Profession: Land Rights Activist & Farmer
Meet Tabi Abia Rose. Tabia is a women’s land rights activist and farmer from rural Cameroon.
In October 2016, Tabia joined over five hundred women from twenty-two African countries at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro and was one of 22 women to climb the highest peak in Africa to make her demands for secure land rights known to the world. The ascent took five days and 11 women made it to the mountain’s highest point – Uhuru Peak. The journey up the mountain symbolized the struggles many rural women encounter in obtaining their rights to land. The initiative was a cumulation of mobilization efforts that were conceived in 2012 by fifteen women from East and Southern Africa who met in Dar-salaam, Tanzania.
The Kilimanjaro Initiative was a cumulation of mobilization efforts that were conceived in 2012 that was spearheaded by rural women from across the continent and supported by a consortium of organizations including Oxfam, ActionAid, International Land Coalition (ILC) and Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF) among others.
Tabi reflects on her experience scaling Mt. Kilimanjaro to demand for her land rights:
“My positive experiences after attending the Kilimanjaro trip has by far outstripped those negative thoughts in me. I am now a champion of my own rights through my voice. First, I received huge sincere support after sharing my experience with my women group. I am a widow and my husband left me with 4 children that I am taking care of. Life has been a nightmare for me and my children. When my husband died, I realized I had no access rights or ownership to my husband’s land. Traditionally in my community, when a woman gets married, she can no longer inherit land from her own family, as she becomes part of her husband’s family but no rights to any property from her second family. It was a very difficult situation for me, because I couldn’t access the land to do farming so I can take care of my children. I was very desperate and in a dilemma on whether to remarry or go back to my parents’ home. I ended up surviving on my husband family handouts. The Kilimanjaro Initiative opened my eyes and helped me raise my voice.”