ERC Quarterly Report: October – December 2015

During this quarter ERC activities focused on four main activities: presenting research findings and developing new research articles designed for journal publication (and presentation at the Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty) that are based on data collected for baseline surveys; supporting communications efforts, including a webinar/panel discussion on Women, Land and Food; managing the LTRM Office’s Massive Open On-line Course on LTPR; and continuing to support pilot activities in Burkina Faso and Tanzania. In addition, this quarter ERC supported LTRM Office efforts exploring the possibility of creating a third pilot project focused on responsible land-based investment.

These efforts, along with the other activities conducted under ERC, align with and support the goals identified by the LTRM Office as important for this Task Order:

  • Supporting continued thought leadership;
  • Creating new public goods related to the evidence base for land tenure and resource governance programming;
  • Expanding and improving Office communications efforts;
  • Expanding training using new platforms and approaches; and
  • Scaling pilot activities.

Under Task 1, ERC submitted a draft endline report in Y3 Q2 for review; findings from this report were presented to the USAID Mission in Ethiopia and to a small group of stakeholders.  ERC has, subsequently, received comments and will revise the draft and resubmit the report in Y3 Q4.

Under Task 2, most work focused on developing eight research articles that are designed to be submitted to academic journals and for presentation at conferences. However, ERC also presented research findings at two conferences:  the American Evaluation Association (AEA) meetings in Chicago and the FLARE Conference. USAID’s Associate Administrator, Eric Postel, shared an overview email about the AEA meetings and presentations with senior Agency personnel. The Property Rights and Artisanal Diamond Development (PRADD) baseline report and data sets were submitted for review. Data cleaning continued for the Community-based Forest Management Project (CFP) impact evaluation. The IE Design Report was finalized for the LAND/Afar project and community listing work began.

Under Task 3, ERC planned and facilitated a webinar/panel discussion on “Women, Land and Food,” that was moderated by USAID’s Charles North and included USAID’s Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality Susan Markham, along with Chris Jochnick, CEO of Landesa and Dr. Lauren Persha of UNC Chapel Hill and Cloudburst. In addition, ERC developed three “Ask the Expert” features and one guest commentary. We drafted and published a commentary on “Why Land Matters for the SDGs” to support efforts to keep a land indicator under Goal 1: Ending Poverty.

Under Task 4, ERC managed USAID’s Massive Open On-Line Course (MOOC) on Land Tenure and Property Rights this quarter. The MOOC ran successfully with 2,000 registrants who came from over 60 countries, 200 of whom completed the course. Many participants took part in discussion forums, which allowed them to ask questions and share insights, personal experiences and best practices with each other and with MOOC lecturers.

Finally, during this quarter, the MAST project launched activities in the second pilot village: Itagutwa. Village leaders and villagers received training on Tanzania’s land laws and on women’s land rights. Local youth were trained as Trusted Intermediaries and they mapped over 1,000 village parcels.  ERC supported the production of a conflict assessment for MAST’s third pilot village: Idodi. Concerns were raised this quarter about the conduct of land use planning processes and ERC also faced some delays in starting up activities in Itagutwa. As a result, the timeline for completing the pilot has shifted back several months.  In Burkina Faso, the National Land Observatory (NLO) continued to make progress towards ensuring transparency in the land sector.  NLO staff have been active in operationalizing the organization’s 5-year work plan and have initiated data collection, communications, and outreach activities to stakeholders, donors, and government bodies.