By Anthony Apubeo, GNA
Bolgatanga, Nov. 7, GNA – The Network for Women’s Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT), a Civil Society Organization (CSO), has held a sensitization programme in Bolgatanga for stakeholders, on the new Land Bill and its provisions with regards to gender responsiveness.
The 30-month project under the theme, “Addressing Systematic Barriers to enhance Gender Equality and Social Inclusion in Land Governance”, is being implemented at every region in the country in partnership with NETRIGHT’s regional focal points and LAWA (Ghana) Alumnae Incorporated (LAWA-Ghana).
It is being supported by STAR-Ghana with funding from UKAid, DANIDA and the European Union (EU).
The project, is intended to engage duty bearers on gender gaps in land governance and mobilize support for the passage of a Gender Equality and Social Inclusion responsive Land Bill and further contribute to evidence-based advocacy for gender and social inclusion reforms in the land sector to protect livelihoods of rural women farmers.
The Land Bill, 2018 that had been laid before parliament, is aimed at consolidating and harmonizing all the 166 existing laws on land to regulate land use and enhance effective land management in the country. NETRIGHT and its partners are therefore interested in how the Bill could address land rights and interests of women and the socially excluded like Persons With Disability (PWDs).
Madam Patricia Blankson Akakpo, the Programme Manager of NETRIGHT, said women’s easy access, control and ownership of lands were critical factors in addressing inequalities associated with the land sector.
“There are several socio-cultural issues relating to land and land governance in Ghana and women play limited role within that context. In some communities, women have limited access to land as compared to men.
In the area of spousal property rights the female spouse tends to be denied of her right to jointly acquired landed property in spite of Article 22 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana that required equity in the sharing of such properties”, she said.
Mr Richard Adazabra, the Legal Aid Officer of the Upper East Regional Legal Aid Scheme, who took the participants through some of the provisions of the Land Bill, said the bill when passed into law had the potential of reducing poverty especially within the Northern part of the country.
He said the Bill would be consolidated into one form and the provisions would break all the barriers and unethical practices limiting the vulnerable in society including the poor, disadvantaged, PWDs from accessing land for agriculture activities.
“The bill has important provisions that will make women co-owners or owners of land. When one is seeking to register a piece of land acquired in the course of marriage, one must include the names of the two in the marriage”, he said.
The Bill, will empower the traditional authorities and the Lands Commission to identify individual and family lands as well as ensure that lands are properly demarcated and registered and that would help the poor to have their lands registered.
The programme brought together about 40 stakeholders drawn from women’s groups, CSOs, trade unions, traditional authorities, socially excluded groups, government agencies, farmer groups and the media among other critical actors in the Upper East Region.