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Women's Property Rights Success in Rural KenyaLandesa’s Kenya Justice Project has successfully negotiated women’s property rights in rural Kenya. Landesa, actively fights to attain and provide land property for those in global poverty and has successfully worked with USAID to target the progress of women’s rights in Kenya.

Recently, the Kenyan constitution was amended to grant more freedoms and political access to women. Property rights (in the form of access to land), is often taken for granted in most developed countries. But many developing countries, like Kenya, have not guaranteed rights for women. Additionally, the majority of those denied secure access to land rights are rural women farmers. Therefore, the heavy advocacy for the inclusion of women in state practices and formal constitutions is necessary for successful development and in this case, development of Kenya.

Landesa’s program in Kenya has seen success in marriage disputes as women’s written consent is necessary before property transactions are approved. Women are also increasingly able to acquire their own land to live on and farm independently of men. Another vital aspect to the progress is that women are now eligible to become elected as an elder and make larger impacting decisions, a role that was previously male dominated. More girls also attend school, which has now balanced the gender ratio of students.

Women’s access to property rights allows greater individual and political security and is a forward step in progress. Gender equality is vital to development as it “has the potential to end the cycle of poverty by enabling women to contribute to community decisions and govern family resources and money wisely.”

Evan Walker

Source: ONE

Cellphone Payment Being Used For WaterIn a country where mobile-phones are everywhere, but access to clean water is limited, one company is using the phone as a payment method for water. Kenya has a cellphone payment system, M-Pesa, which is becoming ubiquitous nation-wide as a critical method of payment and access to new possibilities, far beyond just talking with friends. The Grundfos Lifelink company manufactures and maintains solar-powered pumps to provide safe drinking water around Kenya. It is a pay-per-use service, using high-tech methods to overcome low-tech needs.

In this cellphone payment, each customer uses a personal Lifelink fob key. They will simply wave the key at a sensor and outcomes 20 liters of clean water. An added benefit to this system is that money collected will go to a virtual account and thus safeguarded so that it is not misspent on other things, local cash payments are often mishandled. Recent research has shown that many similar water projects fail after two years because money is not reserved for the continual maintenance that is needed for the equipment.

“In terms of tech solutions, it’s cutting edge,” says Manji, head of water and sanitation at Kenya Red Cross Ayaz. “But, in other ways, it’s not quite working… We’re in a social market. It’s a balancing act, so it’s not as easy as raising your tariffs. If you raise your tariffs, people go back to drinking from the river.”  The biggest problem is that Lifelink is not collecting as much money as they expected to. They do hope to develop a less expensive model by the end of next year, thereby bringing down the end cost to the consumer.

– Mary Purcell

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Flickr