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NATIONAL LAND COMMISSION AND KELIN HOST LAND MANAGEMENT DIALOGUES

KELIN and the National Land Commission hosted multistakeholder dialogues from 21st to 25th August 2023 in Kisumu and Homabay counties. In attendance were the County Executive Committee Members (CECM), Land registrars, Judiciary, National Government Administration Officers, Ministry of Lands, Law Society of Kenya, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, Luo Council of Elders, Community Partners, CSOs and CBOs.

Misinformation, disinformation, and lack of general knowledge on claiming and protecting land rights featured as a major impediment to equitable land management. The CECM in Kisumu in his opening remarks observed the need to apply a gendered lens and human-centered approach on land management to protect vulnerable orphans and women being denied their land rights. On the other hand, CECM Homabay indicated that lack of awareness at the grassroots level is the major cause of land injustices.  

The land state and non-state actors resolved to form respective county land networks to champion the framework developed during the dialogues. The framework developed covers monitoring of the laws implementation and contribution to the legislative processes, such as the National Land Policy that is ongoing, sensitization and creation of public awareness materials as well as creating a movement of land actors mitigation pathway on land rights violations.

To contribute to the discussions on this forum, follow KELIN on our social media platforms using the hashtag:

#StrategicPartnerships #EquitableLandRights

Twitter: @KELINKenya @SYFFKenya

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kelinkenya    https://www.facebook.com/SYFFKenya/

For more information, please contact.

Kenneth Otieno Akach

Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network on HIV & AIDS (KELIN)

Nyalenda Railways Estate, Block 9/220

Off Nairobi Road, Opposite YMCA

P.O. Box 7708| 40100 Kisumu – Kenya

Email: kotieno@kelinkenya.org

NATIONAL LAND COMMISSION AND KELIN HOST LAND MANAGEMENT DIALOGUES

KELIN and the National Land Commission have planned to jointly hold land management stakeholder dialogue from 21st to 25th August 2023 in Kisumu and Homabay counties. Recent research has shown that Kenya’s land relations are undergoing dramatic alterations. This is because of both long-term socioeconomic change and deliberate policy choices. This, therefore, poses the need to consider socially desirable orientations of change, how change should be managed, and, most significantly, how and who should make such broad decisions. In this environment, the task of improving accountability in land and investment in governance is expected to remain a crucial domain for research and action in the coming years.

It is on this basis that the dialogues are planned between state actors and non-state actors to ensure meaningful involvement of women within decision-making spaces, including local and national policymaking; discuss and prefer review for land management regimes; stock take on lived realities on implementation of equitable land laws; and create interlinkages for stakeholders engagement to ensure the enjoyment of land rights for all.

To contribute to the discussions on this forum, follow KELIN on our social media platforms using the hashtag:

#StrategicPartnerships #EqitableLandRights

Twitter: @KELINKenya @SYFFKenya

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kelinkenya    https://www.facebook.com/SYFFKenya/

For more information, please contact.

Kenneth Otieno Akach

Program Officer, Women Land & Property Rights

Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network on HIV & AIDS (KELIN)

Nyalenda Railways Estate, Block 9/220

Off Nairobi Road, Opposite YMCA

P.O. Box 7708| 40100 Kisumu – Kenya

Email: kotieno@kelinkenya.org

A Widow’s Victory in Court

Caroline Oyumbo is a widow residing in Mbita Town within Homabay County. Today she is an elated woman having won a land boundary dispute at Mbita Law Courts. On the 26th of April 2023, the Honorable Court’s decision saved Caroline’s parcel of land from being grabbed by third parties.

The journey to this success had been a long one for Mrs. Oyumbo. She was constantly harassed and intimidated for being a widow. The adverse party had threatened to take her entire parcel of land despite having already taken a portion of that said land. Caroline explained that this matter had drained her emotionally, physically, and psychologically by this matter. She reached out to KELIN for assistance. The case was assigned to an advocate who assisted Caroline in getting justice.

This victory has brought Mrs. Oyumbo so much joy. She has stated that she can now enjoy the fruits of her life-long labour. She is grateful to KELIN for the support. As an elder in her community, she has promised to pass on the knowledge to her community members, asking them to speak up against Women’s Land and Property Rights violations.

To contribute to the discussions on this forum, follow KELIN on our social media platforms using the hashtag:

#EquitableLandRights #WomenLandRights #EquitableSocialNorms

Twitter: @KELINKenya @SYFFKenya

Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/kelinkenya    https://www.facebook.com/SYFFKenya/

For more information, please contact.

