Breaking Down Employment Barriers In Zambia: Increasing Opportunities for Female Community Scouts

By Patricia Malasha

Every day, Zambia’s Game Management Areas are patrolled by joint teams of Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) Wildlife Officers and Community Scouts sourced from local communities. These Community Scout jobs are disproportionately held by men due in part to gender stereotypes that only men are capable of performing the duties of protecting wildlife and forest law enforcement.

To change this perception, USAID Zambia is working with conservation NGOs, the DNPW, community resource management groups, and the private sector to change the gender balance, and create a pipeline of female Community Scouts who can demonstrate the leadership role that rural women can play in effective natural resource management.

With USAID support, the DNPW is examining and adapting its training program and practices to increase the opportunities for women to become Community Scouts, while maintaining course rigor. USAID worked with DNPW trainers to analyze physical fitness requirements, as well as challenge stereotypes that can disadvantage women on the job; for example, assumptions that female scouts will take on an increased proportion of cleaning and cooking work during operations. Scouts and DNPW trainers are also encouraged to reflect on the risks that women face, such as retribution from their families or communities for leaving their home responsibilities while on two-week patrols.

Zambia’s conservation community is getting behind the initiative. In the past two training courses, the number of female Community Scouts sponsored by Zambia’s conservation NGOs and private sector game ranches has increased dramatically. In the latest group of 46 scouts, 50% were female, which is a first for the DNPW.  “Wildlife protection is often perceived to be a man’s role. At Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ), we believe in equality and recognize the value women bring in protecting our natural resources. For this reason CLZ is currently investing in the training of Zambia’s first all-female Community Scout Unit,” says Ian Stevenson from CLZ. Hassan Sachedina from BioCarbon Partners notes: “We see women leading, pioneering, and catalyzing at all levels in the critical fight for biodiversity protection and wildlife habitat conservation in Zambia. Across 13 Chiefdoms, BCP has supported the training of 29 female Community Scouts out of 105 Community Scouts that BCP funds. We are really proud to be striving for and creating strong female role models for future generations.”

These efforts are not only changing gender perceptions but putting rural women on a new career path: becoming a Community Scout is the first step towards increasing the number of women taking up employment in the male-dominated wildlife sector. Community Scouts who excel in the job have higher chances of becoming a government Wildlife Police Officer.

“We are of the opinion that we need to reorient mindsets towards the concept that being a Community Scout is a career in itself for motivated young men and women, with opportunity for development, no matter what their education level,” explains Moses Nyoni from the Nature Conservancy.

USAID will continue following the progress of the Community Scout selection and training process over the coming years to support gender integration at the DNPW and ensure the young women community scouts advance in their careers.

A Community Scout Spreads her Wings

“At first I thought I couldn’t do it, but I have done it! I am excited with great expectations! And I am soaring higher and higher!”

After dropping out of college due to financial difficulties, 23-yearold Lisa Siamusantu had no job and started selling vegetables at the community market with hopes of raising enough money to go back to college one day. One day, she saw an advertisement in the community newspaper for Community Scout training and she applied.

“All my friends discouraged me and said that I was not strong enough, but the advert said they wanted women too,” Lisa says.

She joined a scout training camp sponsored by Conservation Lower Zambezi in December 2020 in the Lower Zambezi National Park and is expected to graduate in March, three months later. Coming from a community where people believe Community Scout jobs are only for men, Lisa began to see herself as a trailblazer. She is excited about the opportunity to be part of the conservation team, and the experience has readjusted her views of traditional gender roles.

“The way I viewed the Community Scout career and the way I viewed myself have changed. I used to see it as a career for men, only those who are very strong, but being here makes me realize that anyone can do it. This changes everything, my mindset and attitude,” she explains. And for those friends who discouraged her and for Zambia’s young women, she has a message.

“Do not accept or embrace beliefs that downgrade you as women and discourage you from trying. The reality is a woman can do anything a man can. If I have done it, so you can.”

