Securing burial rights for women and girls in Luo Nyanza community in Kenya

Good morning team.

I was born and raised in Mombasa. My origin is Luo Nyanza. Women in our community are not and will never build in the ancestral land however big. Neither our offsprings. Its a Taboo. Girls in the village marry as early as 16 to secure a future home and burial place for we cannot be buried in our fathers land. For years my desire has been to reach out. Who can help with ways and ideas. HIV and Aids on the highrise as men take advantage of the taboo.

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Hi Mary! Thanks for starting this new topic. It’s great to have you in our community.

I am not knowledgeable about the rights of women and girls in Luo Nyanza community at the coast in Kenya, but I suspect there are members in east Africa who can pitch in with ideas for addressing this urgent concern.

Maybe @EleaneKeamue has some ideas from Liberia?

Mary, can you tell us some more about the situation and what is already being done and who is doing it? Are there organizations you can name who are helping?

Note: Am I correct in assuming that Msa is Mombasa? I updated your post to fix it for clarity. As this discussion evolves I’d like to expand on the title as well - something along the lines of “Securing burial rights for women and girls in Luo Nyanza community in Kenya”. Let me know if I’ve got this about right and your thoughts on the best title.

@JamaldinYahya @mustafa_mahmoud @davidarach @Dalle @oletingoi @TimothyYaile @fatimaadamu @OginaHill


Good Evening Mr Tobias.

Thank you for response. Yes Msa means Mombasa. This Luo Culture is backward. 80% of us women have just accepted it as norm. There is an activist in Kisumu Hellen and Dan in Migori whom together by a whatsapp group have been trying to find ways and means to educate the luo elders who have deprived us of our ancentral homes. A luo woman is never burried at her fathers place and if need then it will be in the backyard like dumping. A luo woman children will never be own or get burial space on martanal grand parents. In Migori many take solace by embracing Islam not for faith but to secure a burial place. Young girls marry at a tender age as we are regarded as birds. Hiv and aids is on the high rise. for many fall victims as desparation hits and need to marry in order to secure a place in the society.

Hello Mary, In Lango, a Luo community in Uganda, women of all ages,marital status, and their children can be buried in maternal homes! However the dowry is exacted from the husband/boyfriend before burial of a woman or the child of unmarried mother. Law, education, educated cultural leaders and religion are changing the old practices through dialogue and commonsense. William.


Hello William Thank you for the response.I guess the Lango’s are pure Luo’s.Its good to learn that they allow burial on martenal side.But again its sad that one should pay while men get automatic ownership. What happens to those who are not married.What if the boyfriend refuse to pay.Why would we be subjected to such . Here they say its a Taboo.Even Salvation in Jesus Christ has never openned this door.Luo men greed for Land have never made them stop to rethink and reconsider this outdated culture We are thinking of compelling the 4 Counties in Luo land as devolution takes centre stage in Kenya to allocate land in all 4counties for umarried,single mothers,and girl child general. This might give confidence and peace to the upcoming girls who are forced to early marriages, polygamious marriages ,etc. Again help us on how the Lango’s managed to push there bargain into a paid acceptance. Thank you.

2 posts were split to a new topic: William

Hi @mariahoyier This is an interesting piece. I know of the challenges of culture and oppression of the women. Did you know that the constitution remedies this by article 28 right to be treated Human dignity and article 27 right to equal treatment and non discrimination. It could be interesting if someone could go to court to tackle such issues. I know culture is what binds us but if it is oppressive and contradicts the constitution then such cultural practices can be challenged. It could be interesting for you to also see that it is a national issue as a recent report by the Kenya Land Alliance shows the inequalities in land ownership check below:

The advocacy group disaggregated and analysed over a million titles out of the 3.3 million issued by the government that period.

From the audit, women only got 103,043 titles representing 10.3 per cent, while men got 865,095 titles accounting for 86.5 per cent.

It further shows that out of the 10.1 million hectares of land titled, women got 163,253 hectares representing a partly 1.62 per cent while men got 9.9 million hectares representing 97.7 per cent.

The data was analysed from 47 land registries across the country.

“Kenya still has a long way to go in the journey to securing women’s land tenure rights.

Please read the whole report here


Thank you for this @mustafa_mahmoud.I believe we can join hands on this .Lets break the ice.My father land is vast.His wish is he gives a portion to me and my sister as he did his sons.Its a Taboo says the clan.Those who dare in similar cases ends up dead by pangas many a times.Am speaking for many women.


I think you should also explore the he for she approach. Try getting male figures who are influentials in your community to speak against the vice and create a movement on it. Such figures could be politicians and their families and also members of the Clergy. I am willing to help in the visioning of the process. My member of parliament Kibra constituency is from Nyanza and I believe this is an issue that can be championed.


I am from that region too and I believe that it is our duty to educate the community on the changes in law and the effects of the same in our culture. It will be a challenge. But it’s a worthy cause.


Maybe yes maybe not.Time will tell.

We have too For we are openly deprived of our fathersland.

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I remember you wanted to do some pro-bono work in this area now that you are a practicing advocate why don’t you join forces with @mariahoyier and help tackle this issue?

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Yes I strongly believe in empowerment and it’s actually a good idea. @mariahoyier what do you think?


We need to meet.I had raised this with Phoebe Asiyo the first woman Mp Kenya and gave a homework to her daughter Proff Asiyo.Tried to reach them yesterday they are in NewYork for the Women Convention…Lets plan a meeting after Easter in Kisumu.Am Based in Mombasa but flexible.Thank you @mustafa_mahmoud


You are welcome. In case I can help remotely please don’t hesitate to contact me.

I am in Nairobi. I am equally flexible. Let me send you my contact details on your inbox. @mustafa_mahmoud we’ll definately consult alot.