Women’s Land Rights & Territorial Rights of Somali Minorities in Somaliland

 

The increasing conflict over access to land resources in terms of farming, agro-pastoral and pastoral livelihood systems as well as urban lands means that women and minorities’ have not been faring out well with huge implications on their future access, use and control of land resources affecting their livelihoods. In the rural areas individuals are putting up thorn or wire fences and claiming commonly owned grazing lands for their own. At the same in the urban areas property speculators have taken advantage of the weak land governance and used all means to illegally grab lands belonging to individuals and communities (often those with low social capital and clan status – women and minority groups). 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

LIST OF ACRONYMS 5

LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES 5

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 6

Key findings: 8

1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY 9

2. HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY SETTING OF SOMALILAND 10

3. METHODOLOGY OF THE STUDY 12

3.1 Questionnaire: 13

3.2 Focus group discussions (FGD): 13

3.4 Key informant interviews 14

3.5 Case studies: 14

3.6. Smartphone Data Collection 14

4. EXCLUSION OF WOMEN FROM CUSTOMARY STRUCTURE & MINORITY GROUPS FROM PUBLIC INSTITUITIONS 15

4.1 Exclusion of women from customary structure 15

4.2 Exclusion of minority groups from public institutions 17

5. WOMEN’S ACCESS TO LAND RIGHTS 18

Case study 1: 20

6. MINORITY GROUPS ACCESS TO LAND 21

Case study 2: 22

7. ISSUES WITH LAND RIGHTS & IMPACTS ON WOMEN AND MINORITY GROUPS 23

6.1. Way forward 26

8. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS 27

ANNEX 1: POLICY BRIEFS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ON WOMEN’S LAND RIGHTS AND TERRITORIAL RIGHTS OF SOMALI MINORITIES 30

ANNEX 2: LIST OFFICIALS INTERVIEWED 30

ANNEX 3: THE PROFILES OF STUDY AREAS 31

Burao District (Togdheer region) 31

Dila District (Awdal region) 32

Hargeisa District (Maroodi-Jeex region) 32

Odweine District (Daad-Madheedh region) 32

Berbera (Sahil region) 33

Bali-Gubadle District (Hawd region) 33

Ainabo District (Saraar region) 33

Eel-Afwayn District (Sanaag region) 34

Las-Anod District (Sool region) 34

ANNEX 4: ASSESSMENT TOOLS 34

Questionnaire 1 (Women Land Rights) 35

Questionnaire 2 (Minority Groups Territorial Rights) 38

Focus Group Discussions 40

40

Key Informant Interview Guideline Questions 41

41

Annex 5: References 42

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

 

NAGAAD is grateful to FAO and EU for its financial and technical support which made this research possible. A special thanks to everyone who have assisted us in different ways including the survey respondents, focus group discussion (FGD) participants and key interview informants (KIIs) who gave us their precious time and shared our team with their experiences and views. We also wish to thank our local offices in all 6 regions that facilitated the study team access to local authorities and research participants.

 

We are thankful to all supervisors and enumerators who made this study possible, at a time when the country was going through a severe drought that decimated the crops and the livestock of the pastoral people.

 

Finally, NAGAAD would also like to thank the research participants, consultant and the office staff who conducted the study and submitted the report on time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


 

LIST OF ACRONYMS

CG Central Government

FAO Food and Agricultural Agency

DFID Department for International Development

FGD Focus Group Discussion

FHHs Female-Headed Households

KII Key Interview Informant

MoA Ministry of Agriculture

MoP&RD Ministry of Pastoral and Rural Development

MoWR Ministry of Water Resources

NEC National Electoral Commission

SNM Somali National Movement

ToR Terms of Reference

UNDP United Nations Development Program

 

LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES

 

TABLES:

Table 1: Geographical coverage of the study

Table 2: Summary of methods used

Table 3: Distribution of FGD groups by districts

Table 4: Ages of minority groups samples

Table 5: Age of women samples

Table 6: Exclusion of women and minority groups from public institutions

Table 7: Issues that excluded minorities to own land

Table 8: Ways of improving women’s land rights

Table 9: Problem perception score among the minority groups

Table 10: Ranking of impediment among the minority groups

Table 11: Issues that excludes women to own land

Table 12: Land rights difficulties faced by minority

 

FIGURES:

Figure 1: How women acquired their lands

Figure 2: How do minorities acquire their lands?

Figure 3: Issues that stops minority groups to own land

Figure 4: Major impediments faced by minority groups

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The increasing conflict over access to land resources in terms of farming, agro-pastoral and pastoral livelihood systems as well as urban lands means that women and minorities’ have not been faring out well with huge implications on their future access, use and control of land resources affecting their livelihoods. In the rural areas individuals are putting up thorn or wire fences and claiming commonly owned grazing lands for their own. At the same in the urban areas property speculators have taken advantage of the weak land governance and used all means to illegally grab lands belonging to individuals and communities (often those with low social capital and clan status – women and minority groups).

 

The purpose of this study is to develop an in-depth understanding of the extent to which land rights of women and territorial rights of minority groups are respected and protected by existing statutory, customary and Sharia laws and practices. In doing so this study has set out to identify the main factors that are impacting on women and minority clans/groups land rights and explore how these could be mitigated. Hence the report is structured around two main objectives:

 

  1. To determine women land rights in terms of access to, use and control of land in both urban and rural areas, and how traditional and religious principles and practices, as well as civil laws and Somaliland Constitution supports or undermine women’s land rights.

 

  1. To determine the territorial rights of minority clans and the extent to which these rights have been respected or abused by different institutions, be them traditional or governmental ones.

 

For the purpose of this report it is important to understand land rights in the context of Somaliland where, according to Article 12:1 of the constitution, “All land is public property commonly owned by the nation, and the state is responsible for it”. This means as far as the land rights are concerned everyone has a right to own it (individually or communally) at least as stated in the constitution. However it is through turning these rights to secure land tenure which falls under the control of the local authorities (municipalities) that creates huge challenges for the pertaining sections of the community (women and minority groups) and needs to be examined using a legal, political and religious as well as traditional lens in light of statutory and customary principles and practices in land governance and put forward recommendations for policy development and practical implementation.

 

In this regard establishing secure land tenure rights for women and minority groups is both a major responsibility of the central government and the local authorities since it directly intersects with the interests of the population in terms of public policy process and has implications on peace and stability as well as on the livelihoods of many people. In other words getting land tenure security for all citizens is a critical pre-requisite for stability and sustained economic development in Somaliland.

 

Study respondents from both women and minority groups have mentioned that land tenure insecurity is caused by several reasons including: unclear and not up-to-date papers, torn or lost land registration certificates; title in the name of the dead parents and land administration practices that are not transparent (supportive to corruption). They see it as imperative to create “structured and functioning legal, political and social institutions that support women and minority groups land rights” and then secure their land tenure by protecting the ownership and the territorial rights of these individuals and groups.

 

Given its deep and long-standing clan-based and political culture, Somaliland has a unique set of factors at play that impact on the current land tenure rights. These need to be understood in order to more effectively identify the challenges and opportunities to land reform. As in many post-conflict and fragile countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, in Somaliland some of the pertinent factors that tend to contribute to make land as a contentious issue are population growth and movements, unregulated process of tenure, poor or none-existent land information management systems and equally inadequate legislation and land administrative frameworks.

 

According to the survey when women respondents were asked: do you think women and minorities face challenges in terms of their land rights? More than 56% (N=134) said yes women do face challenges while almost 44% (N=105) noted that women either don’t face any challenges or not much. When respondents were asked as to what was the main impediments that are impacting on women’s access to land rights? Among women the largest number of respondents 45% (N=112) said that cultural and religious reasoning was behind the discrimination against women when it comes to land rights. While the second highest 27% (N=69) said it was lack of interest & misconceptions by women to claim their land rights. While among the minorities 66% (N=165) related the problem to the structure of the clan system.

 

It is hoped that the findings of the study will help people understand the plight of women and minorities in terms of land and territorial rights concerning both central and local authorities decision-makers to introduce land governance policies and regulatory framework that will help women and minority groups’ not only get land rights but also gain tenure security through proper land tenure systems and ensure a fair access to land resources regarding its use and control. It is equally expected that the findings of the study will contribute towards mitigating the land rights and tenure security challenges faced by women and minority groups in the country through transparent and accessible information which mandates between different authorities.

 

This research has found that there is a religious and cultural dimensions that people in Somaliland tend to associate with the issue of “women’s land rights” which is surrounded by suspicion from the part of the religious leaders as put it openly by Sheikh Ahmed Ali; one of the KIIs participants in Hargeisa who expressed that “the issue of land and property ownership has got some serious religious implications and we are against any attempt that seeks to introduce any imported ideas from abroad under the guise of land rights”.

