With a communications campaign across four districts, Rwanda is raising public awareness of a key element of land reform — equal rights between men and women.
In Rwanda, land is woven deeply into the country’s social fabric. Intertwined with discussions on marriage, power, and gender equity, local understandings of land ownership are as much cultural as they are constitutional. But this creates a gap between the land reform promised on paper and the land reform practiced on the ground. How do informally married women protect their vulnerable rights to property? How do daughters defend their claims to gifts of land or inheritance? How do families resolve land-related conflicts? Although on paper, laws may enforce equal protection of land rights among Rwandan men and women, cultural norms limiting women’s rights to land require a widespread movement to promote gender-equal land reform.
Aware of the need to reach Rwandan citizens in a variety of ways, the USAID LAND project partnered with Radio Ishingiro, a community radio station, to broaden citizens’ understanding of land governance and promote values of gender equality. To achieve this, they launched a 10-month campaign across four districts in Rwanda: Gisagara, Gatisbo, Nyamasheke, and Gicumbi. Through the campaign’s innovative and media-savvy outreach strategies, Rwandans learned how gender-equal land rights can benefit them, their families, and their communities.