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Quick information guide

Matrimonial Property Act, 2013 has provisions on:

Equal status of spouses (Section 4)

A married women has the same rights as a married man:

  • to acquire, administer, hold, control, use and dispose of property whether movable or immovable;
  • to enter into a contract; and
  • to sue and be sued in her own name.

Special provisions on Matrimonial property (Section 12)

  • Matrimonial property cannot be sold, leased or mortgaged during a monogamous marriage without the consent of both spouses (See section 12(1));
  • Spouses in marriages, including the man and any of the man’s wives in the case of a polygamous marriage, have an interest in matrimonial property capable of protection by caveat, caution or any law in force on registration of title deeds;

Divorce or dissolution of polygamous marriage:

Matrimonial property act (Section 8) clarifies:

  • Matrimonial property acquired by the man after the man marries another wife shall be regarded as owned by the man and the wives taking into account any contributions made by the parties;
  • it is possible for a wife to hold her matrimonial property with the husband separate from that of the other wives; any wife can own matrimonial property equally with the husband without the participation of the other wife or wives.

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Access to land

The Kenyan constitution under Article 40(1) ensured every person has equal rights either individually or in association with others. These rights extend even to the right to acquire and own property in any part of Kenya.

Women in Kenya  have  access  to  land  but  lack  control  over it,  this in turn stops them  from  using  title deeds  as  a form  of  collateral  when seeking financing for their businesses.

This challenge limits the improvement of their economic status.  Kenya has undertaken legal reforms that will help women acquire property.

 Women can now buy and register land individually and they can inherit land from their parents and husbands because of the matrimonial property act.

In 2018 the Kenya Land Alliance disaggregated and analyzed 1,000,099 out of the about 3,200,000 title deeds issued by the Government of Kenya from 2013 to 2017.

In this audit, KLA found out that only 103,043 titles representing 10.3 percent were issued to women while 865,095 titles representing 86.5 percent went to men.

In terms of hectares, out of 10,129,704 ha of land titled; women got 163,253 ha representing a paltry 1.62 percent, while men got 9,903,304 ha representing 97.76 percent.

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Organisations supporting women to access land

American Jewish World Service (AJWS)

AJWS focuses on promoting human rights and helping poor people around the globe to end poverty.

IMPACT (Indigenous Movement for Peace Advancement and Conflict Transformation)

IMPACT focuses on peace building, human rights, governance, land rights, policy advocacy and community development organization.

MPIDO (Mainyoito Pastoralists Integrated Development Organization).

MPIDO envisions a just and equitable society that recognizes and upholds human rights.

Wings of Empowering Pastoralists (WEP)

WEP focuses on developing the economic and social livelihoods of pastoral indigenous communities.

LANDESA

LANDESA's goal is to develop a scalable model that educates rural/traditional communities about women’s property rights.

Sidai Genuine Agency

A formidable Real Estate company that mainly deals in the land investment sector.

GROOTS Kenya

GROOTS is a grassroots women-led community-based groups (CBOs) and Self Help Groups (SHGs) in Kenya.

Action Aid – Kenya

Action Aid – Kenya works to globally achieve social justice, gender equality and poverty eradication.

Waso Trustland project (WTL)

WTL empowers pastoralist communities to secure land tenure, sustainable development, and natural resources.

African Conservation Centre (ACC)

ACC's mission is to conserve biodiversity in East Africa and beyond.

American Jewish World Service (AJWS)

AJWS defends communities' access to land, water and other natural resources.

Resource Conflict Institute (RECONCILE)

RECONCILE promotes policies, laws, partnerships and institutions that empower resource dependent communities.

Focus on Land in Africa

Focus on Land in Africa focuses on improving access to justice and land rights for women living with HIV.

AMERICAN JEWISH WORLD SERVICE (AJWS)

In Kenya, AJWS focuses on defends communities’ access to land, water and other natural resources.

Ogiek Peoples’ Development Program (OPDP)

enhances community-driven development approaches suited to the needs of targeted beneficiaries.

Kenya Land Alliance (KLA)

focuses on advocating for effective implementation of Constitutional provisions for secure women land rights.

KELIN Kenya

helps to address the needs of widows and orphans disinherited due to the denial of their lawful rights to inherit and own property