ev razazarivolaHonorary Award for the Civil Society – 2012


Preventing violence for land in remote areas

Tags: justice, land law, citizenship, local groups, administration.

Esther Vololona Razazarivola: justice for all! Vololona Razazarivola is 50 years old. She is married and has two children. Esther has quickly learnt to struggle for her life. Early after her studies she joined the Congregation of the sisters of Andrefanimanana in Mantasoa where the superior of the sisters suggested her to go to the community of the sisters of Christ. She refused the offer and started to engage in a struggle against violence, including violence for acquiring the land ownership. She opted to use the law of her country for tackling the violence that weak people especially women are suffering from.

Problem: Land ownership is a problem in Madagascar because of traditional practices working together with modern law. The abuse of the two laws has often led to tensions. "In a race for greedy ambitions and for acquiring the land, what I hesitate to take today is taken by someone else tomorrow […]." explains Alain Bertrand who is a specialist of land issues in Madagascar. This leads to conflicts, especially in areas where people still consider the land as coming from ancestors. The doubt benefits to people who know the law; those who know how to work with a cumbersome administration. This is how traditional communities do often lose their land for the profit of landlords. Villagers are ejected from their ancestral properties when these go people who claim to acquire them legally.

Action: It was in March 2010 when Esther started to work against the violence on land issues. She worked hand in hand with lawyers and volunteers like Pierrette, Claire et Tefy, technicians like the late Elizanah and Eloi the patriarch. This team helps rural people to solve all problems which refrain them to get the license for land ownership. Esther’s NGO help these people to collect all details (including testimonies on the lengthy period that people lived on an area) to support rural owners of the land. Through the NGO lawyers volunteer to support illiterate people to gather all the required documents to make their voices heard. "it can happen that files which are declared to have been lost in the administration are found for the benefit of rural people!"

Harubuntu Dimension: Esther’s initiative is a clear example of the power of local committees. Esther fights against corruption and introduces social changes in a cumbersome administration by allowing rural people to have access to equal justice and to make them have their voices heard. Although the way to go is still long, people who were so long excluded from public goods find now some light to move forward and to benefit from public services. Esther acts professionally with passion and engagement to help illiterate people. Her strategy to share ideas with villagers impresses; she is a listener. Transparency and self commitment are her strength. She succeeds with less effort to mobilize her community. Her vision is never to compromise with corruption and injustice.


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