All Photos: ILRG for USAID


Land Ownership, Tumaco’s New Hope

The pandemic has shown the Colombian government how structural land issues continue to hamper rural development.

Many rural health clinics in Colombia do not have registered land titles.

Colombia’s hospitals have been challenged due to Covid-19, and while the government rushes to strengthen the country’s healthcare system, intensive care unit occupancy remains high throughout the pandemic.

The crisis has led many leaders to recognize that behind the draconian measures to curb infection, there are fundamental problems that undermine Colombia’s public service delivery and prosperity, such as issues with land administration and property formalization.

In the midst of a health crisis, the nation’s rural health centers are becoming more and more crucial as the virus reaches isolated areas. Thousands of families are a one or two-day trip from a hospital, so rural health clinics play a vital role in providing intermediate care as well as ambulance services to regional centers with specialized professionals. But many of these rural clinics, which belong to municipal governments, have never been formalized or indexed in Colombia’s national property registry.

In Tumaco, where Covid-19 made headlines early on in the pandemic, there are 80 rural health clinics. But 80% of Tumaco’s parcels are informal and unregistered, so Tumaco’s mayor, María Emilsen Angulo, who has been working hard to mobilize support for Tumaco’s hospitals, can do little for health clinics in rural areas that do not even have a registered land title. This year, USAID and the Colombian government have scheduled to begin massive formalization efforts in Tumaco.

Titling Rural Health Clinics

The USAID-funded Land for Prosperity Activity is assisting Tumaco’s mayor to make land issues a priority over the next four years. With USAID support, the municipality’s Territorial Development Plan has earmarked funds to push land formalization to the forefront of public policy. Tumaco is also strengthening its Municipal Land Office, where a team of legal experts specialized in land have begun looking at which parcels can be formalized in the name of the municipality without having to hire expensive professional services.

“USAID has the funds that we don’t have. Plus, they already has the experience of rolling out a massive formalization and cadaster update pilot in Ovejas, Sucre, so here in Tumaco, we won’t have to improvise. USAID already knows the best way to do it, Angulo says.

The lack of information about which parcels are formalized is just the tip of the iceberg. The majority of Colombia’s rural municipalities have never analyzed the situation to discover what properties—schools, clinics, parks, and utilities—are informal or why.

“As we embark upon improving our health clinics, the formalization of municipal property is a requirement for any investment.” María Emilsen Angulo, Mayor of Tumaco

A Strategy for the Nation

Over the next three years, USAID and the Colombian government are employing similar strategies in Cáceres, Antioquia; Sardinata, Norte de Santander; and Ataco, Tolima, among dozens more. By building on the previous five years of the USAID-funded Land and Rural Development Program, which strengthened Colombia’s land-related agencies and institutions, USAID believes Colombia’s government has the tools and determination to expand land formalization efforts to strategic regions, while updating the national cadaster. Colombia’s leaders are hopeful. Just last year, Colombian President Duque announced his plan to update at least 60% of the nation’s cadaster by 2022.

USAID’s goal is to create and support Municipal Land Offices in 12 municipalities in seven target regions, where more than 90 rural clinics could be prioritized for formalization and titling.

“The Municipal Land Offices are fundamental for the implementation of land policies, since they allow the municipality to attend to the formalization of urban properties with a gender focus and support social investment in basic services such as education and health.”Lawrence Sacks, USAID Colombia Mission Director.


Community Building from the Land

USAID promotes land titling and land administration to help resolve the social conflicts facing the population of Cáceres

The town of Caceres was already living in a sort of lockdown long before the coronavirus became an international health crisis. Just a year ago, a self-imposed curfew had curtailed business hours and streets were empty for most of the day and night. Territorial disputes, heedless violence, and constant threats have kept Caceres’ inhabitants always on the verge of abandoning their homes.

Nearly 80% of the municipality’s 11,000 parcels are informally owned, and unregulated gold mining has become the municipality’s principal lure for crime syndicates.

