WASHINGTON, DC, AUGUST 21, 2017- Like many facets of society, housing and property markets have come a long way. But the perception of progress masks how far property markets still need to go to become truly inclusive, especially when it comes to gender equity. In a disproportionate amount of countries around the world, women make up a fraction of landowners, and face unconscionable barriers on the way to achieving access to land rights and secure tenure. In addition, statistics and measurements of women’s status in many of these countries are few and far between, as there has rarely been a push to record these injustices. IHC Global is proud to have unveiled an exciting new initiative to take up this issues and provide a solution, by assessing and securing women's property rights through an innovative assessment tool. The pilot program will take place in Uganda, in partnership with AREA-Uganda- an association that works to strengthen the real estate sector in the country- and its Women's Council.  

Innovation through Adaptation
In Uganda, women’s property rights are safeguarded by state laws and regulations. However, there are instances when custom prevails in place of laws. For example, in the event of the death of a husband with property, the property often reverts to the ownership of male relatives, instead of his widowed wife. To examine these persisting issues, IHC Global and AREA are launching a program that brings together the private sector and civil society to measure and deepen insights into women’s participation in property markets in Uganda. The program will adapt IHC Global's International Property Market Scorecard a diagnostic tool to measure property market conditions in countries and identify areas of improvement, and adapt it to examine the property market through a gender lens, taking into account local knowledge and systematically gathering data. Following the data gathering, a local awareness and information campaign is planned.

Methodology and Approach
The scorecard will go through an initial adaptation, where IHC Global and AREA-Uganda will adjust the questions so they can be seen through a gender lens. The Scorecard will in turn be informed by a knowledge exchange that will bring together project implementers and community representatives to discuss the social, economic, and legal experiences women have had in regards to housing and property rights. Following the exchange, the input gathered will be used to further adapt of the Scorecard and, upon finalization, it will then be rolled out for implementation. Following that, the project will culminate in a campaign to raise awareness and spread information to communities in Uganda—specifically women—regarding their housing and property rights and opportunities.

Supporting the SDGs
In July, IHC Global was selected to present this initiative at the United Nations High-Level Political Forum Partnership Exchange in New York City, held in conjunction with Member State's voluntary reporting on progress made on specific SDGs. As an advocate for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, President and CEO Judith Hermanson explained how the IHC Global/AREA-Uganda initiative is designed to be in line with SDG 1 (eradication of poverty) and SDG 5 (women’s rights), as property ownership is a fundamental building block for strong economies wealth. IHC Global believes that each SDG- including IHC Global’s primary focus, SDG 11 (cities)- is interwoven with all the others, and must be achieved for the rest to succeed.

The first phase of the project is underway, with IHC Global beginning to adapt the Scorecard. The knowledge exchange is projected to begin in November of 2017 and the program will continue into 2018. IHC Global is enthusiastic about what results will be found in Uganda, and upon completion, the program is expected to be adapted and implemented in other countries.

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