Women complain limited access to land
September 5, 2017 By Joseph S. Margai
Women in Kono district have complained that they have limited opportunity to own land for both mining and farming activities.
They made the above complaint last Thursday during a dialogue forum on the 2015 National Land Policy, organised by Graceland Sierra Leone at Satta Kumba Resource Centre in Koidu town, Kono district.
Chairperson, Women’s Wing in Nimikoro Chiefdom, who doubles as wife of the paramount chief of the chiefdom, Massah Bona, said although women in the district have access to land, but many could not own them.
“Sometimes, men have been allocating land to us to farm but when it comes to ownership, we don’t have access. Ownership of land is one of the burning issues for women in Kono district. Even though authorities claim that they don’t sell land here but the token they have been demanding is not easy for women to afford,” she said.
She expressed her gratitude to Graceland Sierra Leone for taking the National Land Policy of 2015 to them, which she said gives women the mandate to own land.
Speaking on the theme “Provisions favourable to women’s access and ownership”, Graceland Director, Bondu Manyeh, said women are very active when it comes to working on the land, but continue to be deprived of owning it.
“Graceland Sierra Leone’s objective is to dialogue a way forward that can facilitate peace in areas of food production, mining, among others,” she said.
She said her organisation decided to engage stakeholders in Kono district because the National Land Policy of 2015 has not yet reach out to them, adding that they took a particular portion of the policy that has to do with women’s ownership of land, so that they would understand that there is a policy on their right to own land.
The Graceland Director said they were funded by Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) to popularise the policy particularly the portion that deals with women’s ownership of land, noting that they have plans to do the same in other districts.
Graceland Sierra Leone’s Program Manager, Ben Ariko, said they are implementing a 12- month project called “Climate Adaptation Project (CAP)” which is funded by OSIWA and that the objective is to promote food security so that people would have access to food.
“The world is experiencing climate change as we are seeing and hearing about flooding and mudslide everywhere, with all of them destroying our crops and leading to food insecurity. Sometimes, the farmer would expect to have bumper yield but the rain comes little or sometimes very much and whatever the situation, it has serious effect on the crops,” he said.
He noted that there were too much greenhouse gases in the air from smokes that emanate from factories in advance countries and in most cases, poorer nations suffer the consequences.
“By this kind of climate change, we should put mechanism in place to improve our agricultural patterns. Women and youth, who mostly work on the farm, have no limited access to land and this must change,” he said.
He added that they need more partners so as to make the country more resilient to climate change and access to food.
Speaker, Gbense chiefdom, Kono district, Chief A.M Kamanda, said 35% of women in the district have access to land.
He said the problem they have been facing is that whenever people identify land to farm, mining companies claim concession and that has seriously undermine food security in the district.
All the participants of the dialogue forum asked Graceland Sierra Leone to make available the National Land Policy to all of them so that they could read and understand it properly.