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Cameroon

Cultivating Gender Insensitive Land Tenure Reforms and Harvesting Food Insecurity in Cameroon, Sub-Saharan Africa

Citation:

Bachange, Enchaw Gabriel. 2020. “Cultivating Gender Insensitive Land Tenure Reforms and Harvesting Food Insecurity in Cameroon, Sub-Saharan Africa.” African Journal on Land Policy and Geospatial Sciences 3 (1): 67–79.

Author: Enchaw Gabriel Bachange

Abstract:

Effective reform pathways for addressing women’s access to land and tenure security in Africa are yet to be found despite their role in feeding the population. With the adoption of the AU Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges in Africa (2009) and the launch of the African Land Policy Centre (2017), hopes were high that existing precarious women’s access to land, tenure and food security might be transformed to opportunities. Prevailing discourses, however, still advocate for land reforms attuned to gender equality with a neo-classical chord. Gender parity-oriented reforms are less rubost and prone to producing ambivalent outcomes vis-à-vis women’s tenure challenges and aggravate food importation. This study uses evidence from two communities in Cameroon, and Africa to show that gender-sensitive land tenure reforms are crucial in the strive to guaranteeing women’s access to, control and land transfer for appropriate use and for bringing the second High 5s to fruition.

Keywords: food importation, food security, tenure security, women, land access, gender

Topics: Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights, Security, Food Security Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Cameroon

Year: 2020

Gender Inequality and Land Rights: The Situation of Indigenous Women in Cameroon

Citation:

Njieassam, Esther Effundem. 2019. “Gender Inequality and Land Rights: The Situation of Indigenous Women in Cameroon”. PER: Potchefstroomse Elektroniese Regsblad 22 (1): 1–33.

Author: Esther Effundem Njieassam

Abstract:

Land is an essential resource that serves as a means of subsistence for millions of people in the world and indigenous communities and women in particular. Most indigenous societies' survival is closely tied to land. In Cameroon, indigenous women are the backbone of food production in their communities. That makes access to land important, as it is a significant source of wealth and power for indigenous peoples in general and indigenous women in particular. While women all over the world encounter gender-based discrimination in relation to the control and ownership of land, indigenous women face triple discrimination on the basis of their gender (as women), their ethnicity (as indigenous peoples) and their economic class (economically poor). They are often dehumanised, degraded and subjected to treatment as second-class human beings despite the existence of national legislation that discourages such practices. This paper interrogates the possibility of including indigenous women in government and decision-making processes in Cameroon in the hope that they may be involved in key decision-making processes that affect them, thereby reducing their economic and social vulnerability. It concludes with some thoughtful recommendations on policy reform aimed at ensuring access to land for indigenous women as well as socio-economic justice in its broadest sense. 

Keywords: indigenous women, gendered-based discrimination, land rights, gender inequality, decision-making, participation, Cameroon

Topics: Class, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Indigenous, Rights, Indigenous Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights, Security, Food Security Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Cameroon

Year: 2019

Determinants of Ecofeminism in Anglophone Cameroon: A PESTECH Analysis

Citation:

Njoh, Ambe J., and Elisabeth N. M. Ayuk-Etang. 2020. “Determinants of Ecofeminism in Anglophone Cameroon: A PESTECH Analysis.” Journal of Asian and African Studies. doi:10.1177/0021909620970571.

Authors: Ambe J. Njoh, Elisabeth N. M. Ayuk-Etang

Abstract:

This paper analyzes ecofeminism operationalized as the relationship between women and the natural environment. It treats ecofeminism as context-dependent and not a universal construct as suggested in the literature. It focuses on the political, economic, social, technological, ecological, cultural and historical (PESTECH) context of ecofeminism in Anglophone Cameroon, a polity with a unique pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial experience. Each dimension is shown to impact women–nature relations in its own unique way. This underscores the need to be more discerning and attentive to context in any analysis of ecofeminism.
 

Keywords: Anglophone Cameroon, ecofeminism, women-nature relations, feminism, gender-based discrimination, political, economic, social, technological, ecological, cultural and historical (PESTECH) context, environmental scanning model

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Environment, Feminisms, Ecofeminism, Gender, Women Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Cameroon

Year: 2020

Vulnerability and Resilience of Female Farmers in Oku, Cameroon, to Climate Change

Citation:

Azong, Matilda, Clare J. Kelso, and Kammila Naidoo. 2018. "Vulnerability and Resilience of Female Farmers in Oku, Cameroon, to Climate Change." African Sociological Review / Revue Africaine de Sociologie 22 (1): 31-53. 

