Do Certificates of Customary Ownership as currently issued and delivered translate into more secure land rights for women and men involved: a case study of Nwoya using data collected by the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development

November 2019
Herbert Kamusiime and Paul Ntegeka Mwesige (Associates Research Trust-Uganda)

The certificate of customary ownership (CCO) is a land tenure reform implemented in customary tenure areas of Uganda, including Nwoya district in the north. Proponents of CCOs contend that they enhance tenure security for women and men, while critics argue that they fall short of expectations, disenfranchise, and at times extinguish rights to land. The objective of this analysis is to assess changes in tenure security that are attributable to CCOs by focusing on the completeness of the bundle of rights using the Conceptual Framework on Women’s Land Tenure Security. Administrative data results suggest that the CCO application process is largely inclusive of women. The majority of the land area (82%) for which CCOs were applied does include women among the applicants. Survey data results show limited completeness of bundles of rights. Women’s bundles of rights tend to be less complete than men’s, but women in households with CCOs tend to have more complete rights than women in households without CCOs. It is apparent that the CCO intervention did not, or has yet to, improve tenure security as defined by the Women’s Land Rights Conceptual Framework.