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Land rights deny women the chance to address climate change

Alice Amana prepares millet crops at Natirai farm in Loima, Turkana County, on July 19, 2022. [Peter Ochieng, Standard]

Cultural beliefs that deny women land rights are to blame for adverse climate change affecting them.

Speaking in Meru town during a sensitisation forum organised by the Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (Pelum Kenya) Association, the women drawn from the region lamented how they are denied the right to own land. 

Doris Gakii, from North Imenti, narrated how she was denied the right to inherit her family’s land.

Gakii said she wanted to grow trees and other crops and in return, fight climate change.

“Women are more affected by climate change since we spend more time than men on farms, searching for firewood for cooking and looking for water for domestic purposes. Unfortunately, many of us are denied the right to own land, yet we know how best to use the land,” she said.

Caroline Gacheri said women can contribute to food security and environmental conservation if they owned land.

“Even in the family set-up, women have no say what should be grown on the farms. We have no voice, yet it is women who suffer more when men cut trees. They enjoy sole authority on land use yet it is women who suffer in the long run,” she said.

Pelum Kenya’s Benson Isohe said the organisation was advocating for equal land rights and sustainable land use, to promote climate conservation.

“We want women and youth to make their contribution to reducing the impact of climate change. It is women who grow the food we consume but in some family set-ups, we have patriarchal norms that deny them their land rights,” said Mr Isohe.

Isohe said women had knowledge of good land use and contribution to climate change mitigation.

“We are appealing to county and national governments to promote land rights for women,” he said.