Authors: Matilda Azong, Clare J. Kelso, Kammila Naidoo

Abstract:

ENGLISH ABSTRACT:
The experience of climate change is filtered through ones existing cultural, social and economic vulnerabilities. The rural poor in natural resource dependent communities in various African countries are likely to be negatively affected by climate change. In many cultures female farmers are considerably worse off than their male counterparts. This study makes use of a life history methodology in order to examine the particular nature of the vulnerability experienced by rural women in Oku in the Bamenda Highlands region of Cameroon. Gender is linked to vulnerability through a number of factors. These include access to and control over land, division of labour, marriage relationships, access to education and responsibility for dependents. Participants’ life histories show how vulnerability in the region develops over time and is both complex and non-linear. Nevertheless, the participants expressed how they used their agency, both individual and collective, in coping with vulnerability. They narrate different adaptation strategies employed including livelihood diversification, and changing farming practices. Understanding the role of gender in shaping women’s vulnerability is useful in informing the design and implementation of adaptation policies. This article makes an empirical contribution to the discussions on the need to engender climate change research, policy and actions.
 
FRENCH ABSTRACT:
L’expérience du changement climatique est filtrée à travers les vulnérabilités culturelles, sociales et économiques existantes. Les ruraux pauvres des communautés dépendantes des ressources naturelles dans divers pays africains sont susceptibles d’être négativement affectés par le changement climatique. Dans de nombreuses cultures, les agricultrices sont nettement moins bien loties que leurs homologues masculins. Cette étude utilise une méthodologie d’histoire de vie afin d’examiner la nature particulière de la vulnérabilité des femmes rurales à Oku dans la région des hautes terres de Bamenda au Cameroun. Le genre est lié à la vulnérabilité à travers un certain nombre de facteurs. Ceux-ci comprennent l’accès et le contrôle de la terre, la division du travail, les relations matrimoniales, l’accès à l’éducation et la responsabilité des personnes à charge. Les histoires de vie des participants montrent comment la vulnérabilité dans la région se développe avec le temps et est à la fois complexe et non linéaire. Néanmoins, les participants ont expliqué comment ils ont utilisé leur agence, individuelle et collective, pour faire face à la vulnérabilité. Ils décrivent différentes stratégies d’adaptation utilisées, y compris la diversification des moyens de subsistance et l’évolution des pratiques agricoles. Comprendre le rôle du genre dans la détermination de la vulnérabilité des femmes est utile pour éclairer la conception et la mise en œuvre des politiques d’adaptation. Cet article apporte une contribution empirique aux discussions sur la nécessité d’engendrer des recherches, des politiques et des actions sur le changement climatique.
 

Keywords: vulnerability, Cameroon, gender, life history, climate, resilience

Topics: Agriculture, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Gender Analysis, Women, Land Tenure, Livelihoods, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Cameroon

Year: 2018

Investigating Community Constructed Rural Water Systems in Northwest Cameroon: Leadership, Gender and Exclusion

Citation:

Tantoh, Henry, and Tracey Mckay. 2020. "Investigating Community Constructed Rural Water Systems in Northwest Cameroon: Leadership, Gender and Exclusion." International Development Planning Review 42 (4): 455-78.

Authors: Henry Tantoh, Tracey Mckay

Abstract:

Many rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa have a long history of community cooperation and local-led development projects harnessed to improve the delivery of water services. This study examined issues of local leadership across various community-built rural water supply (CBRWS) in the Mbengwi, Njinikom and Ndu districts of Northwest Cameroon. The study found that where there was an absence of public water supplies, coupled with high levels of rural poverty, CBRWS projects were able to ensure a water supply lifeline. These projects were effective in communities where local leadership structures were strong, due to their ability to ensure high levels of community participation. Such communities experienced improved welfare and enhanced quality of life. Thus, involving community members in issues concerning their own development, coupled with good local-level leadership are crucial aspects of successful rural development projects. The study also found that, in all cases, local leadership was patriarchal and exclusionary. Labour, cash and in-kind support were donated by the residents but women and youths did not have a voice to participate in decisions relating to the community projects conferred upon them. Thus, community participation in these projects cannot be equated with promoting grassroots or participatory democracy. Rather it reinforced traditional hegemonies.

