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HIV/Aids and land: case studies from Kenya, Lesotho and South Africa

  • Scott Drimie
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    Recent research conducted in Lesotho, Kenya and South Africa has revealed that HIV/Aids will seriously impact on a range of land issues as a direct result of very high infection rates in these countries. HIV/Aids will affect different forms of land use, the functioning of land administration systems, land rights of women and orphans as well as the poor generally, and inheritance practices and norms. The epidemic not only affects the productivity of the infected, but also diverts the labour of the household and extended family away from other productive and reproductive activities as they take care of the sick. Affected households fall below the social and economic threshold of vulnerability and 'survivability', leaving the survivors - mainly the young and elderly - with limited resources to quickly regain a sustainable livelihood. This indicates the importance of effective land administration systems and of land rights as HIV/Aids impacts on the terms and conditions on which households and individuals hold, use and transact land. This has a particular resonance for women and children's rights, which, in the context of rural power relations that are themselves coming under increasing pressure from the epidemic, are especially vulnerable to being usurped. Thus, the impact of HIV/Aids on land raises complex and sensitive issues for land policies and programmes, particularly if they are intended to underpin rural development and sustainable livelihoods.

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    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Development Southern Africa.

    Volume (Year): 20 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 5 ()
    Pages: 647-658

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:20:y:2003:i:5:p:647-658
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