Kenneth Otieno Akach

Program Officer, Women Land & Property Rights

Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network on HIV & AIDS (KELIN)

Nyalenda Railways Estate, Block 9/220

Off Nairobi Road, Opposite YMCA

P.O. Box 7708| 40100 Kisumu – Kenya

Email: kotieno@kelinkenya.org

The 2nd Lake Region Economic Block Forum on Natural Resource and Blue Economy in Kisumu

KELIN jointly with National Land Commission to convene the 2nd annual forum on Natural Resource and Blue Economy within Lake Region Economic Block (LREB). The first forum in the region was held in February 2022 and offered a platform for dialogue on a good governance gesture, aimed to provide an effective platform for sharing information, and knowledge as well as reconciling perspectives and ideas from different actors, especially the duty-bearers and the rights holders about land and natural resources management and use.  The 2nd forum’s main objectives are to build capacity and empower/induct new CECMs/Chief officers in the LREB region to manage land and natural resource portfolios in accordance with functional requirements; to take stock of the progress resulting from the initial dialogue’s action plan in Kisumu including challenges and lessons learned, and to promote sustainable land management and use of natural resources.

To contribute to the discussions on this forum, follow KELIN on our social media platforms using the hashtag:

#EquitableLandRights #WomenLandRights #EquitableSocialNorms

Twitter: @KELINKenya @SYFFKenya

Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/kelinkenya    https://www.facebook.com/SYFFKenya/

For more information, please contact.

Kenneth Otieno Akach

Program Officer, Women Land & Property Rights

Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network on HIV & AIDS (KELIN)

Nyalenda Railways Estate, Block 9/220

Off Nairobi Road, Opposite YMCA

P.O. Box 7708| 40100 Kisumu – Kenya

Email: kotieno@kelinkenya.org

Messengers in Kakamega Equipped to Drive Advocacy for Sustained Women’s Land and Property Rights

KELIN trained twenty messengers on effective communication, land, inheritance, and property rights to promote WLPR advocacy on the 30th and 31st March 2023. The knowledge build-up training attracted human rights defenders from four sub-counties of Kakamega County.

Mixed awareness and culture that is biased towards men on ownership of land were strong views that were expressed at the commencement of the training. Notably, one of the champions stated that she sort to be recruited as a police officer 4 times so that she can protect her mother and daughter after being mistreated by her father. Another messenger stated that his uncles were fighting for his father’s land stating that he is the only son but only had a daughter who do not need land. He was so thrilled that inheritance rights were covered and that the booklet on succession steps offered would guide him.

To mitigate rampant violation of women’s right to land, and inheritance reported, the messengers were encouraged to form grassroot intervention networks that they can use to sensitize their communities at the Chief’s barazas and their respective religious units. Further, as a supportive mechanism to the training, KELIN has planned mediation forums with the champions and will recruit elders to initiate the shaping of a positive outlook on women’s land and property rights. KELIN will hold a follow-up training on social norms in Kakamega to influence equitable practices that are protective of women’s rights and the security of the family’s future.

To contribute to the discussions on this forum, follow KELIN on our social media platforms using the hashtag:

#EquitableLandRights #WomenLandRights #EquitableSocialNorms

Twitter: @KELINKenya @SYFFKenya

Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/kelinkenya    https://www.facebook.com/SYFFKenya/

For more information, please contact.

Kenneth Otieno Akach

Program Officer, Women Land & Property Rights

Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network on HIV & AIDS (KELIN)

Nyalenda Railways Estate, Block 9/220

Off Nairobi Road, Opposite YMCA

P.O. Box 7708| 40100 Kisumu – Kenya

Email: kotieno@kelinkenya.org

KELIN To Conduct Messenger Training In Kakamega County

KELIN is set to train 20 messengers on the 30th and 31st March 2023 in Kakamega.

The training is aimed at enabling the messengers to address myths and attitudes around social and peer norms in order to build a movement of community champions advocating for women’s land and property rights. This training will improve communication skills, enhance their advocacy efforts at community level and provide an opportunity for to drive key messages that resonate with women’s land tenure and gender equality.

The two-day training will also serve as a link between rights holders and duty bearers who have a responsibility to protect land rights.

To contribute to the discussions on this forum, follow KELIN on our social media platforms using the hashtag:

#EquitableLandRights #WLPRights #EquitableSocialNorms

Twitter: @KELINKenya @SYFFKenya

Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/kelinkenya    https://www.facebook.com/SYFFKenya/

For more information, please contact.

Kenneth Otieno Akach

Program Officer, Women Land & Property Rights

Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network on HIV & AIDS (KELIN)

Nyalenda Railways Estate, Block 9/220

Off Nairobi Road, Opposite YMCA

P.O. Box 7708| 40100 Kisumu – Kenya

Email: kotieno@kelinkenya.org

Emily Odhiambo: When things fall apart

Have you heard of the happily ever after? To many, it is just a myth. Emily Odhiambo tells us how things fell apart and only got mended after years of deep turmoil.

Fell in love and married at 19 year of age. Abusive relationship. Husband dies. In-law wrangles around one hectare of land. No marriage certificate. Land in question was still in the late father-in-law’s name. NO WAY OUT!

