Organisation Internationale de Droit du Développement

Strengthening Women's Customary Land Rights

In Burundi, land tenure registration is the primary way for the government to deal with the large number of land disputes across the country. A series of pilot programs aimed at resolving land rights issues have been initiated in recent years. To date, however, it is unclear whether these pilot programs have had their intended effect of reducing the number of land disputes. There are also strong concerns that these pilot programs are resulting in women failing to gain recognition of their existing customary rights on the title, due to the secondary nature of women's claims to land under Burundi customary law. 

IDLO is engaged in a project with the aim of preserving and strengthening women's customary rights to land in this process. Given that customary and formal law are structured differently and that women risk losing out in the transition from one to the other, IDLO is focusing on generating community consensus around ways to preserve women's rights in the land tenure registration process, and to protect the results in subsequent community-level dispute resolution. 

Using data collected in the study, IDLO is engaging with a number of selected communities to discuss women’s customary land rights and the challenges women face in seeing these reflected in the registration process. Working with community members, IDLO will develop tools and materials and will assess their effect on outcomes for women, with a view to issuing policy recommendations. 

Find out more on IDLO's work on Land Rights.​