For a family living in poverty, a house and a small patch of land provide a crucial source of shelter, food and income. But in Uganda, when a man dies, it is common for neighbours, relatives and other community members to steal the home and property from his widow.
Land theft is a devastating form of violence that targets some of the most vulnerable women and children in the country.
Not only does land theft leave victims homeless, destitute and extremely vulnerable to other forms of abuse, it’s a violent crime. In an IJM study, nearly 1 out of 5 victims of land theft reported that the theft of their property involved a murder attempt on his or her life, and nearly 1 out of every 3 had threats of violence made against their children by perpetrators.
We are standing with widows and orphans in two of the areas hardest-hit by this crime.
We work with community leaders, police and the court system to restore widows and orphans to the homes that have been stolen from them.
Bring Criminals to Justice
We work with police and prosecutors to bring criminal cases against perpetrators—especially in cases of violence, intimidation or fraud.
We provide counselling, ensure that children can go to school, and partner with local aftercare providers to help women begin income-generating projects, so they can rebuild their lives from a place of strength.
Through IJM’s support, Uganda's police force has deployed a specialized team of investigators with the resources, training and mandate to respond to land theft crimes, for the first time in its history.
In October 2017, IJM and the Chief Justice of Uganda signed a landmark Memorandum of Understanding, outlining a commitment to work together to end violence against women and children in Uganda.
We have secured convictions of more than 60 perpetrators of land theft—a powerful sign when previously perpetrators of this crime were virtually never brought to justice.
Our Teams in Uganda
National Director: Shawn Kohl
Field Office Director: James Foster
Focus: Land Theft
Field Office Director: Chris Marshall
Focus: Land Theft