 

It is hoped that the findings of the study will provide NAGAAD and the FAO who are both working with women and minority groups’ land rights initiatives to promote policy formulation and practices as the study will provide evidence for the need to increase women and minority groups land rights and secure tenure so that they could fully participate in the utilization of the natural resources through fair land use system that secures the tenure of both individuals and communities. Some of the main key findings from the research are noted below and reflect the views of survey participants, community leaders, and government officials:

Key findings:
  • There is an evidence that women and minority groups fare out less when it comes to land rights and tenure security, for example; according to the study, it is the structure of the clan system which disfavors both women and minority groups by excluding them from the traditional decision-making networks.

 

  • In the national level, women and minority groups are not well represented at all, for example, out of the 164 parliamentarians from the two houses (Elders and Representative) there is only one women representative and one for the minority clans, while in the local governments out of 375 councilors there are only 9 women and no single minority representative.


 

  • According to respondents, there is a need to introduce legislation that provides women and minority groups’ equal access to land and territorial rights in terms of use and control and their concerns of land and territorial rights promoted in order to introduce affirmative policies to support equal opportunities on land rights for women and minority clans.

 

  • Significant number of respondents 31% (N=77) women) and 49% (N=122) minority groups, mentioned that they are confused with the different institutional mandates and legislations defining land and territorial rights and ownership and as a result they are taken advantage and subjected to land-grabbing committed by powerful figures abetted by government officials.


 

  • When study respondents were asked as to what was the main impediments to guaranteeing that women and minority groups are not discriminated in terms of land and territorial rights; among women more than 54% (N=135) noted that it was cultural and religious reasons that are behind the discrimination while 66% (N=165) of minorities related the problem to the structure of the clan system.

  • Key informant interviewees and the focus group discussion participants consistently voiced their concern the way that powerful forces use their resources (money) and social capital (influences) to ensure that land disputes against the weaker sections of the society (women and minority clans) are resolved in their favor.

 

  • The results of the study have shown that land tenure insecurity was higher among women lead households and those from minority clans and their fear of land-grabbing or perception of land tenure insecurity increases when the economic value of their farms or plots increases, through urban development projects or agribusiness ventures in the adjacent areas.

1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

This study has been commissioned by FAO to determine women’s land rights and territorial rights of Somali minorities in Somaliland and identify the factors that impact on their access to land in terms of use and control. The increasing conflict over access to land resources in terms of farming, agro-pastoral and pastoral livelihood systems means that women and minority communities’ rights to land are not being considered with huge implications on their future access, use and control of land resources affecting their livelihoods.

 

Given its deep and long-standing clan-based and political culture Somaliland has a unique set of factors at play that impact on the current land tenure and territorial rights. These need to be understood in order to more effectively identify the challenges and opportunities to land reform. As in many post-conflict and fragile countries in Sub-Saharan Africa in Somaliland some of the pertinent factors that tend to contribute to make land as a contentious issue are population growth and movements, unregulated process of tenure, poor or none-existent land information management systems and equally inadequate legislation and land administrative frameworks.

 

Taking into account the socio-economic and cultural factors that define the use of land in rural areas, and the extent to which these factors determine the security of tenure (ownership) is important. In Somaliland land use systems can be divided into three: farming (rain-fed and irrigated), pasture/grazing land and urban lands (plots). This means there are conflicting institutions and authorities that all have different responsibilities. For example, Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), regulates the farming lands and provides certificates to farms while the Ministry of Pastoral Development and Environment (MoPD&E) in conjunction with the Ministries of Livestock (MoL) and Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) is in charge of all forests and grazing lands. In addition it is the local governments (regions and districts) who also have a big stake in the land use systems of the country since they control, under the Law No. 23 (2002) all lands in urban areas. The current law fails to define what pastoral land is and how its ownership is to be regulated.1

 

It is precisely the confusion created by ill-defined and sometimes contradicting land tenure regulations that gives way to a phenomenal rise of land disputes. Such land disputes cases can languish in the courts for many years and land registration documents can be forged with the collusion of corrupt local government officials; one can create duplicate papers easily. For many ordinary people, like women and minority groups waiting for court decisions seems to be expensive, time consuming, unreliable and unpredictable. Even if the courts make a decision the situation is compounded by the weak enforcements process. Property disputes may continue because court orders and other eviction notices are not complemented. In an ideal world a court order must be enough for someone to recover property, politicians and officials who wish to prevent minorities from returning may refuse to carryout orders to evict their supporters.2

 

The following table describes the geographical areas covered by the research and these were pre-selected by the FAO team with a view to represent all six regions of the country while at the same time not overlooking the need to include major livelihood categories.

 

Table 1: Geographical coverage of the study

Zone

Regions

District

Livelihood category

Respondents

Gender

Percent

Male

Female

WEST

Maroodi-Jeex & Awdal

Hargeisa

Urban

120

60

60

24%

Dila

Agro-Pastoral

40

20

20

8%

Baligubadle

Pastoral

40

20

20

8%

CENTRAL

Tog-dheer & Sahil

Berbera

Urban

50

25

25

10%

Burao

Agro-Pastoral

80

40

40

16%

Odweine

Pastoral

40

20

20

8%

EAST

Sool & Sanaaga

Laas-Aanod

Urban

50

25

25

10%

Ceel-Afwayn

Agro-pastoral

40

20

20

8%

Ainabo

Pastoral

40

20

20

8%

TOTAL

N=500

500

250

250

100%

 

The purpose of this study is to develop an in-depth understanding of the extent to which land rights of women and territorial rights of minority groups are infringed or impacted upon by existing statutory, customary and Sharia laws and practices. In doing so this study has set out to identify the main factors that are impacting on women and minority clans/groups land rights and explore how these could be mitigated examining socio-economic and cultural factors that play a key role in strengthening land holding rights of women and minority groups.

2. HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY SETTING OF SOMALILAND

The arrival of the British colonial power in Somaliland started after the Berlin Conference in 1884 which resulted in Britain taking control of Somaliland, as a protectorate at a time when France and Italy were also competing for the control of territories in the region. The partition of the Somali populated regions in the Horn of Africa started in earnest after Britain signed treaties with local tribal chiefs in Somaliland in 1887 and thus made this territory a British Protectorate (British Somaliland Protectorate). Somaliland remained a British protectorate from 1887 up until 26th June 1960 when it gained its independence from Britain. Italian Somalia became independent on 1st July 1960 and the same day the two states merged and formed the Republic of Somalia.

 

For the first nine years after independence (1960 – 1969) the country observed a parliamentary democracy and democratically elected governments succeeded each other. That was ended by a military coup led by General Siyad Barre who suspended the constitution and brought in a martial law coupled with economic, social and political discriminatory policies targeted against the people of Somaliland. The repressive policies gave rise to the formation of an armed resistance against the government in the form of the Somali National Movement (SNM) in London on 6th April 19813. A ten year struggle ensued and resulted in over 1 million people displaced and more than two hundred thousand killed and wounded. Under the auspices of the SNM, traditional clan leaders organized a number of community conferences to consolidate peace and reconciliation between different clans, culminating in the regional Grand Conference (25th March to 26th May 1991) which declared the withdrawal from the union with Somalia and reclaimed its independence.

 

In the context of a post-conflict economic base and without direct international aid consecutive governments in Somaliland have to varying degrees succeeded in establishing functioning administrations, promoted peace, reconciliation and stability, and created positive and enabling environment for economic growth and social development. Somaliland’s GDP is estimated at $1.5 billion with Per Capita Income $4294. In terms of sectoral contribution: agricultural contributes about 65% while industry and services contribute 10% and 25% respectively.

 

Traditionally rural activities have provided over 80% of employment opportunities5. This is an indication of low labor productivity when the sector’s GDP contribution is taken into account. Livestock production is the most important activity of the rural pastoralists. However in recent years, the annual rate of migration by nomadic pastoralists abandoning their way of living and moving to urban centers is estimated to be between 6% and 10%.

 

Map of Somaliland

 

 

Somaliland is situated in the Horn of Africa with boundaries defined by the Gulf of Aden in the North, Somalia in the East and Southeast, the Federal Republic of Ethiopia in the South and West, and the Republic of Djibouti to the Northwest. It lies between latitudes 8° 00’ and 11° 27’ north and longitudes 42° 35’ and 49° 00’ east, with mountains rising to 2000 meters in the east of the country. The total area of the Republic of Somaliland is estimated at 137,600 km² with a coastline of more than 850 km long. The total population of Somaliland is estimated at 3.5 million. The majority of the population lives in the rural areas as pastoralists/nomads (50%), while about 35% live in urban cities. The remaining 15% live outside the country, mainly in Europe and North America, where since early 1980’s large groups of nationals from Somaliland have sought asylum. The annual population growth rate is estimated at 3.14% and life expectancy at birth is between 49 and 55 years. The population density is estimated at 22 persons per square kilometer. Somaliland is considered to have a relatively young population, as more than 68% of the population is below 30 years of age.

 

3. METHODOLOGY OF THE STUDY

The study has followed the key objectives, as set out in the Terms of Reference (ToR) with the aim of identifying the factors that impact on access to land resources with respect to women and minority groups and whether the existing legal and regulatory mechanisms are sufficient to recognize and protect land rights of women and territorial rights of minority groups in Somaliland. The study has been carried out through analysis of various sources of information, including desk analysis, research data and interviews with stakeholders including: urban population, agro-pastoral and pastoral communities; government officials, traditional and religious leaders as well as politicians and through the cross-validation of the collected data. The research has utilized the provision of Survey Monkey services, which is regarded as one of the world's most popular online survey software. It is an easily used online platform for survey questionnaires, and it easily accessible for data collection and manipulation. Its simplified use was found to have an advantage for enumerators and data collectors not only to correct any data errors immediately but for data cleaning and analysis.

 

Table 2: Summary of methods used

 

Method

Tool

Respondents/Participants

Quantitative

Questionnaire

Members of the public (Women & Min. Groups)

Qualitative

Focus Group Discussions

  • Women /Minorities

  • Religious leaders

  • Traditional leaders

Qualitative

Key Informant Interviews

  • Politicians

  • Religious leaders

  • Traditional leaders

Qualitative

Case Studies

  • Women group

  • Minority group

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  3.1 Questionnaire:

Quantitative data was gathered as noted above, using open data kit provided by Survey Monkey (online survey service), designed to assess the main problems faced by women and minorities in land rights and territorial rights, and the role customary, traditional and religious believes play in the situation. The questionnaire was purposefully kept simple and focused on whether women and minorities in Somaliland are discriminated against when it comes to land rights and land tenure and what needs to be done to mitigate the situation. Two sets of questionnaires were prepared for participants based on premises of the research; for example, 250 questionnaires were prepared for women and another 250 for minority groups.

  3.2 Focus group discussions (FGD):

In addition to the questionnaire the research used Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) to collect qualitative data. A semi-structured checklist was used in conducting 3 FGDs (one session per zone) the 3 districts selected for the FDGs were Burao, Laasaanood and Hargeisa (7 people for each district). Participants of the FGDs included: women, minority groups, business community, traditional elders, local authority and religious leaders etc,. Emphasis was on ensuring that different sections of the society were represented in the study. This means the data derived from the research questionnaires is complemented with qualitative FGDs sessions. To ensure freedom of expression of opinions, guide lines have been issued to groups. FGDs were held around a predetermined series of general questions related to women’s land rights and territorial rights for minority groups. The distribution of the FGDs is presented in the table below. The great majority of the FGD participants 71.4% were in favor of supporting women and minority land rights and more than 57% said that they agreed with introducing an affirmative action that promotes the land rights and territorial rights of women and minority groups.

 

 

Table 3: Distribution of FGD groups by districts

Type of Group

District

Burao

Hargeisa

Laasaanood

Total

Women groups

1

1

1

3

Minority groups

1

1

1

3

Business community

1

1

1

3

Local Municipality

1

1

1

3

Elders

1

1

1

3

Religious leader

1

1

1

3

NGO

1

1

1

3

Total

7

7

7

21

 

 

3.4 Key informant interviews

A semi-structured checklist was developed for interviews with 5 opinion leaders (elders, civil society leaders, women organizations, professionals and religious leaders) in Hargeisa districts, regarding the factors that influence women’s land right and minority group’s territorial rights and how what needs to be done to alleviate the situation in Somaliland. The average age of the key informants was 52 years. The youngest was 69 and the oldest 78 yrs. Almost three quarters of them (74%) had secondary education and above. Of these, 45% were university graduates and 29% had attained a secondary qualification.

 

3.5 Case studies:

In order to strengthen the relevance of the study and reflect some of the pertinent issues on the subject of land rights concerning women and minority clans in terms of their land and territorial rights to access, use and control and get secure tenure to further their economic development opportunities the research has looked into two specific case studies that highlighted the challenges that women and people from minorities encounter when it comes to access to land resources and put forward ways of alleviating the situation. Case study 1 deals with women land rights and Case study 2 tackles the territorial rights of the minority and their experience.

 

3.6. Smartphone Data Collection

The enumerators used smartphones to administer the quantitative survey. Researchers reported that while learning to use the technology was challenging, the smartphones ultimately made data collection much easier. The smartphones were faster than conventional paper and pen survey methods as they automatically exported data to an external database. In addition, they reduced enumerator’s error as skip logic is programmed in beforehand, meaning enumerators will not accidentally skip questions. Researchers also reported that the smartphones were less heavy than paper questionnaires, which would need to be carried in bulk into the field.

While feedback was generally positive, researchers did report two challenges experienced when using smartphones for data collection. First, the small size of the smartphones made typing open-ended responses somewhat difficult. Second, some respondents felt uncomfortable around the smartphones as they thought the enumerator was photographing or recording them.

 

4. EXCLUSION OF WOMEN FROM CUSTOMARY STRUCTURE & MINORITY GROUPS FROM PUBLIC INSTITUITIONS

This study has found that both women and minority groups are being marginalized and excluded out of the customary structure and public institutions due to discrimination and lack of inclusion. When study respondents were asked as to what was the main impediments to guaranteeing that women and minority groups are not discriminated in terms of land and territorial rights? Among women participants more than 54% noted that it was cultural and religious reasons that are behind the discrimination while 66% of minority groups related the problem to the structure of the clan system and its discriminatory practices.

 

4.1 Exclusion of women from customary structure

This is a generally recognized characteristic of the Somali social context, which is bound by ‘clan and male dominance’, where women are generally excluded from all decision-making powers, and their role is seen as supporting men’s views, ideas and decisions. Indeed women are inadequately represented at all levels of the government in Somaliland. Across the country whether urban or rural, women have less educational opportunities and therefore less participation in the local political and governance structures. It is precisely this lack of political and social representation among women which creates equitable land distribution resulting to own less than 2% of the land in Somaliland6.

 

When data is disaggregated on how women acquired the land 64.5% N=141 said that they bought it while 29% said that they acquired the land as a result of inheritance. When the same question was asked among the minorities 42% N=56 said they got the land through inheritance and 25% N=34 have said they bought it, perhaps we can disaggregate this by saying that women afforded to buy more than the minority groups who are considered as the bottom of the pile, and only 11% got it from the local authorities as IDPs.

 

 

 

AGE

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Bellow 25

19.5%

47

25-50

63.9%

154

Above 50

16.6%

40

answered question

241

skipped question

4

Table 4: Ages of minority groups samples Table 5: Age of women samples

 

 

AGE

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Below 25

12.4%

31

25-50

71.3%

179

Above 50

16.3%

41

answered question

251

skipped question

6

 

 

Land rights are very important for women particularly widows who lost men during the civil war, and female-headed households, who usually lose their land or other asset because of the male dominated society. In Somaliland women are the majority as they make up about 60% of the population, yet they remain a minority in elected offices and senior posts in the executive branch of Government which translates into poor opportunities and marginalization in most aspects of government structures.

 

Significant number of respondents 31% (N=77) women) and 49% (N=122) minority groups, mentioned that they are confused with the different institutional mandates and legislations defining land and territorial rights and ownership and as a result they are taken advantage and subjected to land-grabbing committed by powerful figures abetted by government officials. When study respondents were asked as to what was the main impediments to guaranteeing that women and minority groups are not discriminated in terms of land and territorial rights; among women more than 54% (N=135) noted that it was cultural and religious reasons that are behind the discrimination while 66% (N=165) of minorities related the problem to the structure of the clan system. At the same time when data is disaggregated significant number of minority groups 34% (N=88) aren’t interested to own land in the rural areas since most of them are found in the urban areas

 

Table 6: Exclusion of women and minority groups from public institutions

No.

Institution

Seats

Men

%

Women

%

Minority

0%

1.

House of Elders (Guurti)

82

82

100%

0

0%

0

0%

2.

House of Representative 2012

82

81

98.7%

1

1.2%

0

0%

3.

Local Councilors 2012

375

365

97.3%

10

2.6%

0

0%

4.

Cabinet members 2016

57

52

90%

3

6%

2

4%

TOTAL

589

575

97.52

14

2.47%

2

0.33%

 

 

In education the great majority of respondents 66% (N=170) never went to school, another 27 (N=70) either went to intermediate or secondary school. When data disaggregated respondents from women has shown that 50% (N=117) never went to school and 26% (N=61) when 38% (N=90) have attended intermediate and secondary and disaggregating the data clearly shows that minorities are less interested to schools. Significant number of minority respondents 21% N=54 mentioned that they were single. While when asked the same question to women 25 (N=62) were single. In terms of marriage among minorities more than 68% (N=174) said they were married while among women more than 57% (N=139).

 

On the important question of how they acquired their land, the biggest number of participants 42% (N=56) answered that they got from their parents inheritance and 25% (N=34) said they bought it. When minority groups were asked, whether they have been ever been excluded from owning land? A significant number 35% (N=89) said yes, while 64% (N=164) said no they have not been excluded.

 

Figure 1: How minorities acquired their lands

 

 

4.2 Exclusion of minority groups from public institutions

In Somaliland today minority groups (clans) remain the most vulnerable group in society as they face discrimination and subordination in every aspect of the political and socio-economic process and as a result, they remain unrepresented in all major public institutions and structures of the country. According to Article 8:1 of the Somaliland Constitution:

 

“All citizens of Somaliland shall enjoy equal rights and obligations before the law, and shall not be accorded precedence on grounds of colour, clan, birth, language, gender, property, status, opinion etc.” In the meantime Article 22:1 states that “Every citizen shall have the right to participate in the political, economic, social and cultural affairs in accordance with the laws and the Constitution”

 

Despite this clear cut declaration of the constitution both women and minorities in Somaliland face huge challenges in every aspect of their social, economic and political lives including:

 

  • Experiencing great deal of discrimination and inequality based on gender and ethnicity (clan) engendering them to remain less educated.

  • Having less access to traditional clan resources and social capital which commands some influence and has implications on access to natural resources like land, grazing and water.

  • Having less professionals due to limited educational opportunities hence fewer important jobs and less wealth than their counterparts.

  • Experiencing severe cases of poverty and their human rights are often ignored and violated.

  • Under-representation in the national and local politics which all have its impact on influencing decisions.

 

 

Table 7: Issues that excluded minorities to own land

As a member of a minority group is there something that stops you to own land?

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Threats from others

17.2%

27

Don’t have the means to own land

26.8%

42

Belong to minority group

25.5%

40

Not interested to own land

9.6%

15

Other (please specify)

21.0%

33

answered question

157

skipped question

100

 

 

 

According to the survey when women respondents were asked: do you think women and minorities face challenges in terms of their land rights? More than 56% (N=134) said yes women do face challenges while almost 44% (N=105) noted that women don’t face any challenges. When data is disaggregated on the same question to the minorities 53.5% (N=137) said yes and 46.5% (N=119) said they don’t face any challenges. When respondents were asked as to what was the main impediments that are impacting on women’s access to land rights? Among women the largest number of respondents 45% (N=112) said that cultural and religious reasoning was behind the discrimination against women when it comes to land rights. While the second highest 27% (N=69) said it was lack of interest & misconceptions by women to claim their land rights. While among the minorities 66% (N=165) related the problem to the structure of the clan system.

 

 

 

5. WOMEN’S ACCESS TO LAND RIGHTS

Generally many factors negatively impact on women's land rights and secure tenure, and these may include; patriarchal nature of the society in Somaliland, religious beliefs/perceptions and lack of political participation in both national and local levels. There are also other pertinent socio-economic factors such as poverty, traditional and cultural barriers, and conflicting demands on the time of women due to their domestic and social responsibilities. There is some anecdotal evidence as articulated by women participants in the FGDs who noted that “women in the rural areas work average of 16 hours in the field, tending animals, fetching water and firewood and cooking food and milking animals etc”.

 

Advancing women’s economic and social standing through rural land reform requires a deeper understanding of their group-specific challenges that interact with the effectiveness of land policies. As a result, there is a need for a more comprehensive assessment of the determinants of tenure security among women, particularly for female household heads who are prone to relatively greater economic and social constraints. The largest number of respondents 45% (N=122) said that cultural and religious reasoning was behind the discrimination against women when it comes to land rights. While the second highest 27% (N=67) said it was lack of interest misconceptions by women to interest to claim their land rights and secure tenure.

 

How much do you rate the suggestions below to be essential for improving women’s land rights in the country? (excellent =5: very good =4: fairly good =3: negligible good =2: not good = 1)

 

Answer Options

Not Good

Negligible Good

Fairly Good

Very Good

Excellent

Response Count

Legislation that provides women equal access to land rights in terms of use & control

29

18

29

69

95

240

Promote women’s land rights in the society and raise awareness

12

26

18

88

101

245

Stop discrimination against women when it comes to land rights

16

17

48

75

88

244

Encourage women to participate in the local and national decision making levels

19

17

41

84

84

245

Encourage and implement gender policy to support women’s access to land

31

15

36

73

86

241

Safeguard women’s rights to have equal access to land

16

37

27

52

111

243

answered question 245

skipped question 10

Table 8: Ways of improving women’s land rights

 

 

The results of the study have shown that the perception of land tenure insecurity increases when the farm or plot’s economic value increases (either through urban development projects or agribusiness ventures in the adjacent areas). In addition, tenure insecurity was found to be higher among women lead households and those from minority clans.

 

On the important question of how they acquired their land, the biggest number of participants 42% (N=56) answered that they got from their parents inheritance and 25% (N=34) said they bought it. When minority groups were asked, whether they have been ever been excluded from owning land? A significant number 35% (N=89) said yes, while 64% (N=164) said no they have not been excluded

 

Figure 2: How do women acquire their lands?

 

 

 

In order to strengthen the relevance of the study and reflect some of the pertinent issues on the subject of land and territorial rights concerning women and minority clans in terms of their land and territorial rights to access, use and control and get secure tenure to further their economic development opportunities the research has looked into two specific case studies that highlighted the challenges that women and people from minorities encounter when it comes to access to land resources and put forward ways of alleviating the situation. Case study 1 deals with women land rights

 

Case study 1:

Box 1:

 

Milgo Ahmed: is selected to be a case study for the research due to the unique case that the research team came across during the study period in Hargeisa. Ms Milgo is a widower and lives with her 7 children in a 4 x 4 corrugated iron shed next to her old house in south eastern district of Burao. According to her she had “experienced a great deal of discrimination and outright robbery” as far as she was concerned. She lives next to her old house which was taken from her by the family of her deceased husband by force.

 

Ms Milgo’s misfortunes started when her late husband was accidentally killed by another man. She and her 7 children got blood compensation (about 100 camels) from the clan of her husband’s killer. The compensation was handed not to Ms Milgo and her children abut to the family of her husband (father and brothers). The family decided to sell off the camels and from the proceeds build a house for the children and their mother.

 

Ms Milgo welcomed the idea first and a small house was build for the family. However the situation turned into a nightmare when one of the bothers her late husband asked to marry him fearing that she might “bring in a husband from another clan”. She turned down his advances and the hall family turned against her.

 

As a result she was evicted and lives with her children in children in a 4 x 4 corrugated iron shed build for her by Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). She says that “there is no justice in this country for the weak neither from the government nor from the customary laws” and she says she and her children have to endure the “daily pain of passing by our house, built from the blood of my husband taken away from us by force”.

  6. MINORITY GROUPS ACCESS TO LAND

Somaliland is lineage-based society in which clans and sub-clans identity play an important role. Clan influence plays an important but ambiguous and contradictory role in almost all decision-making in Somaliland. On the one hand the social contract between clans has been central to maintaining peace and stability and on the other hand clan-based customary has been the main source of tension causing land dispute in the country. Hence, in the absence of a sufficient professional government institutional capacity the government’s decisions are often penetrated by strong societal (clan) and powerful private interests.

 

When respondents were asked as to what did they think are the major impediments facing minority groups in terms of land rights in the country? The ranked the problems in the following and ranked according to what they considered to be the leading problems in order of their importance (1 for highest, 2 for second highest priority and so on).

 

Table 8: Problem perception score among the minority groups

Problem Perception Score: please score from 1 to 4, the highest being 4 and the lowest being 1:

Answer Options

1

2

3

4

Response Count

Lack of enthusiasm among minority to own land

24

31

47

35

137

Minorities are discriminated and denied to own land

29

29

23

59

140

Minority groups are forced to give up their lands

50

44

29

19

142

Others

26

9

5

9

49

answered question 157

skipped question 100

 

The results of the study have shown that the perception of land tenure insecurity increases when the farm or plot’s economic value increases (through urban development projects or agribusiness ventures in the adjacent areas). In addition, tenure insecurity was found to be higher among women lead households and those from minority clans. Layouts of urban planning schemes or zoning laws are needed. It is also important enough space to be allocated to public utilities, parks, playgrounds, schools and clinics. Today, Hargeisa, it is dusty and congested, and you could not even find a government owned plot for public use.

 

Answer Options

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

Response Count

Clan structure leaves minority group’s land unprotected

55

51

33

23

29

15

8

9

223

Structure of the clan system disfavors minorities to own land

52

55

22

22

26

18

13

10

218

Minorities are not interested in owning land

15

14

20

21

24

33

30

59

216

Minorities are underrepresented in the local authorities who manage land

36

25

35

25

18

20

48

15

222

Lack of affirmative policies to promote equal opportunity policies on territorial land rights for minorities

35

44

33

23

20

31

13

29

228

n the national level minorities are not represented and their land rights and concerns are not raised

22

28

32

43

30

35

18

14

222

Many members of the minority groups don’t bother to grab in order to avoid confrontation

18

15

23

30

38

28

36

4.25

218

Mis-perception from the local authorities who think that any land given to minorities will not be put to good use

17

16

15

24

25

32

43

4.99

220

answered question 257

skipped question 0

Table 9: Ranking of impediment among the minority groups

Some of the main culprits impacting on women’s land rights and territorial rights of minorities are district councils (local authorities) whose job it is to manage land in their respective districts. These corrupt officials are fueling the land disputes for financial gains and instead of running the daily tasks of the city such as picking up the trash, repairing roads, and making the city streets safer, cleaner and friendlier for the families. These local elected officials become rich, in Somaliland standard, by manipulating a phony land titling and registration schemes.

 

In the box below (box 2) the study has recorded the information given by one of the KIIs (Mr. Ali Hassan) whose case highlights the plight of the minority and how their territorial land rights are impacted by; sometime by the people whom they offer lands take their land away.

 

Case study 2:

 

Box 2:

 

Ali Hassan: is a 38 years old owner of Tawakal Hair Saloon (for men) in Burao. He hails from the minority group (Gabooye) and lives with his 8 children and wife in the southern parts of Burao, along the Qasab Road. He told us that before the civil in 1980s his late father who had three “barber shops” and owned more than 8 plots of land had donated one plot to a long life friend who was from a powerful clan. The man managed to build two rooms on the donated land and after few years the conflict got worse and his family had to move to Mogadishu while the other family remained in Burao.

 

Following the collapse of the Somali State and the declaration of revoking its union with Somalia, Ali’s family had move away again from Mogadishu to Kismayo where his father died from hepatitis. It took the family to come back to Burao after 6 years. By that time their house got destroyed and was looted and even a single brick wasn’t there. In the meantime the man Ali father donated the piece of land was there with big building in the middle of their land.

 

The family wanted to set up a temporary shelter on the place where their house stood but the man told them that they couldn’t do that. Ali said that at the beginning “we all thought that the man was joking but the reality soon dawned on them when he threatened to them if they didn’t leave.” The family initially went to the police and reported about the incident. The police told them that the man has got documents for the land so if they have the right papers then they should submit. Ali says we couldn’t continue to pay legal fees and we had to give up, which is not uncommon in Somaliland.

 

Unfortunately, the papers got lost when they were in Kismayo and they had no any other means to prove, which means “it was his word against ours” and his was accepted by the court because he was a powerful clan and had some powerful friends in the government. Ali said we “were very desperate and had to acquiesced and accept his decision” and after some local mediation he “donated” us just one plot and we had to sell it for US $30,000 because the value of the land was so high and we had to build a house using the money from the plot.

 

 

7. ISSUES WITH LAND RIGHTS & IMPACTS ON WOMEN AND MINORITY GROUPS

This study has identified a whole host of issues impacting on land rights of women and territorial rights of minorities. Both of these groups are not faring out well due to endemic poverty among women (particularly female lead households) and minority groups. As indicated by the findings of the study, for example; among the minority group respondents 55% (N=143) are unemployed, and 32% (N=83) are self-employed, where as women 43% (N=101) are self-employed and 32% (N=76) are unemployed. Even among those who are employed their employment is mostly in the informal sectors. Research participants from both women and minority have mentioned that land tenure insecurity is caused by several reasons including unclear and not up-to-date papers, torn or lost land registration certificates, title in the name of the dead parents and land administration practices that are not transparent (corruption).

 

Figure 3: Major impediments faced by minority groups

 

Violence against women and minority groups is very common in most regions of the country and often engendered by land disputes, because of the highly inflated prices of real estate due to the speculations and growing interest for arable lands to farm. Buying and selling land has become the best game in the town for income hungry people. However, it is usually the poor and those with less social capital that bears the brunt of the problem. The situation is exacerbated by the failure of the government to enact a land tenure system resulting more “land grabbing”, which if not tackled could become a security threat for the country, and unless the political leadership come up with effective statutory laws or policies to manage, administer, and distribute the land the problem7.

 

 

Table 10: Issues that excludes women to own land

Is there something that stops you to own land?

Response Percent

Response Count

Threats from others

26.8%

42

Don’t have the means to own land

25.5%

40

Belong to minority group

9.6%

15

Not interested to own land

21.0%

33

Other (please specify) 17.2%

27

answered question 157

skipped question 100

 

As shown in the above table there were issues that stopped women to own land, for example, more than 26% (N=42) of women respondents said because of threats from others while 25% said because they didn’t have the means to own land.

 

More than 87% of FGD participants have agreed that Somaliland desperately needs land tenure system for both urban and rural areas—farming as well as grazing lands. In rural areas, everyone has carved out a piece of land for grazing, and the government does not know who owns what and where. We need a system that would classify the lands into settlement, farming and communal grazing, and wild life area for protected park and game reserves developments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 4: Issues that stops minority groups to own land

 

 

 

The main perpetrators of land-grabbing in Somaliland are the rich and the powerful with financial resources and political connections—the top business community in Somaliland. They are using their resources and political influence to seize land with the connivance of government officials and under guise of development. However, according to the majority of both KII and FGD participants (82%) the most protracted land disputes and expensive litigation happen between individuals. Sometimes these disputes escalate into skirmishes between two sub-clans because of inaccurate, lack of land records or double land claims. For some people, they choose “Xeer” (“Customary laws”), which is very efficient to settle their disputes over land.

 

Unfortunately, others end up using Somaliland’s broken judicial system for their litigation. Currently anyone could claim any piece of land or even any property in anywhere in the country. According to the FGD “all one has to do is to go to the district court, file a petition and pay a small fee” (usually between $10 and $20) to the court clerk. Then the petitioner has a claim, people dubbed this frivolous claim “Ku qabso, ku qadi mayside” or in English “Claim it, you won’t lose out”. Once courts open a land dispute case, which could take a year or even more, ownership is put on hold and the rightful owner could not sell or build the property and whoever the judge rules for the land would eventually claim it. Most likely, a corrupt judge would rule in favor of the petitioner, because he has a stake on the outcome of his decision.

 

6.1. Way forward

Advancing women’s economic and social standing through rural land reform requires a deeper understanding of their group-specific challenges that interact with the effectiveness of land policies. According to the FGD participants the analyses of the study have shown that the probability of tenure insecurity decreases when the rights of the landholders are formalized and legalized. The uses of advanced spatial data system have led into improvement in Cadastral Land Surveys and land management. For example, John Drysdale’s Somaliland cadastral survey used this technology to register and title effectively for small agricultural landowners in Gabiley County. We could use the same technology for urban areas as well as for grazing lands.

 

The land tenure system is a set of statutes that determines how land is used, owned, leveraged, leased, sold or in other ways disposed within society. These statutes may be established by the state or custom, and rights may accrue to individuals, families, communities, or organizations. The current paper based land registration system is prone to duplication, misplaced documents, and inaccurate record keeping, and multiple land claims, which would lead into more disputes and costly litigation it is therefore important to implement “Master Plan” particularly in Hargeisa and surrounding areas which is where 60% of all land disputes in the country occur.

 

Given its deep and long-standing clan-based and political culture Somaliland has a unique set of factors at play that impact on the current land tenure rights. These need to be understood in order to more effectively identify the challenges and opportunities to land reform. As in many post-conflict and fragile countries in Sub-Saharan Africa in Somaliland some of the pertinent factors that tend to contribute to make land as a contentious issue are population growth and movements, unregulated process of tenure, poor or none-existent land information management systems and equally inadequate legislation and land administrative frameworks.

 

 

Table 10: Land rights difficulties faced by minority

How do you best describe your opinion concerning the following statements? (5 = Strongly agree, 4 = Moderately agree, 3 = Undecided, 2 = Moderately disagree, 1 = Strongly disagree)

Answer Options

Strongly disagree

Moderately disagree

Undecided

Moderately agree

Strongly agree

Response Count

Existing land rights do not accommodate minority groups

48

25

39

50

89

251

Minority groups suffer more discrimination in terms of land right

15

27

25

59

126

252

Minority groups are excluded from land decision making

30

41

39

55

82

247

Minority groups are put pressure to sell off their lands to their neighbors

37

53

55

49

60

254

In the rural areas there are less minority groups to utilize communal lands

30

44

71

41

69

255

answered question 257

skipped question 0

 

 

The results of the study have shown that the perception of land tenure insecurity increases when the farm or plot’s economic value increases (through urban development projects or agribusiness ventures in the adjacent areas). In addition, tenure insecurity was found to be higher among women lead households and those from minority clans. Layouts of urban planning schemes or zoning laws are needed. It is also important enough space to be allocated to public utilities, parks, playgrounds, schools and clinics. Today, Hargeisa, it is dusty and congested, and you could not even find a government owned plot for public use.

 

When study respondents were asked as to what was the main impediments to guaranteeing that women and minority groups are not discriminated in terms of land and territorial rights; among women more than 54% noted that it was cultural and religious reasons that are behind the discrimination while 66% of minorities related the problem to the structure of the clan system. There is an evidence that women and minority groups fare out less when it comes to land rights and tenure security, for example according to the study it is the structure of the clan system which disfavors both women and minority groups by excluding them from the traditional decision-making networks.

8. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

By way of conclusion, it is hoped that the findings of the study will not only highlight the plight of women and minority groups in terms of their land and territorial rights but will also help the understanding their predicament and sharing of the information with the aim of helping decision makers to implement land tenure policies and procedures to ensure adequate land tenure security and protection. In addition, the study is proposing a way forward to ameliorate the situation and making recommendations in ways of strengthening women’s land rights and the territorial rights of minority groups.

 

It is equally expected that the findings of the study will provide NAGAAD and the FAO who are both working in women and minority groups’ land rights initiatives to promote policy formulation and practice as the study will provide evidence for the need to increase women and minority groups land rights and secure tenure so that they could fully participate in the utilization of the natural resources through fair land use system that secures the tenure of both individuals and communities. Some of the main recommendations of the study are noted below and reflect the views of survey participants:


 

  • There is a need to streamline and make the land registration and certification procedures fairer and transparent with the aim of reducing land tenure insecurity and duplication of different institutional mandates and legislations defining land and territorial rights.


 

  • Introducing legislation that provides women and minority groups’ equal access to land and territorial rights are overdue and are greatly needed in terms of use and control in order to introduce affirmative policies to support equal opportunities on territorial land rights for women and minority clans.

 

  • The study has found that there was a great deal of confusion from the part of women and minority groups regarding legislations defining land and territorial rights which engendered their land tenure insecurity so there is a need to start civic education and awareness on land related information.


 

  • In Somaliland at present, final title deeds (Certificate) are usually understood to be issued when land owners complete the building of their properties; otherwise certificates are issues to all holders. This procedure penalizes the poor (mostly women and minorities) and those who can’t afford to build their properties. This needs to be overhauled so that poor holders can access to title deeds with a view to protect their lands.


 

  • The government must introduce land policy providing tenure security for all citizens as that is considered to be a critical pre-requisite for stability and sustained economic development in Somaliland since it directly intersects with the interests of the population in terms of public policy process and has implications on peace and livelihoods of many people.


 

  • It is imperative to create structured and functioning legal, political and social institutions that support women and minority groups territorial and land rights and then secure their land tenure by protecting the ownership, use and control of the territorial rights of these individuals and groups.


 

  • There are suspicious religious leaders who are keen to take advantage of the absence of proper and equitable land tenure systems. A case in point is Sheikh Ahmed’s statement where he declared his opposition to “women’s land rights” but there are other religious leaders who take a different view and the latter must be utilized because their religious edicts matter.

 

  • There is a need to review how women and minorities are “represented” in the political arena of the country. However as highlighted in this study there is clearly no representation among women and minority groups both in the national level as well as in the local levels.

 

  • The results of the study have shown that the perception of land tenure insecurity increases when the farm or plot’s economic value increases (either through urban development projects or agribusiness ventures in the adjacent areas). In addition, tenure insecurity was found to be higher among women lead households and those from minority clans.

 

  • Capacity development for community organization like NAGAAD network is extremely important to foster women’s empowerment on land rights and security and utilize the media to promote women’s access, use and control of land resources and participation. Development donors and aid agencies need to provide resources and technical support to ensure consistency in the implementation of this gender mainstreaming tools

 

  • Women and minorities are made aware of their land and territorial rights using all mediums of communication and encouraged to participate and vote in the local elections and if possible selecting female political candidates with adequate resources and access to all forms of media coverage for publicity purposes is enhanced;

 

  • The results of the study have shown that the perception of land tenure insecurity increases when the farm or plot’s economic value increases (through urban development projects or agribusiness ventures in the adjacent areas). In addition, tenure insecurity was found to be higher among women lead households and those from minority clans.


 

  • In order to bring about secure land tenure systems there are advanced spatial data systems in the form of Cadastral Land Surveys. The advantage of this system is that it had been already tested in the Gabiley district and found to be effective in reducing land disputes in all forms of land use systems including farms, grazing areas and urban development.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANNEX 1: POLICY BRIEFS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ON WOMEN’S LAND RIGHTS AND TERRITORIAL RIGHTS OF SOMALI MINORITIES


 

ANNEX 2: LIST OFFICIALS INTERVIEWED

Nagaad organized and conducted sensitization or inception meetings with local authorities of the target districts before the research was conducted. Nagaad briefed the local authorities on the nature of the research, the objectives, goals and the expected results. Nagaad also asked permission from the local authorities to conduct the research. The following list shows the participants of the district authorities who attended the meetings.

Name

Title

District

Contact

Saleban Ali Awad

Member of District Committee

Ainabo

063-4403423

Halimo Mohamed Guuleed

Member of District Committee

Dila

063-4422832

Abdillaahi Mohamoud Hassan

Head of District Committee

Oodweyne

NA

Ahmed Ali

Member of the local council

Berbera

063-4484646

Barre Mohamed Abdillaahi

Member of District Committee

Balli-gubadle

063-4182682

Ayan Husein

Member of District Committee

El-Afwayn

063-4426569

Jama Ali Wa’ays

Member of the local council

Las-Anod

063-4497159

Qadiija Jama Aalim

Member of District Committee

Dila

NA

Ahmed Ali-Baashe Mohamoud

Member of the local council

Burao

063-4431429


 

 

ANNEX 3: THE PROFILES OF STUDY AREAS

Local governments as political and administrative units in Somaliland are organized under Regions and Districts Self-Administration Law 23/2002. Although officially there are 42 districts in Somaliland, as promulgated in such a Law, in recent times, 25 more districts have been created (either by a presidential decree or tacit agreement between the Central Government (CG) and clan leaders) to make a total of 67 district councils. District Councils are divided into grades: A, B, C, and D. There are no clear parameters for grading the districts except that Grade A districts normally have higher population than others in the region and are also regional capitals. Based on Article 112 of the Somaliland Constitution and Articles 11 and 36 of Law 23/2002, the District Councils have full powers to design, take decision, finance, deliver and manage variety of tasks in so far as they have the capacity to do so. The functions are extensive and include enforcing local security; land registration and all land tenure related issues, promotion of economic growth and development as well as promotion of social welfare services such as education, health, water, electricity, sanitation, and promotion of economic infrastructure and environment, commercialization of goods, livestock and fish; etc.

Burao District (Togdheer region)

The town of Burao is the regional capital of Togdheer, and is the second largest city in Somaliland. Burao has experienced fast growth in size and population in the last 10 years, partly due to the capital investments sent from the Diaspora by people from the region and partly by severe droughts which affected all the eastern regions and forced nomads to abandon their harsh nomadic lives and come to join the urban live. This fast and uncontrolled expansion exacerbated the already existing capacity problems: unemployment, sanitation, security etc. Burao is situated in 233 km (145 miles) east of Hargeisa and 145 km (90 miles) south of Berbera. There are 72 villages that come under the jurisdiction of Burao District Council. The population of Burao is estimated around 288,0008 and the economy of the district as well as the strongly linked to the livestock breeding and trading. Burao is the busiest and the most important livestock market in Somaliland however in recent years agro-pastoral livelihoods are increasing and people are integrating livestock and farming to maximize production in such an arid region. In this study Burao district was allocated 80 questionnaires.

Dila District (Awdal region)

Dila district is part of Awdal region and is located on the road between Borama and Hargeisa. Dila district is about 18 Km at the Eastern part of the region. Dila is a historical town and surrounded by beautiful mountains. In terms of the livelihood of the district considered as an agro-pastoral area where the people farm their lands while at the same rearing livestock to supplement their income. The population of Dila district and its surrounding 26 villages is estimated around 25,000 and people get most of its income from farming. Although Dila is dependent on integrated farming and pastoral economy it has also a strong Diaspora community who support the district through remittance. Land disputes arise in the area but because Dila’s history farm boundaries are well documented hence there is less land grabbing in the district however Dila is not immune from the growing land disputes that are happening in many parts of the country. The study has allocated 40 questionnaires for Dila district residents.

Hargeisa District (Maroodi-Jeex region)

Hargeisa is the capital city of Somaliland and is the biggest city in the country. It is located in the main road that links Ethiopia to Somaliland. It is about 145 km (90 miles) South-West of Berbera and about 80 km (50 miles). The city has grown very fast and for the past 10 years or so and appears to have recovered from the almost total destruction it suffered during the civil conflict in 1988 – 1991. The District Council of Hargeisa is probably the busiest in the country due to the increased value of the land surrounding the capital which is utilized for both farming and real estate development. Hargeisa has got 6 districts and its population is estimated around 560,000 (other data puts the figure between 600,000 and 700,000). There are 25 Councilors elected in Hargeisa and there are four sub-committees in the council and these are: Economic and Development, Peace and Reconciliation, Social Affairs and General Works. This study has allocated 120 questionnaires for the residents of Hargeisa district (60 female and 60 male).

Odweine District (Daad-Madheedh region)

Odweine is an ancient town located about 65 km (40 Miles) West of Burao and about 145 km (90 Miles) East of Hargeisa. Odweine town is bordered in the north and east by small range of mountains and in the south and west by lowland plains which extends all the way towards the Ethiopian border. The population of the district is estimated around 42,000. The town has a large dry river which brings precious water during the rainy seasons. Rainfall is erratic as im many parts of the country and agriculture is scarcely practiced as the majority of the population is composed of nomadic pastoralists and because of the dry and difficult climate in the region does not favor conditions for farming. However in recent years there is an increasing trend where people are integrating livestock and farming to maximize productivity. About 70% of the district’s inhabitants get their livelihoods through livestock production and its related activities, while about 15% get their living from farming and agriculture related land use systems. Odweine has got a large Diaspora community who remit considerable sums of money to the town. The study has allocated about 40 questionnaires for Odweine district.

Berbera (Sahil region)

Berbera is a historical town and has got Somaliland’s main port, and was also the colonial capital of the British Somaliland protectorate from 1892 to 1941. It is located strategically on the southern side of the Gulf of Aden which is the oil and trade route. Berbera is a seaport with the only sheltered harbor on the southern side of the Gulf of Aden. Berbera’s main economy depends on the port and the services related to it. It population is estimated around 60,000, however most residents leave the town during the summer and spend some time either in Burao, Sheikh or Hargeisa. Berbera has got a deep seaport extended in 1969 and is still the main commercial seaport in Somaliland. It is the terminus of roads from Hargeisa and Burao and an airport now adds to its accessibility. Berbera district council controls large area and its services are supplemented from the fees of the port. By and large the economy of the district depends on the port services be it imports of goods or exports of livestock and other products including frankincense, gums and resins. The study has allocated 50 questionnaires for Berbera district.

Bali-Gubadle District (Hawd region)

Bali-Gubadle is located about 50 Km South of Hargeisa and is considered as pastoral district since the bulk of its economy is dependent on livestock. There is a small scale rain-fed farming and agro-pastoral livelihood activities but livestock is the mainstay of this district. Bali-Gubadle was made a district in 2008 and it has also been made a region recently. The population of Bali-Gubadle is estimated at around 10,000 and it is a growing town and particularly since a road linking it to Hargeisa was built the flow of goods and trade has increased. It is estimated that about 55% of the population in the town depends on livestock, and about 15% lives on agro-pastoral; while the remaining 30% depends on remittance from relatives in the Diaspora and the rest gets its livelihoods from petty trades. The main land dispute in the district is either caused by grazing areas turned into farms or land grabbing by well connected business people. The study has allocated 40 questionnaires to Odweine district.

Ainabo District (Saraar region)

Ainabo is part of the Saraar region. It is an ancient town which is one of the new districts established in the past 10 years. It is located between Burao and Las Anod, it is about 129 km (80 Miles) of Eastern Burao. The population of the Ainabo district is estimated around 30,000 and the population gets its livelihoods from different sources including livestock. For example, the district of Ainabo is heavily dependent on livestock; about 75% of the district’s income comes from livestock. The fact that Ainabo is located on the Burao – Las Anod main road also contributes to the economy of the district and people from the Ainabo and the surrounding villages get access to markets for their products as well as other trading and traveling are easy for the population from the district.

Eel-Afwayn District (Sanaag region)

Eel Afwayn is part of Erigabo region and is located between Burao and Erigabo, it is located at 238 km (147 Miles) east of Burao and 78 km (48 Miles) West of Erigabo. Eel-Afwayn district has an estimated population of around 65,000. In terms of livelihoods the district is suitable for both livestock grazing and rain-fed farming. The district is situated at the edge of well known Nugaal plains that are revered for their rich grasslands; it has also in recent years become an area where agro-pastoral land use livelihood is practiced. Eel-Afwayn has also got large Diaspora community who support their district with. People in the district of Eel-Afwayn are eager to see the road between Burao and Erigabo gets completed which they feel will contribute to their livelihoods in terms of getting access to markets in Burao and beyond. The study has allocated 40 questionnaires to Eel-Afwayn.

 

Las-Anod District (Sool region)

Las-Anod district is part of Sool and is located along the main road that connects Somaliland to Puntland, about 251 km (155 Miles). The population of Las-Anod is estimated around 75,000 and they mainly depend their livelihoods not only on livestock but also on services since it connects Somali populated regions of Somalia and Puntland to Somaliland. The region of Sool is rich in livestock and although agro-pastoral activities have been increasing in recent years livestock is the backbone of the region’s livelihood and economic activities. The study has allocated about 50 questionnaires for Las-Anod district.


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

ANNEX 4: ASSESSMENT TOOLS


 

Questionnaire 1 (Women Land Rights)

 

women’s land rights

  1. General Information

Name (optional): …………………………………........

 

District: …………………………………….

 

Region: …………………………………….

 

Age: ..............

 

Telephone: .........................................

What do you do for a living?

a) Public employee 

b) Self employed 

c) Business person 

d) Agro-Pastoralist 

e) Pastoralist 

d) Unemployed 

Others, please specify: 

……………………………...................................

 

2. Marital Status

 

Single 

Married 

Divorced 

Widowed 

 

3. What is your level of education:

 

Never went to school 

Primary/Intermediate School 

Secondary school 

Diploma 

Degree/Master 

Others 

Please specify: …………………………………….

 

5. Which of the following livelihood categories is appropriate to you?

 

a) Urban 

b) Agro-pastoral 

c) Pastoral 

d) Others, please describe 

.......................................................................................

6. Do you or any of your relatives own land?

 

If Yes, what type of land do you own?

a) Farm 

b) plot in urban land 

c) Piece of rural land 

d) Other 

Please specify ……………………………………….

e) Specify the total area of your land (m2) …………..

……………………………………

 

If No, is there something that stops you to own land? If No, go to the next question. If Yes, which of the following reasons:

a) Threats from others 

b) Don’t have the means to own land 

c) Not interested to own land 

d) Other 

Please specify: ...............................................

........................................................................

 

7. How did you acquire your land?

 

a) I bought it 

b) I got from the local authority 

c) I got as part of my parent’s inheritance 

d) I got it as a donation 

e) Other 

Please specify: ...........................................................................................................................

8. Have you ever been excluded from owning land?

  • Yes

If Yes select one of the following:

a) My relatives don’t want me to have land 

b) My husband doesn’t allowed me to own land 

c) I can’t afford to buy land 

d) My parents excluded me from their will 

e) Others 

Please specify: ..........................................................

..........................................................................................................................................................................

  • No

If No, have you witnessed or heard others been excluded from owning land? If No go to the next question. If Yes tell us the reasons:

a) Women are not interested owning land 

b) Women are not given the best lands because they quickly sell it off 

c) Others 

Please specify: ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

9. Do you think women face challenges in terms of their land rights?

  • Yes

If Yes, please score from 1 to 5, the highest being 5 and the

lowest being 1:

a) The way Islamic Will or inheritance is divided among children favors men over women -----

b) Lack of enthusiasm among women to own land -----

c) Women are discriminated & denied to own land -----

d) Women handover their lands to relatives -----

 No

If No, how do you substantiate your assertion:

a) I am a women myself 

b) I work with women 

c) I heard from women that they have no problem 

d) I don’t know 

10. What do you think are the major impediments facing women in terms of land rights in the country? Rank what you consider to be the leading problems in order of their importance (1 for highest, 2 for second highest priority and so on)

No.

Problems

Rank

1.

Cultural and religious reasoning to discriminate women

 

2.

Structure of the clan system disfavors women to own land

 

3.

Women are not interested in owning land

 

4.

There are hardly any women representatives in local authorities who manage land

 

5.

Lack of affirmative policies to promote women’s land rights

 

6.

Men tend to deliberately discriminatory towards women when it comes to land rights

 

7.

Many women are shy and reserved to grab land for themselves

 

8.

Fear from families that lands given to women will end up in the hands of husbands from other clans

 

11. How much do you rate the suggestions below to be essential for improving women’s land rights in the country? (excellent =5: very good =4: fairly good =3:negligible good =2: not good = 1)

Suggestions

Score

a. Legislation that provides women equal access to land rights in terms of use & control

 

b. Promote women’s land rights in the society and raise awareness

 

c. Stop discrimination against women when it comes to land rights

 

d. Encourage women to participate in the local and national decision making levels

 

e. Encourage and implement gender policy to support women’s access to land

 

f. Safeguard women’s rights to have equal access to land

 

g. Others, specify: …………………………………………………………………

…………………………………………………………………………………….

 

12. How do you best describe your opinion concerning the following statements? (5 = Strongly agree, 4 = Moderately agree, 3 = Undecided, 2 = Moderately disagree, 1 = Strongly disagree)

Statement

Scale

  1. Existing land rights do not accommodate women

 

  1. Women suffer more discrimination than men

 

  1. Women are excluded from land decision making

 

  1. Women are put under pressure to sell off their lands to male relatives

 

  1. In the rural areas when men go to urban areas they often leave behind women and children who find it difficult to defend their communal lands

 

 

 

Signature: ....................................................... Date: ...........................................

 

 

Thank you very much for your time and assistance in filling out the questionnaire for this

Important study

 

 

 

 

Questionnaire 2 (Minority Groups Territorial Rights)

 

Minority Group’s Land Right

1. General Information

 

Name (optional): …………………………………........

 

District: …………………………………….

 

Region: …………………………………….

 

 

 

What do you do for a living?

a) Public employee 

b) Self employed 

c) Business person 

d) Agro-Pastoralist 

e) Pastoralist 

d) Unemployed 

Others, please specify: 

……………………………...................................

2. Personal Information

 

Gender:

Male  Female 

Age: .......................

Telephone: ........................................................

 

2. Marital Status

Single 

Married 

Divorced 

Widowed 

3. What is your level of education:

Never went to school 

Primary/Intermediate School 

Secondary school 

Diploma 

Degree/Master 

Others 

Please specify: …………………………………….…

 

4. Which of the following livelihood categories is appropriate to you?

a) Urban 

b) Agro-pastoral 

c) Pastoral 

d) Others, please describe 

.......................................................................

 

5. Do you or any of your relatives own land?

 

If Yes, what type of land do you own?

a) Farm 

b) Plot in urban land 

c) Piece of rural land 

d) Other 

Please specify ……………………………………….

e) Specify the total area of your land (m2) …………..

 

If No, is there something that stops you to own land? If No, go to the next question. If Yes, which of the following reasons:

a) Threats from others 

b) Don’t have the means to own land 

c) Belong to minority group

d) Not interested to own land 

d) Other 

Please specify: ...............................................

........................................................................

 

6. How did you acquire your land?

 

a) I bought it 

b) I got it from the local authority 

c) I got it as part of my parent’s will 

d) I got it as a donation 

e) Other 

Please specify: ...........................................................................................................................

7. Have you ever been excluded from owning land?

  • Yes

If Yes select one of the following:

a) I belong to a minority group and not

allowed to own land 

b) I can’t afford to buy land 

c) My parents excluded me from their will 

e) Others 

Please specify: ....................................................

.................................................................................................................................................

  • No

If No, have you witnessed or heard others been excluded from owning land? If No go to the next question. If Yes tell us the reasons:

a) Minority groups aren’t interested to own land since most them are found in the urban areas 

b) Minority groups sell off the best lands due to poverty 

c) Others 

Please specify: ……………………………………………………………………………………………………..

8. Do you think minority groups face challenges in terms of their land rights?

  • Yes

If Yes, please score from 1 to 5, the highest being 5 and the

lowest being 1:

a) Lack of enthusiasm among minority to own land -----

b) Minorities are discriminated and denied to own land -----

c) Minority groups are forced to give up their lands -----

d) Others -----

Please specify: …………………………………………………

…………………………………………………………………

 No

If No, how do you substantiate your assertion:

a) I am member of the minority 

b) I work with the minority groups 

c) I heard that they have no problem 

d) I don’t know 

 

9. What do you think are the major impediments facing minority groups in terms of land rights in the country? Rank what you consider to be the leading problems in order of their importance (1 for highest, 2 for second highest priority and so on)

No.

Problems

Rank

1.

Clan structure leaves minority group’s land unprotected

 

2.

Structure of the clan system disfavors minorities to own land

 

3.

Minorities are not interested in owning land

 

4.

Minorities are underrepresented in the local authorities who manage land

 

5.

Lack of affirmative policies to promote equal opportunity policies on territorial land rights for minorities

 

6.

In the national level minorities are not represented and their land rights and concerns are not raised

 

7.

Many members of the minority groups don’t bother to grab in order to avoid confrontation

 

8.

Misperception from the local authorities who think that any land given to minorities will not be put to good use

 

 

10. How much do you rate the suggestions below to be essential for improving minority group’s land rights in the country? (excellent =5: very good =4: fairly good =3: negligible good =2: not good = 1)

Suggestions

Score

1. Legislation that provides minorities equal access to land rights in terms of use and

control need to be brought in

 

2. Promote minority group’s land and territorial rights in the society and raise awareness

 

3. Stop discrimination against minority groups when it comes to land rights

 

4. Encourage minority groups to participate in the local and national decision making

Levels

 

5. Encourage and implement equal opportunities policy to promote minority group’s

access to land

 

11. How do you best describe your opinion concerning the following statements? (5 = Strongly agree, 4 = Moderately agree, 3 = Undecided, 2 = Moderately disagree, 1 = Strongly disagree)

Statement

Scale

a. Existing land rights do not accommodate minority groups

 

b. Minority groups suffer more discrimination in terms of land right

 

c. Minority groups are excluded from land decision making

 

d. Minority groups are put pressure to sell off their lands to their neighbors

 

e. In the rural areas there are less minority groups to utilize communal lands

 

 

 

Signature: ....................................................... Date: ...........................................

 

Thank you very much for your time and assistance in filling out the questionnaire for this important study

Focus Group Discussions

QUESTIONS FOR THE THREE FGDs HELD IN 3 DIFFERENT ZONES

No.

Questions for participants

Notes for supervisors

1.

How are land rights secured by women / minority group?

Try to list the various ways different answers provided by the participants.

2.

Are there any threats to the rights of women headed HH or HHs of persons from minority clans?

Ask more questions on the main characteristics of communal land as compared to land owned by individuals?

3.

Are there common areas for which the HH get benefits – grazing and wild fruits etc.?

Ask questions on acquisition of their land including the need to respect the locality of the land and acquisition.

4.

Do women take part in decision making regarding land tenure and land use?

 

Entice participants to discuss frameworks for the management and administration of the land and implications on access?

5.

Do you think if women and people from minority clans are given access to land that will improve their HH livelihoods?

Inspect the participants’ awareness of the Formal land management system and the customary influence on land.

6.

Do you think the main challenges to women and minority groups’ land rights to come from a negative societal perception or from the lack of land tenure laws?

What are some of the deeper issues surrounding the issue of the ownership of land by women in the district?

7.

How can the social perception be changed about the land rights of women and minority groups?

 

Inspect the challenges that women may face in relation to the acquisition of real property in a patrilineal society.

8.

How do you see future land conflict will be reduced?

Is land in urban areas as compared to rural areas within the district subject to different conditions in terms of the frameworks for management/administration?


 

  • People who are expected to participate in the FGDs and KIIs for the research are the following: traditional elders, religious leaders, academics, parliamentarians, civil society, women and minority group representatives and government officials.

Key Informant Interview Guideline Questions

No.

Discussion questions

1.

What do you know about legislation that provides women and minorities equal access to land rights in terms of use and control?

2.

Why have lands issues become a source of conflict in your area?

3.

What do you think we need to do to stop discrimination against women and minority groups when it comes to land rights?

4.

What are the major challenges faced by women and minorities groups in terms of their land and territorial rights?

5.

Do you think that current legislation will encourage and implement equal opportunities policy to promote women and minority group’s access to land?

6.

What recommendations would law makers, policy makers and development partners on these issues?

7.

How do you see future land disputes can be reduced?


 

       


 

Annex 5: References

 

  1. FAO Land Tenure Studies, 2005

  2. Improving Gender Equality in Territorial Issues (IGETI), FAO, July 2012.

  3. Land-based Conflict Project: WORKING NOTE, Academy for Peace and Development, Sept. 20, 2007.

  4. Ministry of National Planning and National Development MoP&ND) , Somaliland National Vision 2030 (2011).

  5. Regions, Districts and their Populations: UNDP 2005

  6. Somaliland Needs A Land Tenure System, Ali Mohamed, SomalilandPress, 31st May 2012

  7. Reflections of Peace and Reconciliation in Somaliland, Unpublished Paper, A. Hassan, August 2013.

  8. Somaliland Investment Guide, Ministry of Commerce and Investment, Oct. 2014.

  9. Tool Kit for the Application of Participatory & Negotiated Territorial Development in Trans-border Rights Zone, FAO, July 2006.

  10. Quarterly Report: Strengthening Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Somalia, Second Quarter 2015

  11. UNDP Somalia Gender equality and Women’s empowerment Strategy (2011 – 2015).


 


 

1 Land-based Conflict Project: WORKING NOTE, Academy for Peace and Development, Sept. 20, 2007.

2 FAO Land Tenure Studies, 2005

3 Reflections of Peace and Reconciliation in Somaliland, Unpublished Paper, A. Hassan, August 2013.

4 Somaliland Investment Guide, Ministry of Commerce and Investment, Oct. 2014.

5 Ministry of National Planning and National Development MoP&ND) , Somaliland National Vision 2030 (2011).

6 Somaliland Needs A Land Tenure System, Ali Mohamed, SomalilandPress, 31st May 2012.

7 Somaliland Needs A Land Tenure System, Ali Mohamed, SomalilandPress, 31st May 2012

8 Regions, Districts and their Populations: UNDP 2005

 

The purpose of this study is to develop an in-depth understanding of the extent to which land rights of women and territorial rights of minority groups are respected and protected by existing statutory, customary and Sharia laws and practices. In doing so this study has set out to identify the main factors that are impacting on women and minority clans/groups land rights and explore how these could be mitigated.