Official figures claim there are 30,000 people living in this historic town, founded over 500 years ago on the banks of the Cauca river in Antioquia, but over the last two years, thousands of those people have left the municipality, unable to face another day of uncertainty. And although these conditions would be ideal for containing a highly contagious virus, they do little to promote rural development, reduce crime, and improve the quality of life.

In addition to being one of three municipalities prioritized by high-level dialog between the U.S. and Colombian governments, Caceres is also a PDET municipality within the Bajo Cauca region. Thus, it is the target of coordinated investments from donors and government entities.

In today’s Caceres, land administration is nearly nonexistent. Nearly 80% of the municipality’s 11,000 parcels are informally owned, and unregulated gold mining has become the municipality’s principal lure for crime syndicates. Also, illicit crops still cover about 1,100 hectares in the municipality. As threats continue to affect rural farmers, formal documentation of land ownership is more important than ever.

Emphasizing Land

In late 2019, the USAID-funded Land for Prosperity Activity began operating in the municipality and offering innovative actions that can increase land security, prevent displacement, and create an environment for sustainable rural development. The mayor of Caceres accepted the challenge and quickly mobilized a team to help create Caceres’ first Municipal Land Office (MLO). Here, a localized team of experts works directly with judges and the National Land Agency (ANT) to formalize public properties and urban properties. The MLO provides valuable information to citizens, promotes a culture of formal land transactions, and is essential in strengthening the coordination between national and rural leaders.

“Land formalization is a way to stimulate the economy, generate a culture of peace and legality, and allow communities to put down roots. Formalized property guarantees legal security and makes it easier for farmers to access credits, subsidies, and government programs to finance their agriculture projects.” -Mayor Juan Carlos Rodriguez

Building Alliances

Building on the Mayor’s motivation, in 2020, USAID facilitated a partnership aimed at increasing resources to formalize urban and rural plots and create incentives for illicit crop substitution. Through a memorandum of understanding, the ANT, Proantioquia, Antioquia’s regional government, the municipality, and USAID agreed to increase local and national coordination and enhance the private sector’s role in rural development. With a broad spectrum of partners, farmers who substitute coca for new crops like cocoa, rubber, or ranching, will have the opportunity to use land titles to access financial services and investment capital.

“By partnering with USAID, our municipality can strengthen land governance, increase resources mobilization, and make larger investments in the communities,– Juan Carlos Rodriguez, Mayor of Caceres

The memorandum will allow the government to test the concept of using land titles as an incentive for illicit crop substitution while strategic private public partnerships mobilize resources for new, licit economic opportunities. In addition, with USAID’s support, the ANT will work with the regional and municipal government leaders to formalize parcels where public entities operate, such as schools, health centers, and parks. Property titles for public lands allow local governments to pull down national-level resources to improve public services like education and health.

“When mayors know how many properties there are, how many people live there, and what projects they can implement, they can plan for the development of their municipalities and improve their citizens’ quality of life.” -Myriam Martínez, Director of Colombia’s National Land Agency

The first step of the Cáceres MLO is to perform a municipal-wide diagnostic study of the municipality’s parcels, including the location of public properties which are untitled, and what services are being provided on each parcel.

Since 2015, USAID has established 20+ Municipal Land Offices in Colombia.



Private Actors Making Public Efforts

The private sector can do much more than serve markets and create jobs. It is essential for a country’s development and social empowerment.

Formalizing schools allows local governments to mobilize resources towards education in their municipalities.

Many believe that the root of armed conflict in Colombia comes down to land tenure. Land is a key asset to boost economic development, rural transformation, and legal opportunities. This is why the first and most significant aspect of the Peace Accord signed between the Government of Colombia (GOC) and the former FARC guerilla calls for a comprehensive rural reform. This includes democratizing access to land and mass formalization of 7 million rural parcels, that could benefit thousands of rural families and improve their quality of life.

