Under the Evaluation, Research and Communications (ERC) project, USAID launched the Mobile Applications to Secure Tenure (MAST) Pilot in Burkina Faso. MAST uses a simple android app and a semi-crowdsourced methodology to facilitate the mapping and documentation of land in a more efficient, transparent, and affordable manner. USAID successfully piloted MAST in Tanzania, where it is now being scaled across an entire district. In Burkina, USAID worked with the Observatoire National du Foncier (which is funded by USAID) and with the Government of Burkina Faso to pilot MAST in four villages within Boudry Commune, close to Ouagadougou.
In 2009 the Government of Burkina Faso (GoBF) adopted Law 034-2009 along with related decrees and codes to provide a mechanism to secure customary land rights in rural and peri-urban areas and to deliver land certificates (APFR). Prior to implementing the law, however, the GoBF relied on ad hoc efforts that were developed and implemented by donor and NGO-led projects to secure land rights across 302 rural communes. This lack of standard approach made it more difficult to share land information across government agencies and offices, to promote land transparency, and to create a body of knowledge from which research could be generated.
In Tanzania, MAST was used, successfully, to document and record land rights, which resulted in the distribution of 3,800 Certificates of Customary Rights to Occupancy (CCROs) to 1,312 households. By piloting MAST in Burkina Faso, USAID provided a relatively simple and user-friendly technology and implementation methodology that can be used to build awareness of, and respect for, land rights in rural Burkina Faso (including women’s land rights); enhanced the capacity of Land Tenure Services (SFR) agents and local governance representatives to map and record land rights information; reduced time and costs associated with delivery of land rights documentation; and improved the exchange of land information among various agencies and stakeholders in Burkina Faso. The overarching objective of the project adapted the existing technology to a new context, which secured rural land rights and improved land governance in Burkina Faso.