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Gendered Access and Control Over Land and Water Resources in the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania

by A. N. Sikira and J. J. Kashaigili 

This paper assessed the gendered access and control over land and water, using the Ihemi cluster of the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) as a study area. Specifically, the paper answered the question on how decisions are made between men and women over land and water in the SAGCOT area, as well as how access and control over land and water is conducted. Data for this paper was drawn from the baseline study which was conducted for the project known as Laying Foundation for Effective Landscape-level Planning for Sustainable Development (LiFELand). A cross-sectional research design was used, whereby a questionnaire was administered to 167 women and 440 men. In addition, focus group discussions and key informant interviews were also conducted to complement and allow triangulation of data. Quantitative data was analyzed descriptively; while, qualitative data was analyzed using content analysis. In general, the results show that female headed households accounted for more than a quarter of the surveyed households; the number was slightly higher in the Njombe region. Results further show that women had no control over land and water as important productive resources in rural areas. The results also show that a larger proportion of both men and women had no right of occupancy over the land they owned hence their inability to use it as collateral in accessing loans from formal financial institutions. The paper therefore recommends efforts be made to empower women, hence enabling them to actively participate in decision-making, particularly regarding land and water. Equitable decision-making power can immensely enhance ecosystem conservation and sustainable utilization over land and water as women are the major actors in agriculture. To achieve gender equality there is a need for awareness creation for both men and women using gender sensitive programs that will allow not only equality in use but a sustainable utilization of Land and Water as important natural resources in the SAGCOT (Southern Agriculture Growth Corridor) areas.

Article published in JNRD