Absent Voices: Women and Youth in Communal Land Governance. Reflections on Methods and Process from Exploratory Research in West and East Africa
2. Research Process and Methods
2.1. Establishing Networks in West and East Africa
2.2. Participatory Workshops in Mali and Uganda
- Axis 1: a collective mapping exercise to identify ongoing struggles for collective rights to land, seeds and other natural resources;
- Axis 2: a collective mapping of the legal and policy frameworks that currently recognize collective/community rights to land, seeds and natural resources;
- Axis 3: a discussion of relations of power within community rights systems, and how to address the marginalization and the needs of specific groups. We paid specific attention here to women and youth, but also to other groups that we collectively identified, such as fishers or pastoralists;
- Axis 4: a discussion of the conflicts that may arise between various users of land and natural resources, and effective mechanisms to address these;
- Axis 5: future collaboration and processes to collectively identify gaps in research and action that could support movement struggles.
2.3. Desktop Study
- a preliminary analysis of the extent to which collective rights to land, seeds and natural resources (including customary rights and the commons) are recognized and protected in legal and policy frameworks in Western and Eastern Africa; and,
- a first identification of the key factors that may have an impact on the realization of collective rights to resources in these regions and consequently on the potential contribution of collective rights to equitable and resilient food systems.
2.4. Video Documentation
3.1. Key Outcomes of Exploratory Research
- growing recognition of community land rights in the law and in policy agendas;
- social movement mobilizations in defense of communal land rights (mainly in West Africa);
- multi-actor platforms for dialogue with governments;
- progressive human rights lawyers working with peasant and pastoralist organizations (mainly in East Africa).
- declining natural resources and biodiversity, climate change, and growing conflicts over land;
- commercialization (large-scale land deals), privatization and selling of land, elite capture;
- focus on individual titling to protect tenure security, which may result in women losing land;
- power dynamics and marginalization, with women and the youth being largely excluded from communal land governance;
- lack of legal protection of communal land rights and tensions between customary and national law. For example, while gender equality is part of many constitutions, this is not implemented in practice.
- ongoing struggles by peasant, fisherfolk, pastoralist and Indigenous Peoples’ organizations to defend these rights;
- how community/customary rights over land and natural resources operate in practice and how they have evolved over time;
- the extent to which community rights are protected in the law and the impact of various institutional setups on their enjoyment;
- local and traditional knowledges for communal natural resource management;
- local strategies for climate change adaptation and resilience;
- obstacles and opportunities for the participation of women, youth and other marginalized groups in communal resource management and policy-making in general.
3.2. Reflecting on Key Research Outcomes and Process, Co-Designing Follow-Up Research
4. New Research Project on Women’s Communal Land Rights (WCLR)
4.1. Project Rationale
4.2. Project Partners, Objectives and Research Priorities
- Kenyan Peasants League (KPL), a peasant organization in Kenya established in 2016 and member of La Via Campesina, which promotes peasant farming and agroecology;
- Pastoral Women’s Council (PWC), a pastoralist women’s organization created by Maasai women in 1998, Tanzania, to defend the rights of pastoralist women and girls;
- CNOP-G, the national confederation of peasant organizations in Guinea (a member of ROPPA and COPAGEN), set up in 2000 to defend the interests of peasants and which represents 700,000 family farms, with a membership of 52 per cent women;
- COFERSA, the national coalition of women for food sovereignty, a network of 45 women’s cooperatives gathering more than 4000 women across Mali, established in 2009.
- Capacity-building: support efforts at becoming more gender-sensitive and gender-transformative; co-develop capacity to conduct participatory action research (PAR);
- Participatory Research: document and draw lessons from efforts to advance women’s communal land rights (WCLR) in different spaces (household/village level, local government, traditional authorities, district level);
- Facilitate dialogues: between women and men, across generations, at household (HH) level, among women, among men; identify, create and multiply tools and processes that work to facilitate inclusive and empowering dialogues; create social cohesion;
- Action for social change: support actions that advance and scale-up WCLR, in line with the individual needs and priorities of the partner organizations.
4.3. Adapting Our PAR Methodology to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Conflicts of Interest
- United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas. Resolution Adopted by the General Assembly on 17 December 2018, A/RES/73/165 21 January 2019. Available online: https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/1661560/files/A_RES_73_165-EN.pdf (accessed on 29 June 2020).
- Claeys, P.; Edelman, M. The United Nations Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas. J. Peasant Stud. 2019. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Doss, C.; Summerfield, G.; Tsikata, D. Land, gender and food security. Fem. Econ. 2014, 20, 1–23. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Tsikata, D.; Yaro, J.A. When a good business model is not enough: Land transactions and gendered livelihood prospects in rural Ghana. Fem. Econ. 2014, 20, 202–226. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Claeys, P. The creation of new rights by the food sovereignty movement: The challenge of institutionalizing subversion. Sociology 2012, 46, 844–860. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Claeys, P. Human Rights and the Food Sovereignty Movement: Reclaiming Control; Routledge: London, UK, 2015. [Google Scholar]
- Claeys, P. The rise of new rights for peasants. From reliance on NGO intermediaries to direct representation. Transnatl. Leg. Theory 2019, 9, 286–399. [Google Scholar]
- Lemke, S.; Bellows, A.C. Bridging nutrition and agriculture. Local food-livelihood systems and food governance including a gender perspective. J. Technol. Assess. Theory Pract. Spec. Issue Feed. World Chall. Oppor. 2011, 20, 52–60. Available online: https://tatup.de/index.php/tatup/article/view/771 (accessed on 8 August 2020).
