As of June 2016, the Haiti Property Law Working Group through the Land Administration and Management Program (LAMP) reached more than 3,600 people in both urban and rural communities through its awareness campaigns and training programs.
One such community is Cap-Haitian, a major city on Haiti’s north coast and home to more than 260,000 residents. Regarded as Haiti’s historic cradle, Cap-Haitian has long faced complex land issues. As such, the Group launched its first “Property Law Week” in Cap-Haitian as part of its overall outreach program.
During the week of June 14, 2016, the Group implemented one general and three targeted awareness campaigns to help clarify the process for legally buying and selling land; the role of the government and legal professionals in securing land rights; and the rights of land owners.
The awareness campaigns reached more than 1,000 Cap-Haitian inhabitants from both the private and public sectors, including 335 women as part of Habitat’s efforts to ensure women are well-represented. Women are particularly vulnerable to significant barriers to land ownership given social customs and systems that prevent them from enjoying the same rights as men.
According to Marthe, one women targeted by the awareness campaigns, “I lost a piece of land a few years ago just because I was not aware of this kind of information. After this training, I’m sure that if I had known all that I learned today, everything would be different for my family.”
Marthe is the coordinator of a consortium of female-led community-based organizations in Petit-Anse, a town outside of Cap-Haitian. She is ready to share what she has learned.
“Some information must be widely disseminated,” Marthe shared. “I’m going to share all the tips I learned with my fellow organization members and also with many other people so they do not lose their property or face eviction. Actually, people should be aware of the property laws because they were implemented to protect us.”