Tools and Guides

This suite of tools is intended to provide background information and guide USAID staff, United States Government personnel and development practitioners to address land based programming and programming that incorporates elements related to land.

The U. S. Government is a global leader in the land and resource governance sector. Through international agreements, global coordination, and bi-lateral development assistance, the United States supports programs and policies that create more transparent, accountable, accessible, predictable and stable access to land and other resources, enabling more responsible private sector investment and fostering broad-based economic growth. To ensure that these programs meet the highest international standards for responsible and sustainable development, USAID has developed the following tools and guidelines for programming.


Mobile Applications to Secure Tenure (MAST) Learning Platform 

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.

Intimate Partner Violence and Land Toolkit 

This Toolkit supports the objectives of the United States Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence Globally and USAID’s Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy. It addresses activities and projects that USAID staff may design to strengthen and secure land tenure, property rights and land governance in rural, peri-urban and urban areas.


Guidelines on Compulsory Displacement and Resettlement in USAID Programming

The Guidelines describe good practices regarding compulsory displacement and resettlement (CDR). This voluntary tool is intended for use by USAID Operating Units and their partners at all stages of the program cycle, whether for implementation of activities or as a good practice guide for project design.

Operational Guidelines for Responsible Land-Based Investment

The Operational Guidelines for Responsible Land-Based Investment are now available as an e-book for tablets and e-readers. USAID is increasingly partnering with the private sector through efforts such as the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (New Alliance). Some of these initiatives, particularly in the agriculture sector, involve land-based investments in countries where land governance is weak.

Available Tools and Resources

These toolkits can provide useful information for development practitioners related to programming challenges around cross-sector issues, including conflict, gender and natural resource management.

Water and Conflict: A Toolkit for Programming

USAID has released its revised Water and Conflict Toolkit, first published in 2014. As of 2015, 177 million people lacked basic drinking water and 284 million people did not use basic sanitation in conflict-affected settings. In the face of increasing and protracted conflict and crises around the world, USAID strives to lead and influence development…Read More

I want to use MAST! How do I get started?

MAST is a flexible participatory mapping approach that can be adapted to the local context. MAST can fill different land-related needs depending on a local context, and its uses can include boundary harmonization, resource inventory, land use planning, systematic land documentation, and land registration, if appropriate and necessary.

Where has MAST been used, and for what?

USAID and its partners have used MAST across multiple countries to improve land and resource governance and to achieve multiple objectives ranging from women’s empowerment and food security to climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation. Here’s where the MAST approach has been used thus far:

Learn About MAST

MAST blends participatory mapping approaches with flexible technology tools to help local communities who lack access to government services to document, manage and secure their land and resource rights.

Advancing Capacity for the Environment (ACE) Fact Sheet

ACE is a global USAID program that facilitates the Agency’s ambitious work to fight climate change, conserve biodiversity and manage natural resources, improve land governance, and expand access to secure, modern energy and resilient infrastructure. The program strengthens capacities for technical leadership and effective programming through integrated support in four areas: communications, knowledge management, training,…Read More

Land Tenure and Resource Governance Capacity Assessment Framework

The United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Integrated Land and Resource Governance (ILRG) program has developed a capacity assessment framework (CAF) focused on land tenure and resource governance. It is comprised of this document (the framework) and the accompanying application tool (the tool). There is also an accompanying video tutorial. The CAF documents and measures the progress…Read More

Land And Conflict: A Toolkit for Intervention 2.0

The purpose of this toolkit is to introduce readers to the complex relationship between land and violent conflict and to provide guidance on recommended approaches and actions to address some of the root causes of conflict. This understanding can help staff diagnose a problem, support strategic planning, and develop projects and activities that build on…Read More

Incorporating Land and Resource Governance in Other Development Sectors

Land and natural resources are discrete, finite, and fundamentally important assets. In developing countries, they constitute a substantial part of personal and national wealth. A country’s approach to land and resource governance (LRG) contributes significantly to its broader socioeconomic development. LRG is increasingly recognized as a foundational component of many key environment and sustainable development…Read More

USAID Climate Strategy 2022 – 2030 Resource Page

Climate change is a global crisis. As temperatures and sea levels rise, people around the world are increasingly seeing heat waves, droughts, floods, cyclones, and wildfires upend their lives. The effects of climate change are not equal – they disproportionately impact the poorest and most marginalized communities USAID works to support every day. Climate change…Read More