Given the importance of land for rural transformation, Colombia’s government has designed actions and strategies to implement multipurpose and participatory land rights management projects. However, these actions surpass institutional capacity in both human and financial resources. A task this colossal requires for all actors in society to participate, which is why the private sector’s involvement in formalization efforts is so important, not only because of the investments it can make, but mainly because its involvement in long term rural development would ensure the sustainability of formal land markets.

USAID believes in the power of private participation as a driver of social development. As such, the Land for Prosperity Activity

Land for Prosperity visited Proantioquia in February in the hopes of joining forces with the Ser + Maestro initiative, which seeks to strengthen teacher’s capacities in Bajo Cauca. Later, it met with the full board of ProAntioquia, together with USAIDs Mission Director Larry Sacks and the newly elected Governor of Antioquia, to present the Program and its goals for the Department. As a result of those conversations, and the enthusiastic support of both private and public officials, on March 3rd, USAID, the Governor’s Office of Antioquia, the National Land Agency, the private sector through Proantioquia and the Mayoral Office of Cáceres signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to join efforts to formalize public schools in Antioquia, implement massive formalization, rural development, and strengthen local capacity for land governance.

Proantioquia is a private foundation created by large companies from Antioquia, working for sustainable business development in 160 municipalities throughout several departments. It gathers some of the largest companies in Colombia, including Bancolombia (the country’s largest bank), Grupo Éxito (one of the largest retail chains) and Argos (cement producer and one of the most important players in infrastructure projects nation-wide). Its participation in formalization efforts is not only relevant but also innovative: by signing the MOU, the organization became a pioneer in private participation in a topic that has been at the forefront of peace-building efforts.

“The company must be seen as an entity whose purpose goes beyond revenue; it aims to create social capital and public value.”

-Felipe Aramburo, Proantioquia

Its engagement not only marks the possibility of funding from the private sector but also guarantees sustainability of the actions since these efforts in formalization of public schools will ultimately enable local administrations to mobilize resources to enhance educational infrastructure and the quality of the services schools provide. This is especially important in Cáceres, one of the Activity’s target territories prioritized by USAID and the Colombian government as one of the three municipalities of the high level policy dialogue between Colombia and the US government due to the large presence of illegal crops and active armed actors which, together with stagnant development, creates a cycle of poverty, violence and exclusion that is difficult to escape from.

“This is an opportunity for Cáceres. By signing the MOU, the community feels like it is taken into account and that there is willing to work towards territorial development.”-Rodolfo Bastidas, the principal of the Gaspar de Rodas school in Cáceres, Antioquia.

This MoU is the beginning of a new approach that aims to bring a key actor into the mix of socio-economic development. Helping to formalize schools and bring education to the forefront of community building is a game-changer for a complex municipality like Cáceres. “We are fully aware of the power land policies have to transform regions, and what better way to start than by formalizing schools”, said US Ambassador to Colombia, Philip S. Goldberg.

The involvement of USAID in these processes can plant the seed of sustainability for formalization efforts and encourage other private actors to join similar initiatives in Antioquia and beyond. The region of Bajo Cauca in Antioquia concentrates a number of USAID funded Programs working in a coordinated manner, with the Governor’s office to maximize impact of cooperation initiatives.

Mr. Aramburo explains it best when he says: “Signing this MOU is an invitation for the private sector to join efforts to prioritize land formalization in the public agenda. USAID can help with an initial boost so that the government, private sector and other actors join in and make these starting efforts sustainable in the long term.”

“I want to say this to other municipalities around the country: embrace these efforts and support these processes. Do what you must in your territories to improve the education of your community, so they can in turn contribute to the development of the region.”

-Rodolfo Bastidas, Principle of the Gaspar de Rodas school in Cáceres



Mobilizing to address COVID-19 in vulnerable diamond and gold mining communities

By Terah U. DeJong, Technical Deputy, USAID Artisanal Mining and Property Rights project

“Look at how we work,” said Sylvain, an artisanal diamond miner in Sama near Carnot in the Central African Republic (CAR). “If the coronavirus comes to this site then we’re all going to get it.”