Topics: Age, Youth, Agriculture, Civil Society, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Cameroon

Year: 2020

Women’s Land Rights in Africa: Does Implementation Match Policy?

Citation:

Sulle, Emmanuel, Sue Mbaya, Barbara Codispoti, Josephine Atananga, Bernard Moseti, and Leah Mugehera. 2019. “Women’s Land Rights in Africa: Does Implementation Match Policy?” Paper presented at Conference on Land Policy in Africa, 2019: Winning the fight against Corruption in the Land Sector: Sustainable Pathway for Africa’s Transformation, Abidjan, November 25-29.

Authors: Emmanuel Sulle, Sue Mbaya, Barbara Codispoti, Josephine Atananga, Bernard Moseti, Leah Mugehera

Abstract:

This paper assesses the performance of selected countries in implementing the provisions of women’s land rights instruments such as African Union Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa and the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure among others. Field research was carried out in seven African countries whereby, in each country a national researcher in collaboration with the collaborating nongovernmental organisation selected three heterogeneous locations which capture the range of situations under which rural women use land. Based on field research results complemented with desk review, the study finds that while statutory laws to protect women land rights are in place in all studied countries, with some differences and, in some cases with existing loopholes, adherence to these laws at the community level remain inadequate. This is particularly evident in terms of equality of rights to inherit land among men and women. Women experience constant threat from clansmen and relatives of their husbands. As also documented elsewhere, in many African communities (although not all), most land-holding systems are male lineage based, with men playing an important decision-making role. Malawi represents a specific case in this regard, as most land-holdings are based on matrilineal systems, but this still is not an automatic guarantee of women having more decision-making power on land. Based on these findings the paper confirms that while impressive steps to address women’s land rights issues have been taken in recent African policies, law enforceability is yet to receive sufficient political backing, due to widespread patriarchal values, limited financial and human resources and last but not least informal rules of the games that are the same drivers of widespread corruption. Patronage, ‘clientage’, illegality and opacity of land transactions find fertile ground in a patriarchal system. Understanding the status, causes and consequences of the de facto ‘unenforceability’ of constitutional and legal provisions in favour of women might shed a light on much broader challenges like those addressed in this conference. Holistic implementation and reforms that 1) address existing loopholes in land laws and regulation, 2) align other sectoral policies, laws and regulations, and 3) use transformative actions to revert patriarchal values in order to bridge the gender gap in property rights, but also to help creating a fairer environment to contribute combating corruption.

Topics: Corruption, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Hierarchies, Land Tenure, Governance, Constitutions, NGOs, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa Countries: Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Togo

Year: 2019

Land Grabbing: A Gendered Understanding of Perceptions and Reactions from Affected Communities in Nguti Subdivision of South West Cameroon

Citation:

Ndi, Frankline A. 2019. “Land Grabbing: A Gendered Understanding of Perceptions and Reactions from Affected Communities in Nguti Subdivision of South West Cameroon.” Development Policy Review 37 (3): 348–66.

Author: Frankline A. Ndi

Abstract:

This article examines the political economic processes and gendered consequences involved in large‐scale land acquisition (LSLA ) in rural South West Cameroon. The study adopts a gender‐disaggregated approach to data collection to understand local perceptions and reactions to LSLA in the region. It shows how traditional cultural prescriptions have combined with contemporary land laws to masculinize power over land to the detriment of women. It argues that although men and women are both affected by LSLA projects, the impacts are much greater for women because what the state considers “empty land” is used by them to secure household food security. Second, it argues that amid societal discrimination over land‐ownership rights, perceived gender differences between men and women appear “rational” in the event of LSLA —men follow their ascribed roles in overt reactions, women being more covert and much less vocal in land‐related contests. New policies that promote rural women's land rights will not only empower them during land struggles, they will also provide communities with greater security to sustain ecologically viable livelihoods.

Keywords: Cameroon, feminist political ecology, gender perceptions and reactions, land grabbing, large-scale land acquisition, rural livelihoods

Topics: Gender, Masculinity/ies, Land Grabbing, Livelihoods, Political Economies, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights, Security, Food Security Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Cameroon

Year: 2019

Mainstreaming Gender in the Process of Large-Scale Land Acquisitions for Agro-Investment in Cameroon

Citation:

Fonjong, Lotsmart. 2019. “Mainstreaming Gender in the Process of Large-Scale Land Acquisitions for Agro-Investment in Cameroon.” In Natural Resource Endowment and the Fallacy of Development in Cameroon, 215-42. Mankon, Bamenda: Langaa RPCIG.

