What community-level strategies are needed to secure women's property rights in Western Kenya? Laying the groundwork for a future structural HIV prevention intervention

Shari L. Dworkin, Tiffany Lu, Shelly Grabe, Zachary Kwena, Esther Mwaura-Muiru, Elizabeth Bukusi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Despite the recognized need for structural-level HIV prevention interventions that focus on economic empowerment to reduce women's HIV risks, few science-based programs have focused on securing women's land ownership as a primary or secondary HIV risk reduction strategy. The current study focused on a community-led land and property rights model that was implemented in two rural areas of western Kenya where HIV prevalence was high (24-30%) and property rights violations were common. The program was designed to reduce women's HIV risk at the community level by protecting and enhancing women's access to and ownership of land. Through in-depth interviews with 50 program leaders and implementers of this program we sought to identify the strategies that were used to prevent, mediate, and resolve property rights violations. Results included four strategies: (1) rights-based education of both women and men individually and at the community level, (2) funeral committees that intervene to prevent property grabbing and disinheritance, (3) paralegal training of traditional leaders and community members and local adjudication of cases of property rights violations, and (4) referring property rights violations to the formal justice system when these are not resolved at the community level. Study participants underscored that local mediation of cases resulted in a higher success rate than women experienced in the formal court system, underscoring the importance of community-level solutions to property rights violations. The current study assists researchers in understanding the steps needed to prevent and resolve women's property rights violations so as to bolster the literature on potential structural HIV prevention interventions. Future research should rigorously test property rights programs as a structural HIV prevention intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)754-757
Number of pages4
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 3 2014
Externally publishedYes



  • HIV prevention
  • gender relations
  • property and inheritance rights
  • structural interventions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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