- Lemke, S.; Bellows, A.C. Sustainable food systems, gender, and participation: Foregrounding women in the context of the right to adequate food and nutrition. In Gender, Nutrition, and the Human Right to Adequate Food: Toward an Inclusive Framework; Bellows, A.C., Valente, F.L.S., Lemke, S., de Lara, M.D.N.B., Eds.; Routledge: London, UK, 2016; pp. 254–340. [Google Scholar]
- Lemke, S.; Delormier, T. Indigenous Peoples’ food systems, nutrition and gender: Conceptual and methodological considerations. Matern. Child Nutr. 2017, 13, e12499. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed][Green Version]
- Alden Wily, L. Collective land ownership in the 21st century: Overview of global trends. Land 2018, 7, 68. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Boone, C. Legal empowerment of the poor through property rights reform: Tensions and trade-offs of land registration and titling in Sub-Saharan Africa. J. Dev. Stud. 2018, 55, 384–400. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Lemke, S.; Waters-Bayer, A. A Report on the International Colloquium of the High-Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) and the University of Hohenheim: Food Security and Nutrition in the Context of the 2030 Development Agenda: Science and Knowledge for Action; University of Hohenheim: Stuttgart-Hohenheim, Germany, 27 September 2016; Available online: https://gfe.uni-hohenheim.de/international-colloquium (accessed on 8 August 2020).
- Pingault, N.; Caron, P.; Kolmans, A.; Lemke, S.; Kalafatic, C.; Zikeli, S.; Waters-Bayer, A.; Callenius, C.; Qin, Y. Moving beyond the opposition of diverse knowledge systems for food security and nutrition. J. Integr. Agric. 2020, 19, 291–293. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Chambers, R. Rural Development: Putting the Last First; Longman: London, UK, 1983. [Google Scholar]
- Pretty, J.; Guijt, I.; Thompson, J.; Scoones, I. Participatory Learning and Action: A Trainer’s Guide; IIED: London, UK, 1995. [Google Scholar]
- Reason, P.; Bradbury, H. (Eds.) The Sage Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice; Sage: Thousand Oaks, CA, USA, 2008. [Google Scholar]
- Coulibaly, M.; Claeys, P.; Berson, A. The right to seeds and legal mobilisation for the protection of peasant seed systems in Mali. J. Hum. Rights Prac. 2020. under review. [Google Scholar]
- Claeys, P.; Duncan, J. Do we need to categorize it? Reflections on constituencies and quotas as tools for negotiating difference in the global food sovereignty convergence space. J. Peasant Stud. 2018. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- McKeon, N.; Kalafatic, C. Strengthening Dialogue: UN Experience with Small Farmer Organizations and Indigenous Peoples; United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service: Geneva, Switzerland, 2009; 49p. [Google Scholar]
- Claeys, P.; Duncan, J. Food sovereignty and convergence spaces. Political Geogr. 2019. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- World Café Method. Available online: http://www.theworldcafe.com/key-concepts-resources/world-cafe-method/ (accessed on 30 June 2020).
- Fishbowl. Available online: https://www.unicef.org/knowledge-exchange/files/Fishbowl_production.pdf (accessed on 30 June 2020).
- Errico, S. Governance of Land and Natural Resources in Africa. Overview of Legal and Policy Frameworks on Collective/Customary Land Tenure; Marginalisation; and Conflicts; Unpublished Report; Coventry University: Coventry, UK, 2019. [Google Scholar]
- Krantz, L. Securing Customary Land Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa; Working Papers in Human Geography; Department of Economy and Society, Göteborg University: Göteborg, Sweden, 2015; Volume 1. [Google Scholar]
- Scalise, E. Indigenous women’s land rights: Case studies from Africa. In State of the World’s Minorities and Indigenous Peoples; Minority Rights Group (MRG): London, UK, 2012. [Google Scholar]
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The State of Food and Agriculture 2010–2011; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO): Rome, Italy; Available online: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i2050e.pdf (accessed on 30 June 2020).
- Giovarelli, R.; Richardson, A.; Scalise, E. Gender and Collectively Held Land: Good Practices and Lessons Learned from Six Global Case Studies. Resource Equity and Landesa. 2016. Available online: https://www.landesa.org/resources/synthesis-report-gender-collectively-held-land/ (accessed on 30 June 2020).
- Bourke Martignoni, J.; Claeys, P. Without feminism there is no food sovereignty? Negotiating gender equality in the United Nations Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas. In Proceedings of the European Conference on Politics & Gender (ECPG), Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 3–6 July 2019. [Google Scholar]
- International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). Innovation in Securing Land Rights in Africa: Lessons from Experience; IIED: London, UK, 2006. [Google Scholar]
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Lemke, S.; Claeys, P. Absent Voices: Women and Youth in Communal Land Governance. Reflections on Methods and Process from Exploratory Research in West and East Africa. Land 2020, 9, 266. https://doi.org/10.3390/land9080266
Lemke S, Claeys P. Absent Voices: Women and Youth in Communal Land Governance. Reflections on Methods and Process from Exploratory Research in West and East Africa. Land. 2020; 9(8):266. https://doi.org/10.3390/land9080266Chicago/Turabian Style
Lemke, Stefanie, and Priscilla Claeys. 2020. "Absent Voices: Women and Youth in Communal Land Governance. Reflections on Methods and Process from Exploratory Research in West and East Africa" Land 9, no. 8: 266. https://doi.org/10.3390/land9080266