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Joint land ownership to achieve gender equality

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Budathum, a hamlet in Dhading is about 133 kilometers from the capital city of Nepal. The major occupation of the people is agriculture and daily labour wages. Most of the villagers used to rely on agricultural production for their livelihood.

Shiva Kumari Adhikari, 45 and Narayan Bahadur Adhikari, 50 lives with their two children. Shiva Kumari Adhikari used to work in farmland, which was registered in the name of her husband. Though she had worked in farmland all her life, nothing was legally registered in her name. On the other hand, she even did not think it was important until things changed.

SAHAS Nepal in partnership with CARE Nepal implemented the project entitled "Sustainably Uplifting PVSE's Prosperity through Enterprise Realization (SuPPER) Project" The project aims to promotion of resilient livelihood, enhancing resilient agricultural practice and disaster-resilient agricultural infrastructure construction. Another major component of the project was Gender Equality and Social Inclusion.

"I never understood the importance of legally owning the property until staff from SAHAS and CARE Nepal oriented us", says Shiva. Previously, it was almost dream to own the property in the name of women but now after SAHAS and CARE initiated the campaign for joint land ownership between husband and wife.

Afterward, things started to change for Shiva Kumari Adhikari and all 13 families when they also registered the land jointly in the name of husband and wife. Joint Land Registration enhanced women's access to land and property rights. Women were able to claim equal rights in the property, enhanced decision-making at the household level, increased ownership towards land making women feel confident and empowered.

Dil Kumari Khatri says happily, "I am extremely thrilled to register land in my name I never had owned anything. Now I have land of my own." The land ownership has helped to develop a sense of confidence, developed ownership and able to access women's property rights.

All of the women are delighted to have land in their name and they wish all of the women would be able to register the land in the name of husband and wife. In addition, they all commit to influence other community members for the campaign to bring social change and gender equality.