Fighting land corruption in Sub-Saharan Africa: Widows tell their story

Fighting land corruption in Sub-Saharan Africa: Widows tell their story



The land my husband and I farmed on has been taken away from me... when I appealed to the Tindana I found him drinking with the same people who evicted me from the land.”

– Video project participant

Land corruption is a major problem in Sub-Saharan Africa. Whether it’s a shady deal between private investors and local authorities, citizens having to pay bribes to secure title deeds, or customary laws that deny women their land rights, land corruption hits the poor and marginalised hardest.

Food insecurity and an increased risk of conflict are some of the consequences of land corruption. For, so long as access to information and justice in the land sector is limited and citizens are left out of decision-making processes about the land they tend, corruption will thrive.

We believe that if citizens are given a voice to speak out and demand action from those who abuse their land rights, change is possible.

Here is a video made with 10 widowed women from Kulbia, a village in the eastern part of Ghana.

In this village, customary laws dictate that when a woman’s husband dies, the land they both worked on is given to male-headed households. The film documents the corruption and abuse that denied the women their livelihood. It also shows how the local land custodian, or Tindana, eventually agrees to support the women’s rights.

The aim of this project was to enable community members to document land issues affecting them, so they can push for change in traditional practices and, ultimately, put an end to the corruption and abuse they face. Because land corruption affects men and women differently, there has to be a gender-sensitive approach.

The video was screened to the public at the local women’s resource centre so everyone could see the commitments made by Tindana. We are working on more of these participatory films to document the damaging effects of land corruption.

Transparency International is taking part in the World Bank Land and Poverty conference this week, where we’ll present evidence of the effects of land corruption in Sub-Saharan Africa and call on the international community to recognise it as a serious threat to livelihoods which needs urgent attention. Our work on corruption and land is looking for new solutions to change people’s lives. Click here to read about a small grants programme that is making a difference in Malawi, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

The participatory video was made possible by a joint partnership between the Ghana Integrity Initiative, local partner organisation Widows & Orphans Movement and InsightShare, a UK-based community development organisation.

 

Image: InsightShare / Transparency International

For any press enquiries please contact press@transparency.org

Latest

Support Transparency International

Land rights in Georgia: the stench of corruption

This is the story of how Transparency International’s Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre in Georgia helped a group of villagers win a legal battle against local authorities who had stolen their land.

How corruption affects climate change

Corruption and climate change are closely intertwined.

The secret is out: US$2.7 billion of São Paulo property linked to offshore companies

Our investigation into the real estate market in São Paulo shows how easy it is to hide more than US$2.7 billion worth of property behind shell companies.

Clean contracting at work: an example from Vilnius

The Neris Riverside development is part of a wider initiative to promote clean contracting across Europe – all told, we're monitoring 17 major public contracts worth nearly €1 billion.

A year after Panama Papers, is enough being done to stop illicit finance?

The Panama Papers revealed a global web of secret companies and stealthy crooks hiding stolen wealth, but one year on the corrupt still find it too easy to shift illegal assets and sustain criminally luxurious lifestyles.

Corruption in Asia Pacific: what 20,000+ people told us

We spoke to nearly 22,000 people about their recent experiences with corruption in 16 countries and territories in the Asia Pacific region. See what they revealed.

FIFA must do more to win back trust of football fans

It’s been one year since Gianni Infantino was elected president of FIFA with promises to clean up football. How do football fans think he's doing?

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media

Would you like to know more?

Sign up to stay informed about corruption news and our work around the world