ACCOLADE FOR Ms.SHAZADA BEGUM: RECOGNITION FOR ACTIVISM ON FARMERS’ LAND RIGHTS

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Photo Source: AFA-E-Bulletin

Ms. Shazada Begum, President of Kendrio Krishak Moitree (KKM) and Vice President of the Asian Farmers’ Association (AFA), has been been honored with the “RTV Alokito Nari 2017” (Enlightened Woman) award.

This is one of the most prestigious awards in Bangladesh that honors change makers like Shazada.

The private satellite TV channel RTV honored eight enlightened women marking International Women’s Day 2017.

The programme was held at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre last March 9 and the title of the programme was “Joya Alokito Nari- 2017.”

In the eight categories, eight enlightened women received awards for their contribution and they are Professor Mahfuza Khanam (Education), Farida Parvin (Music), Shujata Azim (Acting, Film), Luna Samsuddin (IT), DIG Mili Biswas (Police), Shazada Begum (Agriculture), Jubera Rahman Lini(Sports) and Sawkat Naznin Khan (Youth).

“RTV Alokito Nari” award has been going on since 2013 and this is first time they listed agriculture as one of the categories.

(With report and photos from ActionAid Bangladesh)

COMMITMENT BASED INITIATIVE – EQUAL LAND RIGHTS FOR WOMEN- ASIA REGION

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As per the Ten Commitments taken up by International Land Coalition during ILC Global Land Forum in May 2015 at Dakar, Senegal, equal land rights for women have been set as one of the ten commitments the ILC and its members adhere to as a contribution to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As a part of the follow-up, activities strengthening the issue of Women’s Land Rights have been taken up by ILC-Asia since end of December 2016. Accordingly organisations from 5 different Asian countries have set up a long term goal to take positive initiatives to ensure advocacy and awareness to initiate positive actions on behalf of the government and the local social systems in their respective situations to ensure a gradual situation of gender justice with regard to ownership, control and decision making on land and land based issues by women.

The focal organisation of the activities is Swadhina (India). Apart from this, each country has a regional Co-ordinating Organisation. Bangladesh is co-ordinated through ALRD, Nepal through CSRC, Cambodia through Star Kampuchia, Indonesia through RMI/SAINS.

(To know more on this, write to:swadhina_org@yahoo.com )

LAND REGISTRATION TO BE FREE OF COST FOR WOMEN IN JHARKHAND, INDIA

In a landmark move by the Government of Jharkhand state in India, the registration fee for land is going to be free for women. In a meeting held on 3rd of May 2017, Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Sri Raghubar Das, took a decision to do away with registration charges for property registered in the name of women.

It has been an endorsement of long-standing desire of the organisations working for women’s land rights in the area.

Swadhina working in the area specifically in the area took no time to congratulate the governement on it’s move. In a letter to the Chief Minister, Swadhina enumerated the various reasons as to why the move would benefit women’s rights in the long run.

‘Sir, your decision is a strong endorsement of the struggle for Gender Justice. We are confident that it would have a long drawn effect on the lives of women:-

  • Encourage marginal women to have land and property in their name.
  • Endorse the position of women as farmers and help establish the fact that women are equally able farmers.
  • Provide protection to women on their rights over their land
  • Combat the system of dowry effectively
  • Curb the propensity to abandon wives
  • Improve mutual understanding and dependence

We take this opportunity to express our heartiest gratitude once again to your government. We urge other state governments to emulate this example. We also express our solidarity and would request other NGOs to provide solidarity and support in reaching awareness on this to the remotest corner of Jharkhand.’

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/wealth/personal-finance-news/no-registry-fee-on-property-in-womans-name-in-jharkhand/articleshow/58527967.cms

WOMEN’S VOICES HEARD

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That women can voice their grievances and intervene to put forward what is right has once again been proved by the women of a remote village in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India.

Deoria is a small village in Udaipura district of the state. Dominated by the ‘musahar’ community,the village women have to combat poverty every day of their lives. The families being very poor have very property or land that they can call their own.