Author: Lotsmart Fonjong

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Gender Mainstreaming, Land Grabbing Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Cameroon

Year: 2019

Left out but Not Backing down: Exploring Women’s Voices against Large-Scale Agro-Plantations in Cameroon

Citation:

Fonjong, Lotsmart. 2017. “Left out but Not Backing Down: Exploring Women’s Voices against Large-Scale Agro-Plantations in Cameroon.” Development in Practice 27 (8): 1114–25.

Author: Lotsmart Fonjong

Abstract:

ENGLISH ABSTRACT:
This article examines the situation of women around agro-plantations which have taken over their farmlands in the South-West Region of Cameroon through large-scale land acquisitions, and how they have sought popular redress. Based on a survey and focus group discussion among affected women, the findings revealed that women are generally left out of large-scale land acquisition processes. They complained of displacement from their farms and traditional forest resources, which has negative effects on their livelihoods and lifestyles. Despite women’s constrained situation, they have risen collectively against marginalisation, failed promises, and injustices through protests and defiance, achieving some successes in their demands for recognition and compensation.

FRENCH ABSTRACT:
Cet article examine la situation des femmes dont les terres agricoles ont été acquises par les plantations agro-industrielles lors d'acquisitions foncières à grande échelle dans la Région Sud-Ouest du Cameroun, et comment elles ont cherché à obtenir réparation. Basés sur une enquête et des groupes de discussion thématique, les résultats ont révélé que les femmes concernées sont généralement exclues des processus d'acquisition foncière à grande échelle. Malgré leur situation contraignante, les femmes se sont soulevées collectivement contre leur marginalisation, les promesses non tenues et les injustices subies par elles à travers des manifestations et des actes de défiance, jusqu'à obtenir certains succès pour leurs exigences de reconnaissance et de compensation.

SPANISH ABSTRACT:
El presente artículo examina la situación de mujeres que habitan en zonas cercanas a plantas agroindustriales que, a través de adquisiciones de tierra a gran escala, han acaparado sus tierras en la región suroeste de Camerún. Asimismo, aborda cómo estas mujeres han solicitado reparaciones. La aplicación de una encuesta y la realización de discusiones entre mujeres afectadas en grupos de enfoque, revelan que éstas generalmente son excluidas de los procesos de adquisición de tierra a gran escala. Debido a ello reclaman haber sido desplazadas de sus parcelas agrícolas y de sus recursos forestales tradicionales, lo que ha producido efectos dañinos tanto en sus medios de vida como en sus estilos de vida. A pesar de la difícil situación que enfrentan, las mujeres se han movilizado colectivamente —a través de protestas y resistencias— en contra de la marginación, las promesas incumplidas y las injusticias, logrando algunos avances en sus demandas de reconocimiento y compensación.

Keywords: Sub- Saharan Africa, gender and diversity, Rights

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Women, Land Grabbing, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Cameroon

Year: 2017

Institutional, Economic and Socio-Cultural Factors Accounting for Gender-based Inequalities in Land Title Procurement in Cameroon

Citation:

Njoh, Ambe J., Liora Bigon, Erick O.Ananga and Richard A. Ayuk-Etang. 2018. "Institutional, Economic and Socio-Cultural Factors Accounting for Gender-based Inequalities in Land Title Procurement in Cameroon." Land Use Policy 78: 116-25.

Authors: Ambe J. Njoh, Liora Bigon, Erick O.Ananga, Richard A. Ayuk-Etang

Abstract:

The study identifies and analyzes factors causing women to procure fewer land titles than men in Cameroon. It employs a qualitative approach, and an analytical framework grounded in feminist thought. The identified factors are analyzed under five broad categories as follows: institutional impediments, indigenous culture, received culture, productive and reproductive roles of women, and economic constraints. The analysis ends with a number of policy recommendations prominent among which are the following: drastically reducing the cost, number of agencies and steps involved in the land title application process; employing informal channels of communication to disseminate information on land; and maintaining office hours that take into account the tight schedules of women. The study holds lessons for land reform initiatives not only in Cameroon but other developing countries in general.

Keywords: Cameroon, gender- based inequality, land law, land titling, land policy, land tenure formalization

Topics: Gender, Gender Roles, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Indigenous, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Cameroon

Year: 2018

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