How local rules can promote inclusive land governance in Tanzania

Growing commercial interests, population growth and conservation initiatives are increasing competition for land in Tanzania. At the same time, land-related conflicts are on the rise. These trends undermine livelihoods by threatening rural people’s access to land and tenure security. Women tend to be disproportionately affected as available land diminishes, disadvantaged by weak land rights and limited participation in decision-making processes. Alongside gender-discriminatory practices, rural populations’ slim knowledge of land governance further jeopardises women’s access to land and tenure security, as their existing rights go unrecognised. To address this, an approach that supports communities to adopt village bylaws has been trialled, with promising results. The participatory development of local rules that are inclusive and ‘gender sensitive’ helps to promote stronger and more equitable land governance, by clarifying processes at local level and ensuring both men and women are involved in making decisions on land issues.

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