USAID’s Mobile Applications to Secure Tenure (MAST) is a collaborative, participatory approach that builds sustainable local capacity to efficiently map resource rights and secure land tenure. The approach is inclusive and promotes participation and leadership of women and other marginalized groups in project activities. It is technology-agnostic; the approach can be combined with many types of mobile tools, including USAID’s open-source MAST application.
What is MAST?
MAST is a suite of innovative technology tools and inclusive methods that uses mobile devices and a participatory approach to efficiently, transparently, and affordably map and document land and resource rights.
MAST helps communities define, map, record, and document their land and resources. MAST provides easy-to-use mobile phone applications that empower citizens in the process of understanding their rights and documenting their land and resources. It combines the applications with a simple data management platform to capture the information necessary for securing rights. This includes names and photos of people using and occupying land, details about what the land is used for, and a basis for their claim to the land. On-the-ground training and participatory approaches help make the MAST process inclusive and build the capacity of communities to understand their resource rights.
MAST in the Field
MAST has been used with great success in a number of countries, including Burkina Faso, Zambia and Tanzania. Host country governments and communities can utilize MAST to strengthen land tenure and address persistent development issues. For example, MAST can help reduce conflicts over land and resources, create incentives to improve agricultural productivity, enable women’s economic empowerment, and improve resilience to shocks and stresses.
Overview: MAST Technology
MAST is a suite of tools and approaches that supports the collection and management of land rights and resource information. It integrates mobile applications and a web-based data management platform with participatory on-the-ground approaches.
The mobile application enables field teams to collect spatial, attribute, and multimedia data about land parcels and natural resources. Data is collected and stored on mobile devices and transferred to a cloud-based platform for data processing and management. This platform provides advanced functionality that has been reviewed, processed, and approved for the preparation of land ownership certificates.
Overview: MAST Implementation
The key principles below represent best-practice for documenting land and resource rights on previous USAID projects. These projects used mobile technologies and engaged communities directly in the process of mapping their lands and documenting land rights. Implementers should keep the key principles in mind while developing their implementation strategies. To guide the strategy, we outline five main phases, with several steps in each one. Implementers should adapt the outlined phases to the technical, social, political, economic, and environmental contexts of the area where MAST is to be implemented. Combining best practices with adaptability can stimulate long-term fulfillment of a project’s goals.