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Kilimanjaro Charter of Demands

October 18th, 2016 Posted in Uncategorized

The Kilimanjaro Initiative is a rural women’s mobilisation from across Africa towards an iconic moment at the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro in October 2016. The Kilimanjaro Initiative was conceived by the Rural Women during a meeting of rural women and civil society organisations in 2012, held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. This initiative aims to create space for us as rural women to be able to participate in decision making processes about land and natural resources.

w2kilimanjaroWith 2016 declared by the 26th African Union Summit as “Africa Year of Human Rights with particular focus on the Rights of Women”, coupled with the transition from MDGs into SDGs, our quest for actualization of our right to land and natural resources towards a food and nutritional secure continent could have never been timelier. Also noting that in October 2015, the AU Special Technical Committee on agriculture, water and environment recommended that Member States allocate at least 30% of land to women; improve land rights of women through legislative/other mechanisms, in order to give practical effect to the AU declaration on Land in which all African states committed to ensure equitable access to land for all land users and strengthen women’s land rights. The women have therefore proclaimed this Charter of principles and demands specifically on women’s access to use, control, own, inherit and dispose their land and natural resources.

i. To strengthen the agency and movement of rural women in claiming and defending their land and natural resource rights in Africa.
ii. To engender political will amongst national governments, donor and regional institutions to implement an all-inclusive African women’s charter.
iii. To mobilise and support the participation of 100,000 rural women in the Kilimanjaro Initiative in at least 20 countries in Africa.
iv. To raise awareness on existing frameworks and safeguards around large scale land based investments and demand for their application in securing legitimate tenure rights of rural women in Africa.

We, the rural women of Africa, assembled in Arusha from 14th to 16th of October 2016, present this African Women Charter of demands on land rights developed through a consultative process involving representatives of the Rural Women Assemblies and women farmers’ forums from over 22 Africa countries. All demands presented below were endorsed by all members of the Assembly.

4. WE DEMAND                 w2k-5
 Sensitization of leaders, (traditional, community, and religious and others) youth, people with disabilities, and women on the law and policies on land.
 Women empowerment by enabling them to access their land rights, technology, and financial resources to improve their livelihoods.
 Translate land policies and laws into accessible local languages.
 Sex disaggregated digital inventory of tenure rights within public, community, and private lands so that all land is identified, recorded, and made public for safeguarding.
 50% participation of women in decision-making bodies and implementation of land issues and matters (including in the valuation of land and payment of compensation for natural resources) so that they can speak and defend their land rights.
 Governments should regulate businesses and investors that pollute the environment and adversely affect the environment and the health of communities, especially women and children.
 Governments must avoid land-based investments which forcefully displace rural communities, particularly women and children.
 Women and communities must have a say on who and what kind of investments and companies that invest in their communities. The investor must be obligated to provide information about the impacts of their investment (sustainability – economic, environmental, health, social, and infrastructural).
 Investments in land should be done in partnership with communities, governments, and investors – jobs; development projects (water, roads, schools, hospitals, etc.); minimum 40% share in the profits; environmental protection.

 The challenges of people living with disabilities and other vulnerable groups (people living with HIV/AIDs, widows), namely stigma, discrimination, cultural biases, lack of access to information and infrastructure must be taken into account in all land matters and they must be represented in decision-making bodies and involved in the implementation process.
 Pastoral lands must be recognized and protected by law and other mechanisms.
 Ban harmful and oppressive cultural practices that undermine women’s rights including those that prohibit women to inherit land and other resources.
 Government should enact laws to provide security and protection of women’s rights defenders.
 Stop persistent farmers – pastoralists conflicts over the use of land and other resources.
 Enact inheritance law to provide and safeguard women’s land rights whenever it is not existing.

 Civic education on the land laws so that women understand land laws and their rights. This should include promotion of adult education particularly in rural areas.
 Review, harmonize, and update land laws to reflect women’s rights on land.
 Engage governments in the Kilimanjaro Initiative for them to support women’s land rights.
 Involve youth in land issues – through curriculum & youth should have representation in decision making bodies.

 Joint and equal ownership of land through joint land title deeds.
 Include women in customary land governance structures.
 Ensure customary law are consistent with constitutional and statutory safeguards for women’s land rights.
 Land laws and policies should be translated and made available to communities (dissemination) in accessible local languages.
 Mobilize and build women’s movements in support of women’s land rights (the Kilimanjaro Initiative) – popularize the demands and solutions.
 Educate and mobilize custodians of culture to become champions of women’s land rights.
 Create an African network of women’s rights defenders.
 Recognize and facilitate the work of women’s rights defenders.
 Implement the AU’s recommendation that requires states to allocate at least 30% of land to women.
 Improve land rights of women through legislative and other mechanisms.
 Establish gender-responsive property rights framework beyond land laws by reforming marital property law, succession (inheritance law), etc.,).
 Identify and protect farming and grazing areas to stop conflicts pitting pastoralists and farmers.


Countries represented
Burkina Faso
The Gambia
Sierra Leone
South Africa

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