Despite the 1986 Zambian Intestate Succession Act, and the advocacy campaigns of several NGOs, there is still confusion about inheritance rights in Zambia – especially among women.
For many women in Zambia the loss of a husband means not just losing a loved one, but losing their home. Current laws do not prohibit women from inheriting property, but traditional laws still favour men. Women are rarely aware of their land or property rights, and few have written wills in place. Thus, women can become victims of property grabbing from male relatives, leaving themselves and their children vulnerable and without security.
Habitat for Humanity Zambia’s ‘Orphans and Vulnerable Children’ programme, co-funded by Irish Aid, aims to inform women and children of their rights, and support households in securing title to their land and in writing wills – helping to ensure long-term stability and resilience of families. The project empowers community members to advocate for improved land and housing policy. Through this programme, vulnerable families will gain security of tenure and inheritance protection – allowing them to plan their future, without fear of eviction.
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In our rapidly urbanising world, decent living conditions are becoming scarce. In 2050, an expected 70% of the world’s population will be living in urban areas.
The Kibera community in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, has an estimated population of more than 1 million people, making it the largest slum in all of Africa © Habitat for Humanity International/Steffan Hacker.
Cities are unprepared to accommodate this growth, especially in developing countries where formal structures are not in place.
Most new city dwellers live in informal settlements, which are often overcrowded, unsafe and unsanitary. One of the many reasons that slums and informal settlements develop is a lack of available financial services to help community members access better-quality materials, which would result in safer and healthier homes. Other reasons include land values and competition over land rights — increasing the potential for conflict. Often, the poor are forcibly evicted and pushed to the edge of cities to unplanned and poorly serviced areas.
People living in slums lack the crucial conditions they need to thrive. Slums lack sufficient living space, access to water and sanitation, durability, and secure tenure. In some countries, as much as 90 percent of urban populations live in slums.
To transform slums into sustainable communities, private and public sectors need to cooperate with communities to expand capacity and available resources. In order to prevent the number of slum dwellers from reaching 2 billion by 2030, as projected, slum upgrading must be prioritised to realise a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
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