Rural livelihoods and women’s access to land: a case study of the Katuli Area, Mangochi District, Malawi
Insecure access and limited rights to land are major factors contributing to poverty among rural women (Ellis,2000; Havnevik et al,2007). Despite that, rural women’s livelihoods are directly linked to land; they generally lack secure access to productive land. In acknowledging the inequalities in terms of land ownership among Malawians, the government of Malawi introduced a land reform project known as the Community Based Rural Land Development Project (CBRLDP) (GoM, 2002a). This study aims at assessing the effects of group-based titling of the CBRLDP on creating secure access to land and livelihoods of women beneficiaries.Using qualitative research design, methods such as in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and questionnaire surveys were used as sources of primary data and project reports while CBRLDP programme planning documents and evaluation reports as sources of secondary data were consulted. While the data shows that secure access to land could create women’s sustainable livelihoods,the study found that access to land and the livelihoods generated by the CBRLDP are gendered, for instance,there are more male beneficiaries as compared to women. With regard to women’s land rights, this study shows that women are still struggling in claiming their rights to land. Furthermore, the study found that the roles of traditional leaders in securing access to land and protecting women’s land rights within the CBRLDP remain unclear. The study also reveals that access to land alone is not enough for the creation of women’s sustainable livelihoods.