Women farmers of Adiepena learn about registering land in Ghana

| July 5, 2021

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Like this edition’s Farmer story from Uganda, our Script of the Week focuses on land and land rights.

Land is a key resource for African women, a resource on which their income and livelihoods depend. Most women rely on land for their livelihoods and are responsible for a good proportion of agricultural production. In sub-Saharan Africa, women make up nearly 50% of agricultural workers. But many are either landless or have limited and insecure rights to land. The central role that rural women play in agriculture means that the insecurity of their land rights threatens their well-being—and that of their children and communities.

For rural women, access and control of land resources can lead to wealth, while lack of access and control can lead to poverty. Securing women’s land rights is therefore important for improving the status of women in society, as well as improving general economic and social development.

When they are not fighting for land, women are more likely to invest money, labour, and other resources in farm activities that can earn them an income. They are also more likely to preserve the land they farm by practicing environmentally-friendly farming methods that save water and keep the soil healthy. Indeed, an increasing amount of research is finding that including women in political decision-making about land-based resources can result in better use and management of resources because women bring new ideas and fresh perspectives on ways that resources can be managed.

Traditionally, most African communities grant men total control of land and discriminate against women owning and controlling land. Women are able to access land only through male relatives. This results in conflicts over land and the resolutions of these conflicts often burden women more so than men.

In 2020, women are still disadvantaged in their access to land and their ability to make decisions about      the land they use. Much more needs to be done by women and their allies to successfully demand their rights. Some progress has been made. There are now more policies, land laws, and constitutions that promote secure land rights for women. But many of these measures have not been fully implemented. A greater political push is needed to ensure that women are placed at the centre of land use and management in their communities.

In this drama, the women of a fictional community called Adiepena have poor access to land. Faced with many uncertainties, they can only farm on lands given to them by men. But the women come together with determination to fight. They learn about their right to own lands and take the necessary steps to gain their independence from the men. The play focuses on educating women on how to register their lands through deed registration. The women also learn about the family land system and how to lawfully acquire family lands and to secure their lands by registering them at the District Lands Commission.

Please note that some of the scenes in this drama contain very detailed information about owning, registering, and selling land in Ghana. If you air this drama, you should modify it to align with the laws and customs where you live, and also invite an expert on these issues in your country to speak and respond to questions from listeners about the subjects covered in the drama.

You could use this drama as inspiration to produce a similar program on women’s access to and control of land, and how communities can find solutions. Or you might choose to present the drama as part of your regular farmer program, using voice actors to represent the speakers.

The drama includes four scenes, varying in length from 2-3 minutes to 8-10 minutes.