By Abdoulie G. Dibba

This Column is meant to monitor and report on issues that concern theACTIVISTA CELEBRATES RURAL WOMEN DAY
people of the rural area in terms of how they are facilitating or
hindering their development.
In the last edition, it was stated that as we commemorate rural women
day on the 15th of October 2015, the Life of the Rural People Columnwill be highlighting the situation of the rural women in terms of
poverty, drudgery in the absence of labour saving devices, lack of
control and ownership of land which is key to any agricultural
activities, etc.
In this edition, we shall deal with Activista celebration of RuralACTIVISTA CELEBRATES
Women’s Day in Basse on the 15th October 2015.
Talking to Muhammad Lamin Saidykhan, the Coordinator of Activista on
the day, he said 15th October 2015 used to be celebrated as the Rural
Women’s Day but that this year, Activista hosted the National Women
Convergence in Basse Area Council Hall URR.
The activity, he said, is aimed at creating a participatory space for
smallholder farmers especially rural women to share women’s
contribution to national development, challenges they are facing and
demands for social change on women land right which promote national
food security.

Mr. Saidykhan noted that the event brought together 50 smallholder
women farmers, regional authorities, media, civil society
organizations, youth groups and organizing committee and celebrants of
this year world food day celebration as URR is the host.
He indicated that their interaction with rural women and local
authorities has revealed that Land administration is made through the
land tenure system which is based on customary and formal tenure
systems. Land tenure in the provinces he said is governed by customary
laws through the lands (provinces) Act.
According to Activista Coordinator, land tenure system is the body of
rights and duties which regulates the use and control of land.
Customary systems, he said, do favour the male head of the family
represents the family’s interests at the detriment of women.
Mr. Saidykhan indicated that the family head allocates all family
lands to male members of the family and allocated rice growing areas
to women which are now being intruded by salinity.
So the activities surrounding the campaign are basically to:-
-create awareness on the negative impact of culture/religious
misinterpretations that impedes Women Small Farmers ownership and
control over land;
-Empowerment of Women Small Farmers to resist, claim and defend their
rights to land which will promote household and national food
security; and
-Enforcement of policies that ensure security of tenure for Women
Small Holder Farmers (WSF) for food security.

Mr. Saidykhan concluded that the demands of Women smallholders farmers
that are to be endorse by regional authorities for action and the ones
agreed during the national rural women convergent, will be submitted
to the National Assembly for action and fulfillment in 2016.