Figure 1 Artisanal diamond miners near Carnot, CAR, being interviewed by a local journalist. Photo: Benjamin Ndongo.

That concern is shared by Central African authorities and its partners, including USAID, as the country responds to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. While the disease has been slow to take hold in CAR, cases have gone from less than a dozen to more than 700 in just a few weeks, according to May 2020 figures from the Health Ministry.

Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) communities are particularly vulnerable given close proximity of diggers at work, extreme poverty, lack of access to health care, and limited understanding of the virus.  Additionally, ASM communities are suffering financially since they depend on fluid international trade in order to sell their minerals and receive financing.

The USAID Artisanal Mining and Property Rights (AMPR) project supports mining communities and promotes legal, responsible supply chains for minerals including diamonds and gold. With USAID support, local NGO Réseaux des journalistes pour les Droits de l’homme (RJDH) teamed up with Mining Ministry authorities to raise awareness on COVID-19 in major mining areas in southwest CAR. The USAID AMPR program is also expanding women’s soapmaking associations in mining communities to fight the virus and support women’s livelihoods.

From May 6 to 14, RJDH and the Mining Ministry organized a series of radio roundtables with local health and mining officials, passing along key messages on hand washing and social distancing.

“We’re worried that artisanal miners have not yet fully understood the threat of this disease,” said Dr. Patrick Ouango, a regional health official in Berberati. “Local radio is essential to reach them.”

The experts also exhorted miners and traders to play their part in combatting mineral smuggling to neighboring Cameroon, which research funded by USAID AMPR found was the primary transit hub for illegal diamonds and gold.

Figure 2 USAID AMPR supported the organization of radio roundtables with local health officials in order to reach miners in remote areas. Photo: Benjamin Ndongo

The fear is that smuggling could seed infections in Western CAR where health facilities are few and far between. Indeed, with the international airport in the capital Bangui closed since March 27, the land border with Cameroon – a vital economic lifeline to land-locked CAR – has been the main source of new infections.

The economic fallout in mining communities due to COVID-19 is of equal concern. Up to a quarter of CAR’s impoverished population depends on mining, and with the global disruption to the gold and diamond supply chains, local prices have dropped 30% and the legal chain of custody is paralyzed.

Meanwhile food prices have increased 25 to 30% compared to the same period last year. In this context, mining will not only continue, but may increase as newly unemployed people turn to digging in order to survive, despite unfair prices and predatory behavior by smugglers.

Prior to COVID-19, the diamond sector was showing signs of recovery after years of challenges due to smuggling and armed group involvement in the minerals trade and subsequent trade restrictions put in place by the Kimberley Process. The gold sector has also been looking up, with legal exports having increased 350% in the last 4 years.

The government and its partners are worried that the crisis could undo progress and play into the hands of illegal actors and armed groups, which are increasingly active in mining areas. There has also been renewed violence from armed groups in Ndélé, another diamond-rich area.

Figure 3 CAR Minister of Mines and Geology briefing members of the press in Bangui on April 17, 2020. Photo: Hervé Pouno

“There is a risk that fraud and smuggling will increase due to COVID-19,” said the Mining Minister Leopold Mboli Fatran at a April 17 press conference on COVID-19 and the mining sector. “I therefore invite mining sector actors to avoid bringing the disease into our country through illegal transactions in neighboring countries.”

Partners working on the mining sector in CAR – USAID AMPR, the European Union Strengthening Governance in the Gold and Diamond Sector (GODICA) project, and the World Bank Programme de Gouvernance des Ressources Naturelles (PGRN) – have convened bi-weekly calls to exchange information and coordinate.

