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Study Overview

Impact Evaluation of the Feed the Future Land Tenure Assistance Activity
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This impact evaluation examins USAID’s Land Tenure Assistance (LTA) activity, which was implemented in Iringa District, Tanzania from 2015 to 2019. LTA assisted in land use planning and delivering formalized documentation of customary rights to village residents, known as Certificates of Customary Rights of Occupancy (CCROs), through the use of the Mobile Application to Secure Tenure (MAST) application. The evaluation randomized treatment assignment across 60 villages, with half receiving LTA’s activities. The five evaluation questions cover the following household outcomes: documentation and tenure security, land disputes, land use and investment, empowerment, and economic wellbeing. The evaluation team conducted data collection via a panel survey of 1,361 households over three stages (two baseline phases, an interim midline phase for a subset of households, and an endline phase).

Registration Citation:
Agriculture and Rural Development
Social Protection
Additional Keywords:
land tenure, RCT, land use, land certification
Secondary ID Number(s):

Principal Investigator(s)

Name of First PI:
Lauren Persha
NORC at the University of Chicago
Name of Second PI:
Jacob Patterson-Stein
Management Systems International, a Tetra Tech Company

Study Sponsor

Study Sponsor Location:

Research Partner

Name of Partner Institution:
United States

Intervention Overview


The LTA activity, which is a part of the U.S. government’s Feed the Future initiative, was implemented through a four-year, $6 million contract awarded by USAID/Tanzania to DAI in December 2015. LTA sought to clarify and document land ownership, support local land use planning, and increase local understanding of land use and land rights in Tanzania. LTA worked within the current land management bureaucracy and helped facilitate formal land certification and education through four overlapping components:

  1. Assist villages and district administrations in completing the land use planning process and delivering CCROs in select villages within two districts (Iringa and Mbeya)
  2. