A man shared family land with his sisters after attending USAID-sponsored event.
11 APRIL 2013 | KABUL, AFGHANISTAN
Land is the most important economic asset in Afghanistan. In rural areas, access to land is key to avoiding poverty. When a woman relinquishes her land inheritance or is precluded from owning land, her economic stability, food security, and livelihood opportunities are compromised. The USAID Land Reform in Afghanistan (LARA) Project works with the Government of Afghanistan to increase women’s land tenure security. Women’s right to inherit and own land is protected by law but is not universally understood.
In November 2012, the LARA Project conducted a public roundtable event in the Aga Khail village in Kabul on the importance of women’s ability to own, access, and inherit land. Panelists included members of the Kabul Provincial Council, representatives of the Afghan judicial force, members of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and local elders. Participants discussed challenges to increasing women’s access to inheritance and implementing the laws that protect their rights, such as the Law of Inheritance and the Elimination of Violence against Women Law.
Women participants shared their own stories, describing personal hardships they faced in trying to claim their land inheritance. Several spoke of their experiences with conflict, domestic violence, hunger, and homelessness.
Moved by the discussion, one male participant, Haji Noorullah, spoke. “My father past away ten years ago. I did not even think to give my sisters their inheritance. I took it for granted, thinking it belongs only to me. After listening to what the elders and panelists have said, I know we must give women their land and inheritance. It is based in our religion and the constitution. I have decided to grant my sisters their share of our inherence and save myself from this sin.”
Five days after the roundtable, Noorullah signed letters granting family land to each of his sisters. He indicated to LARA project staff that he has received support from his community, and believes his action will encourage other men to do the same.
Last updated: September 29, 2015