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Using law for rural women’s empowerment in West Africa from 2008 to 2011

Project: « Using law for rural women’s empowerment in west Africa »   

Financial partner:  the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MDG 3 fund)

Total cost: 1 842 398 € or 1 208 533 865 F CFA 

Duration: 3 years

Countries : Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote D’ivoire, Ghana, Togo.

Objective:  to enable women members of farmers’ organisations and women of the rural areas in 5 West African countries to know their rights, and to claim them in order to exercise them on the same footing as men in their family, community and professional lives, and ensure their application for the benefit of women in their respective environment. 


  • 250 women’s farmers know women’s rights and are able to work to disseminate and apply them within families, communities and women’s economic activities. 
  • At least 60% of the cases of violence and domestic disputes received, particularly those relating to inheritance are settled within the confines of the observance of the rights of women

  • 5,465 talks and sensitisation sessions were conducted and reached 218,040 persons during the project implementation period. Among the persons reached there were 79,973 men and 138,067 women during the project implementation period. 
  • the communities hosted 154 radio programmes  
  • Sensitisation sessions led women and even men to break silence on what was formerly considered as taboos. Since then, one can say that in the localities of the project « speech is freed »; 

  • Women have understood that Violence against Women is not fate and that they are protected by the law, that there are platforms for denunciation and support to victims. 
  • The 131 committees established in the five countries received 1,859 cases of which 1,447 were totally resolved, these show a rate of achievement of 77.83% with an improvement of 17.83% compared to the expected results of the project
  • at least 85% of new cases of violence against women and domestic disputes received, particularly those related to inheritance being settled in conformity with the rights of women.

  • There is a legal framework that seeks to promote equal access of men and women to land in the project countries

  • Five (5) national studies on Women’s Access to, Ownership and Control Over Land is available and can been used by any stakeholders in the five countries.
  • 2 countries have new law on land issues and1 country is still on the process leading to law reform

  • Parcels of land are allocated by local authorities to women farmers in full ownership or in safe and secure conditions for purposes of collective or individual farming.
  • 676 plots of land have been acquired to the profit of women farmers through the project action. 270 lands previously acquired have been secured through the conclusion of agreement. In some cases, it is a registration according to the land law. In some other cases it is just a contract that binds the two parties.  

  • The representation of women in community decision-making structures and farmers’ organizations has improved by at least 30%.

  • More than 220 women are holding decision-making positions in the various project implementation areas and especially within farmers’ organisations and community structures. 
  • The studies conducted during the extension period show 34.48% of women have access to decision-making bodies in their community compared to 10% before 2009 

  • Traditional authorities commit themselves to spread information among their peers and use every occasion to sensitize their communities
  • Changes in mentality and the abrogation of certain customary practices harmful to women, such as widowhood rites, have taken place in the communities.
  • Mass acceptance of the celebration of registration marriage in some villages;

Project Final Report

Internal assessment

External assessment

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Newsletter N°94 Avril 2023

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Using law for rural women’s empowerment in West Africa from 2008 to 2011

WiLDAF, Sub Regional Office for West Africa was established in April 1997. It is part of a pan African women’s rights network established in 1990, initially based in Harare, but now based in Lomé, Togo. It dedicated to promoting and strengthening strategies which link law and development to increase women’s participation and influence at the community, national and international levels.

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Tokon Witti, Lome Togo

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