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Under such circumstances when a local contractor began digging pits for the purpose of making toilets in front of each house, the women put down their feet. It wasn’t a question of hygiene but a question of protecting the dignity of their land. The toilets being constructed in front of each house would mean the children wouldn’t have a place to play, the women wouldn’t have a space to themselves where they would cook.

Moreover, the people said that the contractor was engaged in corruption and mal practices.

SDF, which has a strong presence in the area, stood with the women of the area.  SDF’s coordinator in the area, Ms Sangeeta, explained that they were not against toilets but it is essential to understand that when people have no houses to live, there has to be a judicious use of the land available. They suggested that Community toilets could be built at the village Panchayat land and each family be handed over one toilet for personal use. That would be feasible and would make the village much clean than anticipated.

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With the support of SDF, the village women joined hand, wrote a memorandum, invited the attention of the media and compelled the officials to visit the village and probe their points. The officials were in agreement with the cause of the women, thus suspending the programme till a better planning was in place.  They promised to look into the issue seriously and take action accordingly.

SDF’s interventions in village Udaipura in district Deoria of Uttar Pradesh is already well documented by International Land Coalition under the best practices. This adds one more feather to the pride of the organisation as well as of the local women.

(Reported by: VidyaBhushan Rawat, SDF)

Capacity Building Course

APPLY NOW for the 22nd Feminist Capacity Building Course on Gender, Sustainable Livelihoods, Human Rights and Peace (2017)

XXII South Asian Feminist Capacity Building Course on

Gender, Sustainable Livelihoods, Human Rights and Peace

19 August to 15 September 2017

TEWA Center, Kathmandu, Nepal

BACKGROUND

The South Asian Feminist Capacity Building Course on Gender, Sustainable Livelihoods, Human Rights and Peace, also known as the Sangat Month Long Course, is designed to offer clarity on and a greater understanding of concepts related to gender, justice, poverty, sustainable development, peace, democracy and human rights. The course was founded in 1984. Thus far, 21 editions have been held through which more than 685 women activists and gender trainers, women’s studies teachers, journalists, lawyers, police officers, media women, and others have improved their conceptual capacities and sharpened/developed feminist perspectives. Many of these women are now in senior positions in various organizations and institutions, and many are conducting similar gender workshops and women’s studies courses in their own countries. These courses have also led to effective networking amongst participants and their organizations.

The last 21 courses were designed for women from South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka), however, participants from Ghana, Sudan, Turkey, Myanmar, Vietnam and Iran have also attended the course.

OBJECTIVES

The main objectives of the course are:

  • To create a pool of feminist activists committed to working on gender, justice, poverty, sustainable development, peace, democracy and human rights for all.
  • To facilitate intensive dialogue and experience sharing amongst women development practitioners and trainers, human rights defenders, women’s studies teachers, media women, lawyers, etcetera.
  • To offer participants an opportunity to increase their understanding of and sensitivity to a range of issues related to gender, justice, poverty, sustainable development, peace, democracy and human rights.
  • To share information about and build feminist perspectives on ongoing processes of liberalization, globalization, militarization, identity politics, conflict transformation and peace building.
  • To help participants increase their self-awareness and self-confidence, and enhance their analytical, communication, and training capacities.
  • To strengthen networking and co-operation for advocacy and action for gender, justice, poverty, sustainable development, peace, democracy and human rights in South Asia and elsewhere.
  • To strengthen women’s perspectives and movements.

PARTICIPANTS

Course participants have included non-governmental organization professionals, researchers, teachers, women’s studies teachers, artists, government officials, journalists, lawyers, trade unions representatives, among others. Applicants to the Sangat Month Long Course are required to have:

  • A background in working on issues related to gender, justice, poverty, sustainable development, peace, democracy and/or human rights;
  • A minimum of three years of work experience; and
  • A good working knowledge of spoken and written English.

The course will accept a maximum of 40 participants. Please note that this course is only open to women.