When Emily talks about things falling apart, she has seen it all, and had to face it alone as she cared for their three daughters. Her husband passed away in 2009. Being of no value to her community because she only bore daughters, her fate was sealed: Re-marry or leave!

Her only surviving brother in-law claimed that Emily had 3 daughters and based on the Luo traditions, having daughters meant that she would be given just a small piece of land to survive and not the entire land that belonged to her late husband. When she opted to build a house in her late father in-law’s compound, her brother in-law constructed a house in front of hers in protest.

“I was so depressed and frustrated and almost left my piece of land because each time I asked for assistance, they demanded for a title which I didn’t have. I didn’t have any knowledge to relieve me from this situation. Some told me that the only way out was to find another husband,” she narrates.

“I didn’t want to get married again after the domestic abuse that I had experienced with my late husband. Things were great at first but after the birth of our two daughters, he began coming home late, chasing me away from home and insulting me for not bearing him sons. I fell into depression and lost a lot of weight enduring this for 6 years until his unfortunate death when our house caught fire after he kicked the tin lamp in his drunken state. This left us devastated.

For four years, Emily was stuck between a rock and hard place!

2017 marked the beginning of her access to some form of justice, when her late husband’s sister was going to campus and they had to sell a parcel of land to cater for her fees. The land was transferred from the father to her brother in-law. By sheer luck, her in-law requested her to keep the title deed and that is when she decided to photocopy it. She also searched for a surveyor who assessed the whole land and divided it before Emily went to the Lands Board.

Figure 8: Peace at last! Emily’s smile tells it all!

Having made several visits to their chief, when KELIN was seeking women to be trained for the Securing Your Family’s Future, she was nominated among those to attend. This marked the second major step to her accessing justice.

Emily admits that before the training, she had bottled up anger and frustration but the lessons she learned provided guidance for her to calmly speak with her brother in-law on the issue of dividing the land.

Having the land meant that Emily could access loans to develop herself or take her children to school. The mother of three was able to get a surveyor to split the land into two and though her brother in-law was angry at first, he took a turn for the better.

Lessons Emily learned:

  1. Register your marriage regardless of how young you are when you get married
  2. Have conversations with your partner to ensure you both make a will to protect each other and secure your children’s future
  3. Co-register your land as husband and wife to prevent the kind of turmoil wives and children encounter when husbands and fathers die.
  4. Spread the word to other women to encourage positive conversations that contribute to family harmony.

Figure 9: Emily working in her garden

When things fall apart, be ready to dust off and try again. Emily did this in spite of her extremely devastating experience that lasted years! Now on the other side of her story, she shares with the women in her women’s group of 24 women – Doro Chama where they meet weekly to discuss and learn different issues of interest around securing their families’ futures.

Thomas Dulo: The Peacemaker from Oasi Ondiko

Remember the story of the great Luanda Magere?

Well, it seems to have a recurrent semblance with the story of one of our champions. The land conflict between the Luo and Nandi communities has since ages past never been fully settled, after that wife – the second wife of Luanda Magere – the gift from the Nandi community deceived him into defeat.

Thomas Dulo is among other peace negotiators working for the reconciliation of the two community groups and has done this for 9 years to date. It was here that he was chosen to represent the men and attend the KELIN training dubbed, Securing Your Family’s Future (SYFF) whose purpose is to transform and promote change in peer norms to influence women land tenure.

Hailing from the Oasi Ondiko Ward in Kisumu, Thomas grew up with the belief and conviction that men and only men could own land and make any decisions related to land. His wife was only an observer of decisions made around family property matters.

Thomas skips all the details of his past ways and immediately jumps into telling us how the SYFF training has impacted his outlook to family life and his responsibility as a husband and father.

Figure 5: SYFF Training for men attended by Thomas Dulo

What was the SYFF training about?

The training focused on changing the social norms on women’s land tenure which has been negatively affected over the years by the misapplication of culture resulting in the violation of women’s land rights. Learning this helped me to come out of the gender box and has slowly transformed my perception on women.

Figure 6: Thomas Dulo and his wife

What was your highlight lesson?

One of the main lessons I took with me was the disturbing issue of making a will. In my culture, making a will is considered a taboo, whereby it is seen to be an invitation to death. What I heard during the training however, made me realize that the will is a safeguard for my family in case I pass on and leave them behind. I carefully prepared a will including my wife and daughters who would otherwise not benefit from being my people, because they are women. That would be a very painful event to witness, so I instead chose to secure my family’s future.

Figure 7: The Dulo family smiles at their secure future

I also had the opportunity to apply the lessons to mediating a family land conflict between my brothers. My brothers accepted to split our family the land in a peaceful manner and each is in the process of co-registering their parcel of land with their respective wives.

What do you want your fellow community members to know?

I intend to share this knowledge with my community members and more o through the church, because I believe there will be more impact in the community. I was once ignorant about these things, but because of KELIN, I now know what it means to be a champion in securing the future of families!