The Evaluation, Research and Communication (ERC) project is a five-year program under USAID’s Strengthening Tenure and Resource Rights (STARR) Indefinite Quantity Contract, managed by USAID’s Land Tenure and Resource Management Office. The purpose of ERC is to create, expand, and communicate evidence-based knowledge around land tenure best practices to enhance learning, guide program design and implementation, and accomplish key development objectives, including expanding economic growth, improving food security and agricultural productivity, limiting conflict, empowering women, addressing global climate change, and improving natural resource management.
The programs includes five primary areas: impact evaluation of land tenure activities; research, focusing on providing rigorous evidence for land tenure theory of change and testing development hypotheses as well as innovative approaches; communication of land tenure best practices and knowledge; training in land tenure principles and programming approaches; pilot activities of promising innovative approaches in land tenure.
Through this dynamic project The Cloudburst Group is implementing a series of rigorous impact evaluations to more precisely determine the impact on livelihood outcomes of land tenure interventions. In Ethiopia, we have conducted baseline data collection on the Land Administration to Nurture Development project and preparations are underway to carry out endline data collection for an impact evaluation of the completed Ethiopia Land Administration Program and the Ethiopia Strengthening Land Tenure and Administration Program. Cloudburst has collected baseline data as part of the impact evaluations of the Property Rights and Artisanal Diamond Development (PRADD II) project in Guinea and the Namati Community Land Protection Program in Liberia. In Zambia, baseline data has been collected as part of the impact evaluation incorporating a randomized control trial to measure the impact of USAID’s Tenure and Global Climate Change project land tenure and agroforestry interventions on rural farmers. Also in Zambia, Cloudburst is carrying out an impact evaluation of the Community-based Forest Management Project. The results of these impact evaluations are expected to provide USAID and the broader international development community with a much clearer picture of whether and how various land tenure interventions contribute to enhanced food security, improved management of natural resources, reduced conflict, and greater economic growth.
The Cloudburst Group’s communication staff conduct targeted communication campaigns to promote USAID land tenure research, best practices, and lessons learned. To ensure broad knowledge uptake, we manage a diverse portfolio of targeted training activities including developing USAID’s first ever Massive Open Online Course (MOOC); a Land Tenure Community of Practice for more experienced practitioners within the U.S. Government; and specialized Mission-oriented trainings.
Under ERC, we are also implementing two pilot projects. The first, Mobile Application for Strengthening Tenure (MAST), looks to answer a question at the forefront of discussion within the land tenure community: can crowd-sourced property information collected using accessible and affordable mobile technology increase perceptions of tenure security? If so, does this change the manner in which individuals engage in the land market and does this affect investment decisions? The mobile technology is being piloted in Tanzania working with a local partner to build local capacity and raise legal awareness of land rights of women and men.
The second pilot project involves providing operational and technical support to the National Land Observatory (NLO) in Burkina Faso in support of 2014 G-7 commitments. The NLO is an independent organization that undertakes research on land governance issues in the country and coordinate with regional stakeholders on land governance issues to promote transparency.