USAID AMPR and EU GODICA are supporting Kimberley Process national and local committees in charge of monitoring diamond mining zones to begin reporting on the COVID-19 situation at mining sites. The committees have helped the Ministry produce brochures on COVID-19 prevention targeting mining stakeholders.

For Maxie Muwonge, the USAID AMPR Chief of Party coordinating the project’s response, the support to the government and communities is a vital part of the project’s mission.

“We aim at supporting good governance and development in mining communities,” he said from his Bangui office, where they have been without electricity for the past 13 weeks. “COVID-19 is a threat we have to adapt to, but also an opportunity to step up our actions.”

Figure 4 Photo from 2010 showing soap-making training of women’s associations under USAID PRADD project being revitalized for COVID-19 response. Photo: Prospert Yaka Maïde

For example, USAID AMPR reached out to women’s associations trained in soap-making by predecessor USAID project Property Rights and Artisanal Diamond Development (2007-2013). Several were still making and selling soap nearly 7 years since the end of the previous project.

As part of its portfolio of activities supporting women’s livelihoods in mining communities, USAID AMPR is funding one of the ongoing soap-making groups to train new associations. The aim is to increase the local supply of soap to help fight the virus while also enabling women’s groups to seize a new market opportunity during a precarious time.

While it remains to be seen how the crisis will play out in CAR with upcoming presidential elections and risks of instability, the mobilization of mining sector actors gives hope that men and women in the country’s mining communities will once again demonstrate their resilience.




Tackling Threats from Illegal Mining

By: Jeffrey Haeni, Deputy Assistant Administrator, USAID Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment

Around the world, at least 40 million people, mostly poor, work in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM). Though it is typically informal in nature and workers often labor under difficult conditions, ASM accounts for approximately 20 percent of the world’s production of gold, diamonds, tin, and tantalum, and 80 percent of colored gemstones.

The conditions can be dangerous and the pay low. Still, ASM is an important source of livelihoods for millions of people and tends to pay more than other options in many developing countries.

While a country’s mineral wealth can translate into widespread prosperity and social progress, too often this wealth leads to a downward spiral of corruption and violent conflict. In many developing countries, illegal and unregulated mining, particularly ASM, contributes to armed conflict, funds criminal networks, and damages the environment.

To help address these challenges, USAID is working with governments, civil society, communities, and the private sector to reduce the negative impacts of ASM, and ensure that the wealth generated contributes to more inclusive economic growth and development.

Read the full story

What’s new with MAST?

USAID’s Mobile Applications to Secure Tenure (MAST) initiative started small. Launched in 2014 in three pilot villages, the initial goal was to test a simple but powerful idea: with some training and support, could underserved communities use mobile phone mapping technology and participatory approaches to document and secure their land rights? Five years and four countries later, that initial idea has grown into a powerful suite of tools and programs that are achieving remarkable results, from women’s economic empowerment in Tanzania to forest conservation in Liberia.

Here are the latest updates on MAST from around the globe.

Land Certification and Access to Credit in Tanzania

In Tanzania, USAID’s Land Tenure Assistance (LTA) program has now used MAST to map and document almost 63,000 land parcels. With their property rights secure, people – particularly women – are more empowered in the economy.  “The certificates issued by LTA have paved the way for rural Tanzanians to improve their farms and start small businesses by leveraging their land to access credit. The project is working with local banks to encourage the acceptance of certificates as collateral and with villages to raise awareness of the new loan opportunities. Farmers have already begun using their land-backed loans to purchase fertilizer, high-quality seeds, tractors, and other agricultural inputs to raise their productivity and their incomes.” LEARN MORE.

Supporting Community Forest Management in Liberia

Liberia depends on its forests. The forestry sector contributes 10 percent of the country’s GDP. One in three rural Liberians (1.5 million people) live in forested areas and rely on forests for a significant source of their livelihoods. Under a new pilot program, USAID/Liberia is using MAST to help communities define, map, record, and document their resources to enhance biodiversity conservation while improving community forest management. MAST provides a participatory framework and flexible tools that empower citizens in the process of documenting and managing their forest resources. The end result is clearer, stronger rights and greater incentives to invest and conserve resources.

