MAST Report: Lessons Learned

This report describes the genesis, implementation and outcomes of the Mobile Application to Secure Tenure (MAST) Pilot project. MAST was implemented in three villages in Iringa District in Tanzania between 2014 and 2016. The original goal of the project was to provide a “proof of concept” that mobile technologies could be provided to community members, along with training on land laws and rights, in order to efficiently and effectively capture land rights information. Rather quickly, the pilot transformed into a collaborative experiment with the Government of Tanzania to work with rural villagers and the District Land Office in Iringa Rural District to formally document rights to land, in this case by providing Certificates of Customary Rights of Occupancy (CCROs).

The pilot developed a software application suite that includes a mobile data collection application and a web-based database to store collected land rights information. District Land Officers validate the collected data and use it to generate reports and issue Adjudication Forms and CCROs – thus helping the government achieve a key development goal of titling properties to secure tenure and enhance the enabling environment. The pilot also developed a robust implementation methodology that trained local women and men on the provisions of Tanzania’s land laws and specifically, on women’s rights under these laws. The project helped, as needed, to establish local governance institutions and to provide specific training for members of the Village Council and Land Adjudication Committee members on their roles and responsibilities under the laws. Villagers learned about the process of land adjudication and the likely benefits and challenges of the process on a hamlet-by-hamlet (or “hyper-local”) basis. This deep engagement at the village level helped to improve buy-in to, and support for, this new process.

The pilot trained local literate youth – women and men – to use the mobile data collection application to map and record the land rights of their neighbors. These youth, called “Trusted Intermediaries” also received training on the land laws and the land adjudication process, and then proceeded to map all parcels in the three villages in which MAST operated. In addition, Trusted Intermediaries from Village 1 (Ilalasimba) helped to train Trusted Intermediaries in Village 2 (Itagutwa) and those from Village 2 helped to train Trusted Intermediaries in Village 3 (Kitawaya). The project aimed for a gender balance among Trusted Intermediaries and on Land Adjudication Committees.