Thirty women leaders from 16 African countries met in Arusha, Tanzania to strategies on how to strengthen their voices in regards to land ownership and management of natural resources in the continent. The planning meeting was held from 18th to 20th November 2015.
The meeting dabbed “Kilimanjaro Initiative” is planning to mobilise thousands of rural women to the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro in October 2016, where they will develop and proclaim a charter of demands that will be presented to the Africa Union, and respective national governments.
The charter will pressure African nations to do more in giving women access to land ownership.
The journey of women to Mt. Kilimanjaro Initiative via caravans from various corners of the continent is a journey of uniting Africa rural women’s voices to assert land and natural resource rights.
The iconic assembly at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro will take place on October 15, 2016; a date that coincides with the International Rural Women’s Day and will see four regional caravans depart simultaneously from the North, South, East, West and Central Africa. There will also be a symbolic ascent to the top of the Mt. Kilimanjaro by a delegation of rural women.
This initiative is an idea that was conceived by rural women in 2012 with support from civil society organisations in a meeting held in Dar e salaam, Tanzania.
Africa lags behind the rest of the world in fighting extreme poverty – estimated at 50% of its total population with 52% living in rural communities in sub Saharan Africa.
A critical mass of rural women (over 50%) provide labour (in formal and informal jobs) in the agriculture sector, believed to contribute at least 10% of GDP in low and middle income countries and as high as 34% in Rwanda.
Rojaina N., under the tree that served as a shelter for her family and where she and her family lived for a couple of weeks after their relocation due to coal mining operations in Mwabulambo, Karonga district.
Land issues for women in Africa remain complex partly due to dualism in land tenure system, existence of poor land policies and governance systems that entrench gender inequality. Women have weaker land rights compared to men.
As rural women prepare to usher in the new Sustainable Development Goals in 2016, their land and natural resource rights, regardless of tenure type, cannot be wished away by policy makers including respective governments, African Union and international community.
 Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal, Nigeria, Malawi, Seychelles, Morocco, Tunisia, Cameroon. DR Congo, Zimbabwe, Ghana and Togo
In a symbolic action, a group of women scaled to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro to demand land rights.
Thousands of women from across the African continent converged at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro for a three-day action that sought to demand land rights for Kilimanjaro for a three-day action that sought to demand land rights for women, while a contingent of the women scaled up the mountain, reaching the peak on Monday.
The gathering coincided with the International Day of Rural Women, which occurred on Saturday, and was dubbed ‘the Kilimanjaro initiative.’Kilimanjaro initiative.’
Uniting behind the social media campaign #Women2Kilimanjaro, the women demanded governments implement laws and policies to reverse the barriers women face in accessing land rights, such as early marriage, poor access to information and unfair inheritance.
According to TakePart, while women are responsible for 80 percent of agricultural production on the continent, only 1 percent of land is owned by women, a contention owing to colonial times.
At the convergence, a charter was drafted that will be given to the United Nations, the African Union, and the African Rural Women Assembly for implementation of these demands. A petition was also circulated to various leaders in the days before the meeting.
Last November, four regional caravans from the North, South, East, West and Central Africa, saw women from 16 African countries meet in Arusha, Tanzania to strategize on land ownership issues. The initiative was first conceived by rural women in 2012 with support from civil society organizations in a meeting held in Dar e salaam, Tanzania.