During this quarter and across tasks, the project expanded field activities, strengthened collaboration across the STARR partners’ network, and supported joint efforts across offices within theBureau for Economic Growth, Education, and Environment (E3) and with the Bureau for Food Security (BFS).
In the impact evaluation work, we continued to collaborate with the LTRM Office to improve the survey and interview instruments we use and the processes involved in carrying out the six different impact evaluations managed under Tasks 1 and 2 of the ERC Task Order. For example, ERC shared impact evaluation (IE) documents for the Property Rights and Artisanal Diamond Development II project (PRADD II) and the Ethiopia Land Administration to Nurture Development project (LAND) with STARR partners and worked with the LTRM Office to oversee a significant, substantive review of the Ethiopia Strengthening Land Tenure and Administration Program and Ethiopia Land Administration Program (ELTAP/ELAP) endline survey documents. ERC successfully completed baseline data collection for the Tenure and Global Climate Change project (TGCC) IE in Zambia and worked closely with the LTRM and the Global Climate Change (GCC) Offices to plan for the upcoming IE of the Community-based Forest Management Program (CFP), also in Zambia. Data collection for the Community Land Protection Program (CLPP) in Liberia was completed and we plan to share qualitative data in the upcoming quarter for both CLPP and for TGCC IEs. Sharing this data publicly will help promote a goal of ERC: to address knowledge gaps and support research related to land tenure questions and concerns by providing more information to researchers and other external audiences about the programs and projects that USAID supports.
Efforts under Tasks 3 and 4 raised the profile of the LTRM Office, strengthened information and knowledge exchanges among STARR partners in order to communicate and amplify a shared message, supported the office’s international policy efforts, and enhanced the capabilities of USAID staff to engage on land tenure issues. This quarter, ERC worked with USAID Missions and STARR implementing partners to highlight new research on women’s land rights in Rwanda, the innovative use of technology to map diamond mining sites in Guinea, and USAID’s leadership in developing internationally recognized Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems (RAI). A new editorial calendar process developed this quarter helps STARR Partners coordinate media outreach and messaging around land tenure and an increased social media presence helps drive more viewers that are interested in USAID Land Tenure Portal. ERC supported LTRM staff at international negotiations on the RAI in Rome and, in response to new requests, produced a briefer on the linkages between LTPR and Food Security, messaging around implementation resources for a joint E3/BFS Statement on land governance and food security, and drafted and edited practical guidance for responsible investors in agriculture. In addition, ERC filmed the first module of a new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on land tenure and property rights, planned a Land Tenure Community of Practice (CoP) for USG staff, and planned a specialized LTPR training for USAID Mission staff in Haiti. These three activities support a key goal of ERC: to build up a cadre of land tenure experts within the USG.
Activities under Task 5 are now in early start-up phase for two pilots. The Mobile Technology Pilot (MTP), will use mobile technology to effectively and efficiently gather and validate information about local land rights. The project completed the collaborative process of developing a flexible User Specifications Report to guide the development of a mobile application and a cloud-based database of land rights information. ERC worked closely with project implementers to design a technology platform for the MTP that might be adaptable for use in the PRADD II and LAND projects. At the same time, the pilot village in Tanzania for the MTP, Ilalasimba, acquired its Certificate of Village Land and started land use planning efforts. When this process is complete the Ilalasimba residents and ERC staff will raise of legal rights to land under Tanzanian law, and then test the technology platform.
The second pilot project, the Land Governance Partnership in Burkina Faso, will strengthen efforts to improve land governance and increase transparency in land transactions, consistent with the Voluntary Guidelines for the Responsible Governance of the Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests (VGGT). This will be accomplished through technical and financial assistance to the new National Land Observatory (NLO). Presently, the NLO with support from ERC is developing its annual work plan, communications strategy, and business plan.
In terms of staffing, Ms. Jessica Nabongo joined Cloudburst Consulting Group as a Senior Analyst and will be support ERC communications efforts under Task 3.