The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has just launched a first-of-its-kind project in Vietnam that aims to empower farmers, especially women, to enhance their access to land by increasing their awareness of existing land rights under current legislation.
The two-year pilot effort will set up and train teams of grassroots community volunteers to help farmers, particularly women farmers, in the northern province of Hung Yen and the Mekong Delta province of Long An to improve their understanding of land rights. In addition to training community volunteers, the project will support the work of researchers to better understand and document gender-specific barriers to realizing land rights in rural areas. This project will combine commune-level legal rights counseling and education with advocacy efforts, which will focus on increasing the capacity of social and mass organizations to advocate for gender equitable implementation of land regulations, as well as legal revisions when necessary to achieve this.
“Lack of awareness, by both men and women, of Vietnam’s property rights laws as well as lack of resources to enforce women’s property rights at the provincial level has often obstructed access to land titles,” said USAID Vietnam Mission Director, Joakim Parker. “This project will help Vietnam understand inconsistencies between laws and implementation as well as increase women’s access to land and the economic opportunities that come with it.”
The centerpiece of the program is the mobilization and training of 60 community volunteers for gender equality from four communes across the two provinces. The volunteers will conduct land rights awareness-raising activities as well as provide legal counseling to individuals, mitigate land disputes and offer referrals to navigate the existing legal structures. Researchers are currently conducting a household-level survey to assess knowledge of land rights and perceptions about gender equality in the four communes as well as determining what kind of barriers women face when trying to exercise their rights with respect to land ownership.
The project is being implemented by the Institute for Social Development Studies (ISDS), as the local partner of the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), which is sharing its tools and lessons learned from a similar, previously implemented community-based approach in Uganda.
For more information on the project, click here (PDF 143 KB).
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