There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that stronger land tenure security has a positive impact on important development outcomes, such as improved farming practices, agricultural productivity, and, importantly, women’s empowerment. While the initial evidence is encouraging, notable knowledge gaps remain. Compared with the positive economic and food security gains seen from land tenure formalization programs in Asia and Latin America, results from similar programs in Africa have been mixed. There is also little evidence on the impact of strengthening customary tenure, and very little evidence that is gender-disaggregated, let alone gender-sensitive.
In this context, USAID is conducting eight rigorous impact evaluations of programs, primarily in customary land tenure settings, in Ethiopia, Guinea, Liberia, Tanzania, and Zambia to test development questions relevant to empowering women, enhancing food security, and eliminating extreme poverty. These evaluations are using gender-sensitive methods to better understand how these programs may affect women and men differently.