For further details  :Click

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY : A CELEBRATION BY INTERNATIONAL LAND COALITION

29 climbers from 22 countries of Africa climb up Mount Kilimanjaro to shout out one demand: Land Rights for Women- NOW! A Toolkit specially designed for Women’s Land Rights! And these are just two examples of how members of ILC have been relentlessly battling for the issue of women’s land rights.

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Photo Source:www.landcoalition.org

On 8th March 2017, International Land Coalition chose to celebrate Women’s Day in a unique way – by honouring the tireless efforts of ILC Members who work relentlessly to ensure
that women have equal access to land through it’s website.  Here is a link to that web-page. Click on the link below and read on, to know and revel in the unique ways by which ILC members across the globe, fight on to ensure equal rights to women:

http://www.landcoalition.org/en/regions/global-including-europe/news/celebration-ilc-members-international-womens-day

COMMITMENT BASED INITIATIVE ON GENDER RIGHTS: EFFORTS BY SWADHINA

Swadhina is the Focal Point of Commitment Based Initiative of Gender Rights for the Asian region. Apart from communicating with the member organisations, Swadhina as an organisation has taken up the following efforts:

1.Introductory  Planning Meet:

An Introductory Planning meet was organised on 10th of December 2016. The objective of the meet was to give the members of Swadhina Core Team, a detailed idea on the contents of the Commitment Based Initiative -4: Women’s Land Rights. 11 members, of Swadhina working group took part in the meet. At the meet Saswati and Srichandra of Swadhina shared details about the project and invited the members to provide their feedback about the project planning.

  2.Swadhina Women’s Working Group:

Swadhina had planned to form a special group as Women’s Working Group in the lines of Women’s Working Group of ILC. The group was formed through a special

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The Meeting

meet on 10.12.2016. The objective of the group is to:

-Overlook into the activities of the CBI-4: Women’s Land Rights programme.

– Discuss and present opinions, ideas and advice on the diverse issues on Women’s Land Rights at the local, regional and global level.

– Decide on issues that needs to be escalated in order to promote women’s land rights.

– Participate in meetings, events, seminars, workshops on issues pertaining to Women’s Land Rights.

– Participate in advocacy process to strengthen land rights movement.

– Monitor activities and movements related to ensuring of land and property rights of women.

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Saswati & Smita shares notes

Based on these objectives, a working group of 13 members –both men and women- have been formed. The members include women’s rights activists, women farmers, teachers, economists, communication specialists, government officers, other than member representatives of Swadhina. Smita Mukherji – a teacher and a former student leader was selected to be the convenor of the group.

3.Meet of the Swadhina Women’s Working Group:

The first meet of the group took place on 11.02.2017. Attended by 11 members of the Women’s Working Group, the meeting had the following agenda:

1) Understanding Commitment Based Initiative on Women’s Land rights

2) Discussion on Gender segregated report -I:  Study and Recommendations on Khas land in Bangladesh carried out by ALRD, Bangladesh.

3) Discussion on Gender segregated report -2:  Campaign on Joint Land Ownership of Women in Nepal undertaken by NLRF and CSRC, Nepal.

4) Discussion on Gender segregated report -3: Campaign on Land of Commons carried out by Swadhina, India.

5) Feedback and though-sharing based on the Gender Segregated Reports.

6) Process of dissemination of gender segregated report : Suggestive Proposals.

The Women’s Working Group, being represented by members of different strata of the society, it was interesting to see an amalgamation of different feedbacks and ideas.

Following the discussion on gender segregated reports, the members observed how the premises of discrimination in terms of gender and marginalized sections of the society was similar among the three countries.

It was also observed how the issue of land grabbing and corruption had similar hues when it came to the issue of Khas land in Bangladesh and Land of Commons in India – both being available land under the control of government.

The Working Group also commended the movement to ensure Joint Land Ownership of women in Nepal – especially when the constitution of the country was in an interim phase.

Highlighting the problem areas, the issues that came up were:

* Extreme lack of awareness and clarity about land laws exists at every level and among every category of population – be it a rural area or an urban city; be it a rural farmer or an urban property holder.

