Evaluations and Research

There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that stronger land tenure security has a positive impact on important development outcomes, such as household investment, women’s empowerment, agricultural productivity, rental markets, and credit.

While the initial evidence is encouraging, important 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 alternative approaches to strengthening tenure, such as supporting customary land governance institutions or communal land certification, as opposed to more common efforts focused on formalizing property rights for individuals (e.g. land titling).

In this context, USAID is conducting eight rigorous impact evaluations in Ethiopia, Guinea, Liberia, Tanzania, and Zambia to test development questions relevant to eliminating extreme poverty, empowering women, enhancing food security, improving natural resource management, improving climate change mitigation and adaptation, mitigating conflict, and promoting democratic governance and resilience.

Approach and Methods

All data sets, documentation, summary reports, and tools for data collection used in evaluations of our land tenure programs are provided here. These third-party evaluations are used to measure the impact of our development efforts and to foster learning and evidence-based decision making. These evaluations were designed in accordance with best practices set forth in USAID’s Evaluation Policy. This information is being made publicly available here as part of USAID’s commitment to transparency, accountability, and Open Data. We encourage researchers, governments, practitioners and others to access and use this information in accordance with the terms of use.


Refine by






Targeted Study on the Role of Customary Land Formalization in Women’s Economic Empowerment

Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

This report presents the results of a mixed-methods study on the role of customary land documentation in strengthening Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE). The overarching purpose was to help fill critical knowledge gaps on if and how strengthening women’s land rights via formalized customary land documentation affects their empowerment and economic growth, with a specific focus…Read More


Gender Disparities in Customary Land Allocation: Lessons from USAID Impact Evaluation Data

Customary and Community Tenure | Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

This report presents the final results of the CEL Gender and Land Allocation (GLA) research activity. The objective of GLA is to investigate the extent to which customary land allocation systems exhibit gender bias in order to inform policy and programming intended to provide secure land rights for women To this end, GLA utilizes secondary household datasets that have been collected for impact evaluations of previous USAID land tenure projects in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).


Using Participatory Approaches and Innovative Technology to Empower Communities in Securing their Land

Economic Growth | Food Security | Natural Resource Management | Responsible Land Based Investment | Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

Abstract Land and resources documentation can improve rural livelihoods by increasing access to credit and encouraging long-term sustainable investments in the land. However, obtaining land documentation can be difficult due to the high costs of surveying land, stringent accuracy requirements, and outdated land registries. To overcome these constraints, the United States Agency for International Development…Read More


TGCC Gender Brief

Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

Insecure land tenure is a crucial problem that reduces agricultural investment and productivity. Both men and women suffer from tenure insecurity, but women are particularly disadvantaged by tenure insecurity in both statutory and customary land tenure systems (Meinzen-Dick et al., 2017; Pattanayak et al., 2003; Kiptot et al., 2014).


Redesigning Procedures to Encourage Legal Recognition of Informal Relations to Property: The Case of “Informal Inheritance” in Kosovo’s Intergenerational Context

Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment | Customary and Community Tenure

This paper examines “informal inheritance” cases when de facto owners do not initiate formal inheritance proceedings. Delays in initiating inheritance proceedings, and the growing number of claimants spanning several generations of heirs as a result—many of whom live outside of Kosovo—creates further difficulties to formalize property ownership. The resulting discrepancy between cadastral records and informal…Read More


Mobile Applications for Secure Tenure (MAST) and the Technical Register for Social Tenure (TRUST) – development and applications in Iringa and Mbeya Districts in Tanzania

Customary and Community Tenure | Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment | Youth

Following completion of pilot work using the Mobile Application for Secure Tenure (MAST) in three villages in Iringa District, Tanzania, in June 2016, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) commissioned the Land Tenure Assistance activity (LTA) under the Feed the Future program to add 41 more villages (estimated at 50,000 to 60,000 parcels) in…Read More


The Effectiveness of a Social Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) Strategy in Changing Social Attitudes on Equal Rights to Property for Women – The Case of Kosovo

Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment | Economic Growth

The society in Kosovo is considered patriarchal and patrilineal, where property inheritance is traditionally transferred to men (Joireman, 2015). Even though the laws on Gender Equality and Law on Inheritance are considered egalitarian, the social norms continue to encourage patriarchal values that exclude women from property inheritance. This paper will address the social context and…Read More


Community Land Protection in Liberia: The Impact on Neocustomary Norms and Institutions

Customary and Community Tenure | Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

Is it possible to change property rights norms, even when changes affect the position of powerful constituencies? In this paper, we explore the effects of external changes to informal property rights institutions using a quasi-experimental evaluation of an intervention designed to protect community land and promote the rights of vulnerable groups, including women, in the…Read More


Sharing Evaluation Findings with Community Stakeholders

Customary and Community Tenure | Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

Sharing research results with communities facilitates important community access to data they made possible has the potential to strengthen the rigor, relevance, and reach of such research. USAID is currently supporting efforts to disseminate rigorous evaluation findings back to local project stakeholders, such as survey respondents, project beneficiaries, community leaders, and local government officials. These…Read More

Impact Evaluation

Ethiopia Land Tenure Administration Program (ELTAP) and Ethiopia Land Administration Program (ELAP)

Data Collection (Baseline): 2007 | Data Collection (Endline): 2015
Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

The ELTAP/ELAP evaluation estimates the impacts of second-level certification relative to first-level certification on household beneficiaries in terms of access to credit; land disputes; land rental activity; soil and water conservation investments; land tenure security and female empowerment and decision-making related to land.


Insights from Rwanda: Analysis of a Land Conflict Resolution Project in Eastern Province

Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment | Conflict

Paper prepared for presentation at the “2016 WORLD BANK CONFERENCE ON LAND AND POVERTY,” The World Bank—Washington DC, March 14-18, 2016. Authors: Karina Kloos, Margaret McClung, Shih-Ting Huang – Landesa Abstract: The prevalence and intensity of land related disputes in rural Rwanda, particularly intra-household disputes affecting women, are consequential to the livelihoods of hundreds of…Read More