Project Brief: ERC


The Evaluation, Research and Communication (ERC) project is a 5-year initiative, launched in 2013 under the Strengthening Tenure and Resource Rights (STARR) IQC.  The purpose of the project is to create, expand, and communicate evidence-based knowledge around best land tenure and property rights (LTPR) practices to enhance internal USAID and external U.S. Government (USG) learning, guide program design and implementation, and make the most effective use of limited development resources to accomplish key development objectives.  The ERC project consists of five tasks:

  • Task 1) Impact Evaluation: Promotes evidence-based policy by designing and implementing innovative approaches to measure the impact of USAID LTPR programming
  • Task 2) Research: Strengthens knowledge and understanding of LTPR by undertaking innovative research and generating evidence-based results
  • Task 3) Communication: Facilitates knowledge sharing and LTPR program design, and promotes ERC research, evaluations, trainings and pilots
  • Task 4) Training: Builds LTPR capacity among USG, host country and other key target audiences to support the next generation of LTPR practitioners
  • Task 5) Implementation of Pilot Activities: Tests, analyzes, and pilots approaches to strengthen LTPR for replication and scaling of future initiatives

Preliminary Outcomes

Under Tasks 1 and 2, USAID is implementing a series of rigorous impact evaluations (IE) to more precisely determine the impact on livelihood outcomes of land tenure interventions. ERC has conducted 6 baseline data collections and completed baseline reports for each:

  • the Land Administration to Nurture Development (LAND) project in Oromia, Ethiopia
  • the LAND project in Afar, Ethiopia
  • the Property Rights and Artisanal Diamond Development II (PRADD II) project in Guinea
  • the Community Land Protection Program (CLPP) in Liberia
  • the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) Community-Based Forest Management Program (CFP) in Zambia’s Eastern Province
  • the impact of USAID’s Tenure and Global Climate Change (TGCC) Project’s

ERC has also collected endline data, completed analysis of panel data, and published the endline report for an IE of the Ethiopia Land Administration Program (ELAP) and the Ethiopia Strengthening Land Tenure and Administration Program (ELTAP).  Currently, ERC is preparing to closeout the TGCC IE; the endline data collection is anticipated for June 2017, and analysis of the panel data will follow.

Under Task 3, ERC conducts targeted communication campaigns to promote STARR project impacts, research, best practices, and lessons learned from STARR and USAID’s broader land tenure portfolio.  Recent communications campaigns have focused on Land Matters for Youth and the Mobile Application to Secure Tenure (MAST) project, and included a sustained campaign to promote USAID’s LTPR MOOC (see below).  ERC also manages the USAID Land Tenure Portal (, which features commentaries, issue briefs, project information, country profiles, and other materials showing the results, challenges, and lessons from USAID’s efforts to improve land and resource governance for all members of society.

Under Task 4, USAID has developed training initiatives that include USAID’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on LTPR, which was launched in September 2015.  ERC has also drafted a grants mechanism to support academic research on LTPR.  These initiatives are designed to build capacity within USAID, the USG, and the broader development community to better understand and address LTPR issues.  During this quarter ERC worked with USAID to prepare new MOOC course offerings. The new offerings are included in the MOOC 2.0 course, which will be offered in January-February 2017.

Under Task 5, USAID’s Mobile Applications to Secure Tenure (MAST) was used to map and collect data on approximately 3,900 parcels in three villages in Tanzania’s Iringa District. By June 2016 just over 1,600 land rights certificates (CCROs) were printed, and this pilot is now complete.  Also under Task 5, from August 2014-February 2017 ERC supported the operations of the National Land Observatory in Burkina Faso.  The Observatory is an independent organization that undertakes research on land governance issues in the country and uses the information gathered to foster policy dialogue.  This support was to advance G-7 commitments made in 2014.  Since September 2016, ERC has provided a separate stream of support to the Observatory to adapt the MAST-Tanzania platform for use in the legal and institutional environment of Burkina Faso.  In the latter half of 2016 the ERC supported a pilot project in Burkina Faso, run through the ONF, to adapt the MAST technology for use in that country.  In late 2016 the technology was deployed to map 2,708 rural land parcels in only 25 days.

Finally under Task 5, USAID is supporting innovative approaches to “road test” the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition’s “Analytical Framework for Responsible Land-Based Investments in African Agriculture.” The project is developing an enhanced due diligence process to help investors identify land tenure risks and develop strategies to address these risks. The pilot is likely to work in Belize (the pilot anticipated working in Cameroon but this investment was not pursued) and in an African country to be determined. The pilot is also working with Illovo Sugar, Ltd. in Mozambique to help map and record land rights in approximately 3,000 hectares of land surrounding Illovo’s Maragra Acucar plantation. This work will help secure rights for several thousand smallholders – those who contract with Illovo to grow sugar cane as well as those with parcels in the pilot area who grow other crops. It will also help establish a grievance mechanism for Illovo and a plan for a multi-stakeholder platform to support dialogue on land concerns. Lessons learned, case studies and communications materials from this pilot will be shared with the private sector to promote more responsible investing, reduce land-related risks and in support of USAID’s goals of securing land rights for women and men in developing countries.

Further Reading