* Lack of proper land mapping, access to land data, land identification of land of commons, available land for distribution etc.

* Existence of extreme gender bias in any issue related to land stems from customary practices and social beliefs.

*Women’s land rights and property rights are often interconnected issues – with discrimination of one, leading to discrimination of the other.

* Many incidences of violence against women are linked to her ownership of land and property – where violence is often used as a tool of subjugation and negative branding of women.  Branding women as witch (Dain) is often a clever ploy to grab her land

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Village Voices at the Meet

The group also came up with a set of possible actions for the future to push forward the movement to ensure women’s land rights:

* It is important to use different IEC tools to promote the different land laws among the masses – especially making best use of creative forms of IEC materials.

* Ideas to enhance the land mapping, identification of Land of Commons etc can be put and pushed forward to the government level. (For e.g: the government may be advised to carry out Participatory Resource Mapping with the help of local population for land mapping; land map of an area using colour codes  for better understanding among the illiterate /less literate population may be displayed in the wall-board of every Panchayat.).

* It is very important to disseminate case studies or good practices from other areas /countries /regions among the local people as well as government policy makers. (For e.g: the studies discussed during the meet needs to reach out to the general masses as well as the government for getting a variety of perspectives on women’s land rights movement.).

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Subhadip shares MIS ideas

* There is a requirement to generate support to push forward bills, amendments, legal actions which would promote women’s right over land in a big way. (For eg. The current status of Women Farmer’s Bill 2011 may be enquired about).

* A global push for the movement is possible through a common platform and sharing and exchanging of ideas, just as this meet through which the participants got a fair idea about the situation of land rights movements in other nations.

 4)’ She-Land’: The web portal:

A web portal ‘She-Land’ has been developed as a global e-platform for sharing of knowledge and information on women’s lad rights movement across the world.

 5) Translation of  Gender Segregated Studies / Data:

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A brief on study on the Joint Land Ownership movement by CSRC and the study and recommendations on Khas land in Bangladesh is being currently translated in Hindi and Bengali for distribution to the grass-root level as well as to different member partners for their respective dissemination. Translation to Oriya and Tamil would also be undertaken soon. Copies of the studies would be sent to different NGOs/CSOs, as well as to different government organisations.

6) ‘Rights through Splash of Colours’:

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As an effort to garner interest on the issue of women’s land rights as well as to draw attention to the immense contribution of women to her land and agriculture, a series of paintings is being developed on the issue of : Women and Land. The paintings, being done by renowned artist Sri Saumitra Chowdhury , would be exhibited at different areas – with an aim to build conversations around the paintings on the issue. It would also be used as a premise to build advocacy on the issue.

 

(To know more contact: swadhina_org@yahoo.com / mainoffice.swadhina@gmail.com )

WOMEN’S WORKING GROUP

A Gender Based Working Group has already been developed through the ILC Secretariat in Rome. A call was issued among the members of ILC in the month of April 2016, inviting them to be a part of the group.

A TOR was also developed by the members of the ILC Secretariat, led by Sabine Pallas and Elisabetta Cangelosi. It was highlighted in the TOR that the objective of the working group was to:
1.FOSTER KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE

2.REINFORCE COLLABORATION

3.PRODUCE COMMON STRATEGIES
It was also decided that apart from Quarterly interactions through initiatives like Skype Calls, a biennial meeting of the group members would also be organised. Accordingly the first Skype Call  was organised in the month of July, followed by another call in October 2016 and a third one in March 2017. It gave an ample scope for the participating organisations to put forward their basic issues in relation with the working of the group.

Gradually this platform would be used for active knowledge exchange – sharing of experiences, facing challenges, strategies adopted etc. The working group would also give scope for the member organisations to identify the areas where they may collaborate with each other – for eg: addressing an issue through workshop collaborations, issuing joint statements, strengthening signature campaigns etc.

