USAID’s Mobile Applications to Secure Tenure (MAST) initiative started small. Launched in 2014 in three pilot villages, the initial goal was to test a simple but powerful idea: with some training and support, could underserved communities use mobile phone mapping technology and participatory approaches to document and secure their land rights? Five years and four countries later, that initial idea has grown into a powerful suite of tools and programs that are achieving remarkable results, from women’s economic empowerment in Tanzania to forest conservation in Liberia.
Here are the latest updates on MAST from around the globe.
Land Certification and Access to Credit in Tanzania
In Tanzania, USAID’s Land Tenure Assistance (LTA) program has now used MAST to map and document almost 63,000 land parcels. With their property rights secure, people – particularly women – are more empowered in the economy. “The certificates issued by LTA have paved the way for rural Tanzanians to improve their farms and start small businesses by leveraging their land to access credit. The project is working with local banks to encourage the acceptance of certificates as collateral and with villages to raise awareness of the new loan opportunities. Farmers have already begun using their land-backed loans to purchase fertilizer, high-quality seeds, tractors, and other agricultural inputs to raise their productivity and their incomes.” LEARN MORE.
Supporting Community Forest Management in Liberia
Liberia depends on its forests. The forestry sector contributes 10 percent of the country’s GDP. One in three rural Liberians (1.5 million people) live in forested areas and rely on forests for a significant source of their livelihoods. Under a new pilot program, USAID/Liberia is using MAST to help communities define, map, record, and document their resources to enhance biodiversity conservation while improving community forest management. MAST provides a participatory framework and flexible tools that empower citizens in the process of documenting and managing their forest resources. The end result is clearer, stronger rights and greater incentives to invest and conserve resources.
New Results and Data Visualizations
As MAST’s implementation has grown in scale, so has the volume of data amount its impacts. Check out the latest data visualizations on key findings related to reductions in the time and cost to register land, as well as improvements in women’s economic empowerment. For example, MAST allows citizens to map and document their land and resources in less time than traditional land administration methods. MAST leverages innovative methods and tools to engage citizens in inclusive approaches that increase efficiencies over time. In Zambia, the time from land demarcation to certification decreased from 550 to 100 days during the course of MAST implementation. In Tanzania, MAST reduced the cost of registering land from $40 per parcels to under $8 dollars. LEARN MORE.