The project will conduct community awareness on the need to respect the rights of women on land through radio programmes, drama and community dialogues.

Also, the project will promote the flow of information on land conflicts by recruiting and empowering community monitors for the project who will be reporting to the local authorities and other key stakeholders in the project implementation including Justice Centres Uganda for mediation and litigation.

 “Women have been marginalised in our societies. They never have a say during land transactions and inheritance yet culture does not prevent them from owning land. It is just a social construction that land belongs to men”, he said.

Joyce Kabatalya, the Hoima District Gender Focal Person, hopes the project will help to reduce domestic violence escalated by family land sale, mortgage and lease intensions by husbands and relatives.

 Jonathan Toyo, the Justice Centres Uganda Manager for Hoima Centre calls upon stakeholders to put emphasis on mediation during the project implementation because it has been identified to be crucial in resolving protracted and compound land conflicts.

He refers to the achievements made by the Justice Centres Uganda where by at least 80 land conflict cases are resolved through mediation per year against 9-12 cases resolved by courts through litigation in the same period.

Meanwhile, Superintendent of Police (SP) Sam Simon Oyuku, the Legal and Human Rights Officer at Hoima regional police headquarters noted the need to promote use of local council courts in order to ease women access to cost effective justice.

 The project comes as thousands of people in the Albertine region are living on their ancestral land amid high uncertainty due to land grabbers from within their own families, closest neighbours and businessmen from elsewhere who normally connive with some government officials to process fraudulent land titles and secure illegal eviction orders.

The rise in demand for land has been instigated by the number of immigrants from southwestern Uganda and Rwanda as well as the discovery of oil reserves in 2006.

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