New Results and Data Visualizations

As MAST’s implementation has grown in scale, so has the volume of data amount its impacts. Check out the latest data visualizations on key findings related to reductions in the time and cost to register land, as well as improvements in women’s economic empowerment. For example, MAST allows citizens to map and document their land and resources in less time than traditional land administration methods. MAST leverages innovative methods and tools to engage citizens in inclusive approaches that increase efficiencies over time. In Zambia, the time from land demarcation to certification decreased from 550 to 100 days during the course of MAST implementation. In Tanzania, MAST reduced the cost of registering land from $40 per parcels to under $8 dollars. LEARN MORE.

Want to learn more about MAST? Visit the MAST Learning Platform at:

Her Land Rights


How documented property rights gave a Tanzanian widow financial stability

Asiah Samila is a farmer with five children. She lives in Mlanda, a village located outside Iringa in central Tanzania.

When Asiah’s husband died, their youngest child was just a newborn. He left her with their house and farmland in Mlanda village. However, she did not have a title deed for the property, putting her in a difficult position.

In rural villages like Mlanda, women typically are not involved in family decisions. A woman is seen as a caregiver to children, a homemaker, and someone who is responsible for taking care of the needs of the husband. Few women own land.

Lacking Land Rights

Widowed women face many challenges when they don’t have official paperwork proving ownership of their land. In some cases, a widow’s in-laws may forcefully claim the land, displacing her.

Without documented property rights, widows can’t buy or sell their land, nor can they obtain access to bank loans.

In Asiah’s case, the neighboring school claimed that she was occupying part of their land, and Asiah was unable to show the paperwork needed to defend herself and her right to the property.

But with USAID’s help, Asiah was able to find a solution to the conflict.

Through the Lens

Read the full story



Promoting Land Tenure and Property Rights in Zambia

The majority of land in developing countries is not documented, impacting the ability of millions of households to make long-term investments in their property. Countries where property rights are perceived as insecure are also less attractive for investors and more reliant on donor funding. USAID recognizes that strengthening rights to land and natural resources is central to achieving a broad range of development goals on the journey to self-reliance. Through the Integrated Land and Resource Governance (ILRG) program, USAID provides both short  and long term assistance across a range of land and property rights issues including natural resource management, inclusive economic growth, agricultural productivity, and women’s economic empowerment.

Learn more about USAID’s ILRG program in Zambia in the series of short videos below:

Women’s Empowerment
Through partnerships, USAID is building self-sufficient and sustainable organizations to achieve key development goals in Zambia such as food security, conflict mitigation, and improved governance.

“The support that has come from USAID is very critical because it helps COMACO [Community Markets for Conservation] to drive these programs to the communities.

Women with strong inheritance rights and land in their own name are likely to be more prosperous and have healthier families. In eastern Zambia, USAID is working with traditional leaders and local partners to put women at the center of the land certification process.

“I can plant anything I want to put on my land. I am free because I am confident it is really mine.”

Land and Agriculture
Tradition and Tenure
Without access to recognized and secure property rights, farmers in Zambia face barriers to long term investments in their land. USAID is working with farmers to document their land through low-cost, locally available tools, as well as teaching techniques to improve agricultural productivity.

Customary land tenure traditions in Zambia are not locked in time. Rather, they are adapting to new needs and finding new technologies to help communities. USAID is supporting tradition leaders with low cost processes to document land rights of their people. USAID and its partners have already helped traditional leaders generate more than 15,000 customary land certificates.


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MAST is a mobile technology, coupled with a participatory community-led approach, that empowers communities with the tools to affordably, transparently, and efficiently document their resources and lands (location, extent, and/or boundaries).

The MAST Learning Platform is designed to be the central repository for USAID’s experience with the MAST technology and approach.

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