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Evaluation of Grassroots Community–Based Legal Aid Activities in Uganda and Tanzania: Strengthening Women’s Legal Knowledge and Land Rights

By: Julia Behrman, Lucy Billings, Amber Peterman

Progressive legislative actions in Uganda and Tanzania have improved women’s legal rights to land, however significant gender disparities persist in access, control, inheritance, and ownership of land at the grassroots level. One promising mechanism to improve the implementation of laws is through Community–based Legal Aid (CBLA) programs, which are typically designed as pro–poor to enhance legal empowerment of marginalized groups. CBLA programs targeting gender and land–rights issues aim to improve knowledge of existing laws, attitudes toward women’s ability to own or control land, and practice on how land is administrated and distributed in rural communities.

A qualitative study of CBLA programs in Uganda and Tanzania was conducted by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to assess the efficacy of CBLA activities, understand challenges faced by CBLA implementing organizations, and document opportunities and potential for scaling–up. Results demonstrate clear demand for enhanced CBLA services in program areas. Policy implications point to a number of opportunities for scale–up efforts from the programmatic level to the national policy level to improve the coverage and quality of CBLA services.