Land Registration and Certification vis-à-vis Women, Elders and Orphans: Evidence from Meskan District, Ethiopia

Melkamu Amsalu Workneh


The rapidly growing rural population along with scarcity of arable land has increased pressure on land in Ethiopia. So as to increase tenure security and achieve social equity, the Ethiopian government has been conducting massive rural land registration and certification. Although researches disclosed that the process has positive impact on tenure security; its effect on women, elders and orphans was not clearly studied. Therefore, this article examined the role of second level rural land registration and certification process in assuring the rights of women, elders and orphans on land in Meskan woreda*, Gurage zone of the SNNPRS**. Data were collected using key informants interview, case study and document review. Unlike the case in monogamous marriages which provide the right for women to have equal share of their possession with their husbands, the findings of this study showed that the certification process in polygamous marriages is in favor of the men. Since men in polygamous marriages were registered with both/all of their wives, and the women were registered on their respective holdings only, it provided the men to have a share on all of their possessions while it has restricted the woman's share to limited possessions. In addition, compared to the men, women are less aware on the importance of land registration and certification. As a result, lack of awareness and less bargaining power have restricted some of the women, elders and orphans from participation in the process and even those who got the certificates were abused either by their husbands, guardians or those who involved in land rent or share cropping

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