FIG Peer Review Journal


Land Reform Policy in Rwanda and Land Tenure Security for all Citizens: Provision and Recognition of Women’s Rights over Land (4914)

Ernest Uwayezu and Theodomir Mugiraneza (Rwanda)
Mr. Ernest Uwayezu
National University of Rwanda/centre for GIS
212 Butare Rwanda
Corresponding author Mr. Ernest Uwayezu (email: ernest[at], tel.: (+ 250 0788576777)

[ abstract ] [ paper ] [ handouts ]

Published on the web 2011-03-16
Received 2010-11-22 / Accepted 2011-02-10
This paper is one of selection of papers published for the FIG Working Week 2011 in Marrakech, Morocco and has undergone the FIG Peer Review Process.

FIG Working Week 2011
ISBN 978-87-90907-92-1 ISSN 2307-4086


In Rwanda, for many years ago, rights to land for women and female orphans have not been recognized. The main causes were the inexistence of efficient land administration systems and prevalence of traditional system of land tenure which was very complex and did not favor women and female descendants. In 2004 the government of Rwanda adopted a land reform policy which was complemented by a new land law of 2005, and other laws, decrees, policies, and directives regarding access to land, use, and land rights transfer. The main goal of land reform policy in Rwanda is to protect and to enforce land holder rights and the provision of land tenure security for all citizens without any discrimination. The study investigates the effects the land reform policy on rights land of women and female orphans who had been deprived from land rights by the traditional system of land administration. Data collected from the field survey in 5 districts of Rwanda and literature review were analyzed using qualitative and interpretative methods, following the principles of impact/outcome evaluation approach. Findings show that the implementation of land reform policy and other associate laws are having positive impact in safeguard, protection and enforcement of land rights of women and female orphans. Widow and female orphans are given back their lands which were grabbed by their relatives. However, there is still need to empower women and female descendants the capability to defend themselves against the practices of land grabbing and or deprivation through sensitization their rights as stated in the current land law.
Keywords: Security of tenure; Access to land