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In the past four years, the Eastern African Gender and Law Program has generated significant thinking in the area of gender and law in selected African countries and within the region. Initiated as a small program, it has been broadened and enlarged and today finances activities in a number of countries, mostly through small grants. It also has made a modest beginning in coordinating and recording knowledge on important issues in the area of gender and law.

One of the more attractive aspects of this program is that it has been shaped by stakeholders in the client countries; the Bank merely facilitates activities that are identified as priorities by the country stakeholders. For example, the program financed a participatory land appraisal to identify and examine gender and land issues after the Ministry of Community Development and Women in Tanzania identified the need for additional information on customary land practices. The findings of the appraisal fed into the debate on the Land Bill in Tanzania, which was recently pas sed. In Uganda, the Local Government Act of 1997 has reserved 33 percent of the seats on local councils for women. The Ministry of Gender, however, identified lack of gender sensitivity and legal literacy among both men and women as a significant constraint to the effective functioning of these newly elected councilors. The program therefore arranged for an Institutional Development Fund grant to develop and implement a gender-sensitive curriculum on legal literacy for newly elected men and women councilors. The activities financed by the program may be small, but their potential impact is significant.

This paper reflects some thoughts that are emerging from work that is being done in the area of gender and legal reform. Although these ideas are still evolving and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Bank, the paper represents an important contribution to thinking in the area of gender and law issues in Africa. It is hoped that periodical pieces such as this one will not only generate debate and discussion on topical subjects in many African, countries, but will also help contribute to the accretion of knowledge in this area.

James W. Adams

Country Director for Tanzania and Uganda
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Title Annotation:Gender-Related Legal Reform and Access to Economic Resources in Eastern Africa
Author:Adams, James W.
Publication:Gender-Related Legal Reform and Access to Economic Resources in Eastern Africa
Date:Aug 1, 1999
Next Article:Abstract.

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