Being aware of each other’s strategic positions, it would help the organisations develop common and collaborative strategies with regard to women’s land rights.First face to face meet of a select group of members of the Working Group would take place between 4th to 6th of April 2017 at Rome. Two member representatives from each region/caucus is expected to meet and exchange experiences and ideas during the meet.

(To know more about the group contact: Elisabetta Cangelosi  (e.cangelosi@landcoalition.org) / Sabine Pallas (s.pallas@landcoalition.org)

International Women’s Day Celebration : BJSA (India)

BJSA, UP (India) organized an event on 10th March, 2017, celebrating International Women’s Day. It was also an occasion to observe Mata Savitri Bai Phule Death Anniversary. Mata Savitri Bai was the  first lady teacher in India, and she is always

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remembered for her relentless struggle for girls education. Chief speaker at this programme was Professor Dr.Indu Chaudhari BHU Varanasi and Chief Guest was Dr.Munni Bharti JNU Delhi. Over 2000 women and 250 men attended . Issues covered were education, domestic violence  and land rights for women.

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(Reported by: Vijendra Kumar, Member, Bhartiya Jan Sewa Ashram, Jaunpur UP INDIA)

Women’s Working Group Meet at Rome

A Women’s Working Group has been initiated by ILC since July 2016. The working group aims at strengthening and consolidating global activities of ILC members towards Women’s Land Rights and Gender Justice. After three Skype calls with the members, it was time for a face to face interaction of the members of the Women’s Working Group.

Between 4 April -6 April  2017 such an opportunity was offered to the members of the Working Group to come together for a meeting. The objective of the meet was:

  • Validate the ToRs for the working group and discuss how to engage most effectively:

– as a group

– with the wider ILC network

– with other partners

  • Define the role of the WG in linking commitment-based initiatives (CBIs)
  • Identify opportunities and mechanisms for peer-to-peer learning
  • Build cross-regional linkages
  • Contribute to the gender audit

9 representative members from ILC’s global partners – representing different regions and organisation were present at the meet. Sabine Pallas and Elisabetta Cangelosi were the main co-ordinators on behalf of ILC Secretariat. Also present were the members of the consultant team commissioned for Gender Audit. The primary issues discussed during this meet included:

– Understanding the objective and functioning of Women’s Working Group

– Joint vision of ILC towards ensuring Women’s Land rights and Gender Justice.

– Initiatives taken under ILC Commitment -4:Women’s Land Rights

– Using the process of Knowledge Exchange and Capacity Building to empower actions promoting Women’s Land Rights.

– Understanding the Women’s Land Rights toolkit and methods of using the toolkit as learning initiative.

– Discussing Land Rights Indicators and ILC’s Dashboard project.

Another key aspect of the meet was participation in the Gender Audit process of ILC.

The highlight of the meet was understanding the issue of women’s land rights from different perspectives from around the world. In each region, in fact, in each local area – the social systems related to women’s land rights is different. The responses and solutions are different accordingly. This is challenging as well as enriching in the way that it evokes a varied ways by which local groups, CBOs/CSOs, land rights workers respond to the situation.

However what was important was the learning that the participants got from each other. The ideas that emerged towards inter-regional learning, sharing and exchange of knowledge would go a long way in formulating long term solutions towards ensuring women’s land rights from the global point of view.

It was equally important to understand the role of Women’s Working Group towards Commitment Based Initiatives –Women’s Land Rights activities.

What was excellent of the meet was to understand the seriousness with which ILC is working as a team – Secretariat, RCUs and member organisations- in upholding the need to promote Women’s Land Rights as a key issue of the Land Rights Movement using key elements of Connect, Mobilise and Influence.. It was also an excellent scope to endorse the fact that gender balance and gender justice is pertinent to the Land Rights Movement.

Participation in the Gender Audit process also gave the participating members an opportunity to look back at the gender balance within the system and culture of their respective organisations. The interactive sessions gave a scope to understand the extent to which ILC as a coalition is gender-balanced and gender-just.

And not just the formal sessions, the informal interactions among the participants too was a wonderful to scope to connect with members from different parts of the world , who are serious about ensuring gender justice at every level.