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Seeing the World as a Network – Women’s Land Rights and HIV

by on August 8, 2013

We are now about a year from the end of MEASURE Evaluation Phase III. The ending date is August 14, 2014. We will end our operations in the field several months before that, in March, leaving the remaining time for completing deliverables and closing the books. On the way there, we will note some activities as they close.

One that closed recently was an activity of mine. It addressed the connection between women’s land rights and HIV. In some cultures, the land that a couple owns is received from the husband’s family. In some cases, and often against the laws, if the husband dies, the family might reclaim the land and push her – and any children – off of it. She loses a source of food, shelter, and income. In some cases it may push her in the direction of transactional sex to keep food on the table or her children in school.

Women’s land rights are considered a “structural” factor influencing HIV transmission. The recent IOM evaluation of PEPFAR emphasized the importance of structural factors and interventions to lessen their impact on HIV transmission. But there is little known about the measures of structural factors to use in evaluations. In this activity, we searched the literature for examples of measures of women’s land rights, searched for datasets that could be used to gain insight into the relation between land rights and HIV, and we interviewed several organizations working in women’s land rights in Kenya and Uganda to see what kinds of information they collect. The report pictured here describes what we found in those organizations. Across all of the components of this activity we found that human rights and health (HIV) operate in separate worlds. We found very few instances in which quantitative data on women’s land rights and HIV transmission behaviors coexist. There remains much to be done to understand the connection, to create an intervention, and then to evaluate it. Because of MEASURE Evaluation’s assessment, we have a much better understanding of how to begin that process.


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