Source: The Citizen
Arusha — After decades of agitating for property ownership, pastoralist women in the remote villages in Ngorongoro District, Arusha Region, can now approach banks and other financial institutions for loans after securing customary land titles.

About 100 of them were recently handed over the land titles. This has widened chances of women, who have been sidelined to engage only in domestic chores, for owning properties just as men do in their community.

Handing over the title deeds, deputy minister for Agriculture, Livestock Development and Fisheries William Ole Nasha, who is also the Ngorongoro MP, said the new development would go a long way in empowering the marginalised women economically.

He said the government would continue pushing for more women to possess land under the customary arrangement in the area, which is notorious for land conflicts pitting herders and farmers on one hand and conservation agencies on the other.

The title deeds were given at Engaresero Ward through an initiative of the Tanzania Pastoralist Community Forum (TPCF), the Arusha-based lobby groups advocating for the rights and empowerment of the traditional livestock keepers and other indigenous communities.

Director of the forum Joseph Parsambei said it had taken a lot of efforts to convince members of the pastoralist Maasai community to embrace change by allowing women to own land and other properties like men do.

"We will conduct awareness campaigns through seminars for women, in particular, on benefits of owning land and the opportunities that come with it", he said during the brief event.

The deputy minister advised married women to use the land titles for reducing dependency on their husbands, as he assured them of support from the government.

Speaking of persistent land conflicts, he said land survey was planned for the entire district. This would include demarcating village boundaries and preparing comprehensive land use plans for the area.

Engaresero Ward councillor Ibrahim Sakay said the title deeds had come at a time preparation of land use plan for the Engaresero village had been completed. According to him, the village, located in the scenic Lake Natron basin, intends to promote tourism in the area.

The ward executive officer Editha Rumazi said land ownership along would not bring much relief if resources are not used to alleviate poverty. "Authorities must also ensure women are supported in their income generating activities," he said.

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