Women’s access to land tenure rights: key steps towards climate justice in DRC

480 women advocates in DRC were trained to change the land and forest law to guarantee land tenure rights for women, via policy dialogues at the province level and participatory mapping in forest communities. All thanks to an amazing woman, Dorothee Lisenga, who, along with the NGO CFLEDD, organised dialogues on women’s inheritance rights between customary chiefs, local and indigenous women. This resulted to huge successes in women’s access to land and forest rights of women in the provinces of Equateur and Maindombe of DRC. In 2018 she was the winner of the Gender Just Climate Solutions Award in the category Transformational Solutions.

Women’s formal access to land rights contributes to the fight against deforestation and is a key step towards climate justice

According to a 2016 study, 70% of women in DRC, Democratic Republic of Congo, did until recently not have access to land and forest titles.  CFLEDD conducted a study on women’s land use and held Multi stakeholder dialogues with public authorities and traditional chiefs, to convince them to reform the land tenure decrees, so as to give women land tenure rights.

The NGO reached a milestone in granting women access to land through the adoption of ground breaking new land and forest legislation in 8 provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Engaging 480 trained women advocates in participatory mapping and dialogues with customary chiefs, community members, and local authorities, they overthrew one of the biggest barriers to women’s participation in climate action. Their work also supports women farmers in developing agroforestry activities (planting fruit-trees, acacias, small livestock) and in identifying illegal industrial activities. Promoting ancestral knowledge, they empower indigenous women and improve food security.

“We need to address the legal system that is rooted in colonial and patriarchal thinking.” Dorothée Marie Lisenga

CFLEDD challenges patriarchal norms and customary laws which prevent women from accessing propriety rights to land. The organisation strives for the recognition of women’s land and forest rights in the provinces of Equateur and Maindombe of the DRC, with the aim to strengthen their e!ective participation in reducing deforestation. An advocacy tool has been built and is used in dialogues between local and indigenous women, customary chiefs and provincial authorities. Recommendations resulting from these dialogues have led to the adoption of 2 provincial edicts that guarantee land and forest rights for women. This transforms the country’s patriarchal framework, while strengthening the role and decision-making power of women in DRC’s forest management policies for climate action.

CFLEDD transforms the law, ensuring land tenure rights for women!

What’s special about this project is that:

  • the successful Trainer of  Trainer programme unifies women of different ethnicities engaging in a common fight for their rights. The constructive dialogues involve all community members and customary chiefs and enable new land rights for women.
  • the project led to the adoption of new legislation with official land titles granted to women. The new land owners have demonstrated their ability to implement climate mitigation and adaptation activities.

More information on the project can be found here