By Macwalter Njapteh in Yaounde
A network of Civil Society Organisation, CSOs has tabled to government through the Ministry of State Properties, Survey and Land Tenure, MINDCAF, an eight-point recommendation for the institution of a new law that favours women ownership of land.
The CSOs that have been working to raise awareness amongst women on the rights to land and the land laws in Cameroon, tabled the recommendations after a series of workshops organised by Dignity Sisters Programme, DISIP and funded by Women2030.
The Cameroon Land Tenure Ordinance of July 1974, according to the associations, has become obsolete and no longer reflects the realities with regards to women’s land rights. Such policy revisions, they recommended, should take into consideration the provisions of global instruments such as the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women, CEDAW, Maputo Protocol and Sustainable Development Goals 1 target 4 and Sustainable Development Goal 2 target 3.
While appealing for a simplified procedure for the acquisition and ownership of land by women through the use of either the grants or land acquisition options, the CSOs demanded the integration of women into traditional councils.
“This is to serve as representatives with the community leadership, thereby encouraging and promoting the acquisition of land by women within the grassroots through these community leaders,” the recommendation read.
In order to translate, vulgarise and disseminate land laws and policies to all communities, they requested that government should add up to the efforts of NGOs in the training of women on their land rights by producing manuals in the different local languages and transmitted through media outlets.
The government, they said, should equally identify, demarcate and protect grazing or farming areas to stop conflict at local levels.
They implored government to carry out more sensitisation and capacity building on harmful and oppressive cultural practices that undermine women’s rights including those that prohibit them from inheriting land or property.
To ensure women and girls empowerment, the network also urged government to strengthen and enable them to access land rights, technology and financial resources that will also improve their livelihoods.
Government, they added, should strengthen the Cameroon land policy centre resource capacity by implementing the gender strategy for the functioning of framework and guidelines on land issues in the country.
The eight-point recommendation was jointly signed by the consortium of NGOs notably; Cameroon Indigenous Women’s Forum, CAIWOF, Pathways for Women’s Empowerment and Development, PaWED, Society for Agriculture and Sustainable Development, SASDev, Women for Peace Mediation and Conflict Prevention, WPMC, Association des Acteurs de Développement, ADEV, Bridgers Association Cameroon, Sourire de Femmes, 300 Women Voices for Development, Women In Alternative Action Cameroon, Women Initiative for Restoration of Hope, WIFROH and Dignity Sisters Programme, DISIP.