Project Overview and Contact Information

Project Title: Gender Equity and Joint Titling in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Indonesia

Term: April 2001-December 2002

Funding: U.S. Agency for International Development, Rural Development Institute, Land Tenure Center

Amount: $67, 412

Project contacts: Susana Lastarria-Cornhiel, Project Director ((608) 262-0097, slastarr@facstaff.wisc.edu)

Participating institutions: Rural Development Institute (RDI, Seattle, Washington, USA); Fundación Internacional para el Desafío Económico Global (FIDEG, Managua, Nicaragua); Universidad Pedagógica Nacional Francisco Morazán (Tegucigalpa, Honduras); Universitas Indonesia (Jakarta, Indonesia)

Summary: Titling programs and formal property rights institutions often grant title to just one person—usally the (male) head of household. Titling both wife and husband jointly has often been recommended as an alternative, and is being implemented in a number of countries. In preparation for in-depth study of the impact of joint titling on gender equity, this project undertook rapid appraisals in three countries to explore the implementation and effectiveness of joint titling programs.

Objective: To discover whether joint titling programs are effectively granting legal rights to land to eligible women, and to determine what constraints are inhibiting joint titling.

Gender Equity and Joint Titling in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Indonesia

Project Description

Numerous titling and registration programs have been implemented in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe as a necessary measure to ensure the property rights of smallholders and increase their access to other production factors, particularly credit. A major criticism of titling programs and formal property rights institutions (such as property registries), however, is their tendency to grant title for household property (land or housing) to just one person in the household, usually the male head of household. As a response, the mechanism of joint titling (titling both wife and husband) has been often recommended and is being implemented in a number of countries. In preparation for in-depth study on the impact of joint titling on gender equity, rapid appraisals were undertaken in three countries to explore the implementation and effectiveness of joint titling programs.

This project included policy- and program-oriented research on the constraints to the implementation of joint titling programs and the lessons that can be learned from an analysis of these constraints. The main research questions explored were: (1) what obstacles were found in issuing joint titles, and (2) what are women’s perceptions of joint titles. The main objective was to discover whether joint titling programs are effectively granting legal rights to land to eligible women and what constraints were inhibiting joint titling.

The rapid appraisals included a review of legislation affecting women’s property rights, interviews with key informants in civil society and in the titling program at various levels, and interviews with women landholders individually or in group focal meetings. A workshop for the main researchers was held in November 2002, resulting in a synthesis document of the three rapid appraisals.

Publications and Outputs


Country Background Information

Nicaragua

Honduras


Indonesia