Land rights

Campaigning for secure land tenure and equal property rights

Fighting for secure land tenure and property rights

Advocacy is another means we use to assist families in need of safe and decent homes, campaigning for legal changes in government policy and practice in order to promote affordable housing as well as equal land and property rights for everyone.

Slums by the number:

  • 1 in 3 urban dwellers in the developing world live in slums
  • 1 billion people live in slums (that’s 1 in 7 people on the planet!)
  • 1 billion new houses are needed by 2020 to accommodate 50 million new urban dwellers per year.
  • 2 billion people will live in slums by 2030

Read more about our slum rehabilitation work

What is secure tenure

Secure tenure refers to the ability to use and control the use of land without the fear of eviction or penalty. It’s the peace of mind of knowing that your home won’t be taken away without warning.

Having safe land tenure is a huge incentive for residents to make sustainable and long-lasting improvements to their home. In other words, people invest in their own home and in their community – because they know that their homes won’t be unexpectedly taken away from them.

Gender equality

Women make up more than half the global population, produce the majority of the global food supply and perform 60-80% of the agricultural work in developing countries, and yet they own significantly less titled land than men worldwide.

Despite recent progress in some countries, women continue to face significant legal and social obstacles to enjoying the full and direct benefits of land reform programmes because of discriminatory laws and norms with regards to land ownership, titling and inheritance.

Whoever owns the land calls the shots. Women inheriting land and gaining title is rare — too rare — especially when constitutions across the world say both men and women are equal.Lynette Injette, country director, Habitat for Humanity Kenya

Why campaign for women’s property rights?

  • Families headed by single mothers are considered among the most at risk both socially and economically. The situation is even worse if they lack secure tenure to their home.
  • A huge portion of women still face discrimination from unfair laws that prevent them from owning land.
  • Women tend to share the benefit of improved tenure security with the whole family, which is especially important for creating a more stable environment for their children

Solid Ground

The launch of our three-year campaign in 2016 aims to promote access to land for shelter for 10 million people…

The launch of our three-year campaign in 2016 aims to promote access to land for shelter for 10 million people around the world was a historic moment for our advocacy work and the culmination of years of planning.

The Solid Ground campaign aims to address all of these challenges by focusing on four key subthemes:

  • Secure tenure
  • Gender equality
  • Slum upgrading
  • Disaster resilience

Challenges involving access to land — or space to live — differ from country to country and region to region. In the United States, for example, whether on the first or 41st floor, many families struggle to find affordable space to live.

Solid Ground also seeks to empower women both politically and socially, especially when it comes to land rights and land policies.

Our advocacy efforts are always evidence-based, well-informed, cooperative (working alongside local communities) and nonpartisan – never promoting individual candidates or political parties.

Fighting for land rights worldwide

  • In Kenya, even where written laws dictate otherwise, discriminatory practices around property ownership leave women without the security that homeownership provides
  • In Nepal, people still struggle to return to their land after recent earthquakes
  • In Brazil, families living in slums are being evicted from their homes because they can’t get legal title, even to a place they’ve occupied for years
  • In South Africa, residents of informal settlements want to improve their land and their homes, but need to first know that they can stay to enjoy the improvements

The global campaign involves the efforts of a growing list of national Habitat organisations, already including Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Cote d’Ivoire, Lesotho, Kenya, Macedonia, Mexico, Nepal, Northern Ireland, Philippines, Poland, South Africa and Zambia.

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