Smartphones help Tanzanian women secure land rights

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

ILALASIMBA, Tanzania, Aug 25 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Yolanda Ngunda has every reason to smile now she holds a title deed recognising her as sole owner of a disputed plot of rugged farmland in Tanzania's remote southern highlands.

For the past decade, the 51-year-old widow, who lives in Ilalasimba village in the rural district of Iringa, was embroiled in a family feud as her brothers-in-law tried to grab her land and kick her out of a brick house she built with her late husband who died after a short illness.

"I have been living in fear all those years because I did not have any document that supported my land rights claim. I have now won the battle," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, proudly displaying her certificate printed on pale-green paper.

Ngunda, who has four children, is among hundreds of Ilalasimba residents who have secured land titles thanks to a pilot project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Ngunda said her brothers-in-law had even threatened to set her house on fire. "But I stood firm to defend my children's property," she said proudly.


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