Mapping and Consolidation Meeting on Women’s Inheritance and Property Rights, 7-9 June 2009, Dakar, Senegal

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This first face-to-face meeting of the working group on Women’s Inheritance and Property Rights (WIPR) achieved the following objectives:

  1. To discuss the issue that women face in relation to the theme of this working group and define the scope of work within the WRRC programme
  2. To map the strategy of the WIPR Working Group within the WRRC programme
  3. To produce an Action Plan and budget for work on this theme (WIPR)
  4. To establish or revise coordination and communication structure for the WIPR working group

On Day 1, presentations on culture and women’s property and inheritance rights were given by Ayesha Imam and Faizun Zackariya. Discussions continued into Day 2. ICT training was conducted on the last day of the meeting.

Key Outcomes

  1. The members of the working group agreed to focus on: Land (used for production, obtaining resources, and for  habitation) when talking about property; Inheritance for all moveable and immovable property.
  2. The following issues were identified across the regions:
    • Inheritance
    • Allocation/acquisition (from state or custom)
      • Mahr/meher – bridewealth (Asia)
      • Use of  rights (Africa)
    • Loss of Land:
      • Displacement due to war/conflict
      • Displacement due to natural disaster
      • State/Corporate appropriation (for so-called ‘development’)
      • Divorce/polygyny/family appropriation (piracy)
    • A list of ongoing initiatives, addressing the issues specified above, was developed during this meeting. See attached Property Issues Synthesis.
  3. It was decided that time and resources would be allocated for the second half of Year 3 for assessing initiatives and strategies. It was discussed that since women have different baselines as starting points, ‘success stories’  may mean:
    • Context A where women have no legal or customary rights at all but gain recognition of such rights
    • Context B where women have such rights yet are dispossessed by inequitable practices, then acquire the capacity to reclaim their rights
  4. A call for proposals would be designed and sent out to all members of the working groups and networkers. It was decided that proposals on specific themes would come to the working group for comments, possible revision and then recommendation to the WRRC Strategic Task Force for funding.
  5. An action plan and budget for the WIPR working group was devised. Terms of reference for the working group were drawn up. Working Group membership was confirmed. A sub-committee was established to follow up on preparation/ fundraising (if needed) for upcoming international events.