Promoting Women's Property and Inheritance Rights in the Context of HIV and AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa

Since 2010, with support from the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, UN Women has implemented a regional programme, Action to Promote the Legal Empowerment of Women in the Context of HIV, to increase women's access to property and inheritance rights in nine sub-Saharan Africa countries (Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe) as a means to reduce vulnerabilities to and mitigate the impact of HIV and AIDS. From 2011 to 2013, UN Women has awarded $2.2 million in small grants (of up to $75,000) to twenty legal service organizations, community-based/grassroots networks, and organizations of women living with HIV in Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

Grantees have enhanced the awareness of legislators, policymakers, local and traditional leaders, and communities on the specific vulnerabilities of women living with HIV or affected by AIDS. These vulnerabilities highlight property and inheritance rights violations in the context of national frameworks and community justice systems to safeguard and enforce these rights. Our grantees are empowering women living with HIV to report violations and pursue redress through rights-awareness and legal literacy interventions.

To learn more about the issue and the programme's activities, please read our summary factsheet and visit the links to the left.

Programme achievements include:

  • Enhanced knowledge and awareness of more than 3,700 duty bearers at national and local levels and of 29,000 community members on the need to protect women’s property and inheritance rights in the context of HIV and AIDS;
  • Enhanced knowledge and skills of 900 new and existing community justice and legal service providers, including traditional rulers and law enforcement actors, to support women’s access to property and inheritance rights in the context of HIV;
  • Increased legal literacy and rights awareness of more than 16,200 women living with or affected by HIV and AIDS through community sensitization, information dissemination and radio programmes;
  • Approximately 1,270 property and inheritance-related cases reported to or handled by community paralegals or community dispute resolution mechanisms as a result of increased availability and accessibility of legal services for women living with HIV at community level;
  • Improved security of tenure for more than 700 women in Tanzania and Zimbabwe. In Tanzania, more than 400 plots have been awarded to women in six villages. In Zimbabwe, 312 women living with HIV obtained land allocations;
  • Over 470 grass-roots women and 5,100 children at risk of disinheritance registered and obtained the necessary legal documents, such as birth certificates, death certificates, and identification cards, to secure their property rights through local registration drives organized in Kenya;