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Regional poverty themes

HIV/AIDS and Land: Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi & South Africa

Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS Research Alliance Conference

1 – 4 September 2002 , Pretoria, South Africa

Dan Mullins - Oxfam GB Regional Management Centre, Pretoria

Scott Drimie - Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria

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Background to the Study

Empirical data on links between land and AIDS
  • FAO: Kenya, Lesotho, South Africa
  • HSRC: coordination; South Africa
  • Oxfam GB: Malawi
“If we do not explicitly factor in the impacts and trends of HIV/AIDS as a central feature of how to do land reform . . . We are being professionally negligent, misusing resources for poverty reduction, and are unlikely to achieved our objectives.”

Land policy encompasses .three main dimensions
  • Land use
  • Land rights
  • Land administration
Two-Way Influence: HIV/AIDS and Land

HIV/AIDS and Land: Profound Challenge

Management challenge for those involved in land reform and rural development

Challenge to all aspects of land policy as it affects both:
  • people whom land policy is intended to benefit
  • people staffing the institutions that support the policy implementation
The effect of HIV/AIDS on households/livelihood strategies

Findings from the Studies

Impacts on Land Use

Change land use
  • Lower productivity
  • Less labour intensive uses
  • Leave land fallow
Different users
  • Rent or lease out land
  • Enter into sharecropping or other contractual arrangements
  • Lend land to others
Lose land
  • Sell land formally or informally
  • Abandon land
  • Others forcibly take land way
Impacts on Land Use: Examples
  • Gender and age: key influences everywhere
  • Most sites: reduced agricultural yields
    • Reduced labour due to illness, shift to increased caring demands
    • Sale of productive assets: seeds, cattle
    • Responsibility shifts to young and old
    • Less experience and skills
       multi-generational impacts
  • Changing amounts of land under use ?
    • Kenya: significant reduction in cultivated land but
    • Southern Malawi: high density, so land taken by new users
Land Use affects HIV/AIDS

Weakened livelihoods increase risks of HIV/AIDS
  • new HIV transmission: women and girls engaging in sex work
  • poverty and poor nutrition speed progress from HIV to AIDS

Impacts on Land Rights

Vulnerable people under increased pressure
  • Gender and age: both affect ability to enjoy rights
Affects ability of widows, orphans, youth & children to:
  • Access: participation in land reform / resettlement
  • Use: for homestead, burial grounds, livelihoods activities
  • Transact: inheritance by children, renting out by widows etc
  • Exclude others: land grabbing and inheritance, control over decision-making (power taken by older people, especially men)
  • Enforcement: legal and administrative system may not protect
Impacts on Land Rights: Examples
  • Land-grabbing from widows in general: common but usually illegal
  • Widows in KwaZulu Natal: increasingly resisted pressure to either relinquish their land or marry back into the husband's family
  • Affected HHs in Lesotho: customary & formal law differ on fallow land
  • Some chiefs allow affected households to retain fallow land for future
  • Formal law seeks to keep land productive
  • Children in Kenya: most affected through dispossession by ‘guardians’
  • Youth-headed HHs in South Africa: vulnerable, not qualified to hold communal land
Impacts on Land Administration

Increasing illness & death of extension and land officials
  • Productivity declines:
    • staff absenteeism, illness, low morale,
    • growing inefficiency
  • Human resources affected:
    • staff turnover, increasing competition for new staff, multiple recruitments
    • declining levels of experience and quality
  • Financial costs increase:
    • medical care, funerals, induction and training
    • actual survival of some organisations in question
Impacts on Land Administration: Examples
  • Malawi: deaths of key personnel, recurrent illnesses of others have increased absenteeism, decreased performance
  • Kenya: illness and death of land officials and chiefs stalled adjudication processes, and resulted in loss of institutional memory
Current Land Policy Framework

All 4 countries are reviewing land policy

None are actively considering current and future impacts of AIDS, on either:
  • potential users
  • implementing agencies

Put two-way links at centre of land policy and programmes: HIV/AIDS <--> land use, land rights, and land administration

Collaboration between land and HIV/AIDS specialists: build on complementary skills to minimise HIV transmission and impacts

Understand heterogeneity: Seek to support diverse household types that result from HIV/AIDS impacts – influences of gender and age

Galvanise research, policy and implementation: to understand links between land and AIDS in a co-ordinated manner

Facilitate wider land use options: for both agricultural and non-farm activities, to be relevant to particularly vulnerable people (widows, orphans, youth and children, elderly); eg:
  • develop land rental markets
  • increase access to water for gardening purposes
Support rights of vulnerable people: Ensure needs of weaker individuals and households (gender, age, social situation) are addressed in land administration; eg land registration systems

Protect institutional capacity: Evaluate long-term capacity of land administration systems in light of HIV/AIDS among staff

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