Ressources and tools

Von Helena Zweifel / Medicus Mundi Schweiz

To have and to hold: Women's Property and Inheritance Rights in the Context of HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa

This paper of the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) seeks to examine the link between HIV/AIDS and women's property rights - if women's lack of rights increases household poverty and women's own vulnerability to infection, and if securing these rights can mitigate the impoverishing impact of the epidemic. The first section of this report explores the relationship between HIV/AIDS and women's property and inheritance rights, and how women may be better able to prevent infection or mitigate its consequences if these rights are protected. The second section discusses the ways that women can obtain access to and control over property and how these rights are often denied in practice, and then provides several country examples. The third section explains de jure and de facto rights to ownership and inheritance and discusses how to bridge the gap when the two differ. The fourth section highlights some "best practices" in efforts to ensure women's property and inheritance rights. The report concludes with lessons learned and suggested next steps. (2004)


This report by the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) is highlighting programs that work through legal and cultural mechanisms to help women from being dispossessed and impoverished because of HIV and AIDS. "Our research takes us one step closer to understanding how secure property rights might help women protect themselves and their households from adverse consequences related to HIV, including stigma, poverty and property dispossession," says ICRW lead researcher Hema Swaminathan. The report shows that a complex, comprehensive strategy is needed to link women's property rights with HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, counseling and care services. (July 2007)

Report of the Regional Workshop on HIV and AIDS and Children's Property Rights and Livelihoods in Southern and East Africa

This workshop report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation Sub-Regional office for Southern and East Africa gives details of HIV and AIDS and children’s property and inheritance rights project planning. As a contribution to the UNICEF/UNAIDS initiated Global Campaign on HIV and AIDS and Children, FAO initiated new activities on HIV and AIDS and children’s property and inheritance rights. This regional workshop on HIV and AIDS, and Children’s Property Rights and Livelihoods in Southern and East Africa was dominated by the voices of children sharing experiences, and concerns on issues of property rights in the face of HIV and AIDS. The development of child-friendly tools emerged as the key to addressing children’s vulnerabilities. (2006)


Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO)
FAO Publications Relevant to Property Rights in the context of HIV and AIDS

The Global Coalition on Women and AIDS (GCWA):
Securing property and inheritance rights

Human Rights Watch:
Discrimination in Property and Inheritance Rights and HIV/AIDS