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Women’s right to land and inheritance (An update from 2014)

During 2014, building upon our continued efforts to secure women’s right to land and inheritance, AAPk remained actively engaged with landless women and small holder farmers in its Local Rights Programme (LRP) areas. 

We focused on effective implementation of inheritance laws and continued demand for legislation around women’s right to land. Together with our partners, networks, alliances and platforms, AAPk continued its demand around policy and legislative framework pertaining to women right to land.

Along with other like-minded organizations like SCOPE, SEARCH, PDI, PNAF, PKI, HANDS, AWARE, LRF, TCO and PILER, AAPk took pertinent initiatives around  mass mobilization and campaigning on women’s right to land and inheritance through electronic (FM-Radio and local cable TV channels) and print media (local newspapers).

Advocacy seminars, lobbying meetings with line departments (agriculture and revenue) and policy makers, strategic dialogues with senior political leaders and parliamentarians, celebration of International Women's Day to mark women contribution in agriculture sector, were also carried out.

AAPk also initiated a discourse on Sindh Agriculture Policy formation at various levels with an active participation and support from Reflection-Action groups, farmer groups (women and men), and community based organizations at village, tehsil, district, provincial and national levels.

In one of our LRPs, a collective comprising of 10 landless women farmers continued to receive AAPk facilitation to acquire land on lease for joint organic agriculture farming. In another LRP, demonstration plots of onion and garlic were established for poor women.

 As a result of AAPk interventions, around 2,000 women now claim to have permission and support of their family especially male members regarding mobility. Now they are able to travel and discuss, share and highlight their issues with larger communities.

“I sowed red chillies and vegetables in one acre land possessed by me. I received financial benefit of around PKRs 5000/ during the last season. The area is more famous for rice cultivation and now I plan to cultivate rice for next season. I feel different and empowered on having land ownership. I am confident that it will change my life for the better” , says 45 yeards old Bhana from Thatta, Sindh.

AAPk also facilitated empowerment of approximately 7,000 women on issues related to their basic rights including right to land through programming an interactive engagement with 214 women groups in our different LRP areas.

The women groups were established during the previous years at various levels (community, village, tehsil and district levels). Now these groups have enhanced their skills and knowledge which has strengthened ability of women to lead and advance their struggle for right to land and inheritance. These groups have received trainings on basic rights, campaigning and advocacy skills, record keeping and agriculture management.

The implementation of inheritance law is a real challenge owing to insensitive behavior of men in the family, absence of proper support system and lengthy legal procedures on the part of government functionaries like police and judiciary.

Sensitizing and pressurizing provincial governments to distribute its land amongst rural women is also challenging, however, Sindh government has already set an example (Sindh Government Land Distribution Program for Landless Women) that could be taken as an exemplary precedence. There is need to consolidate our efforts and exert collective pressure on government authorities.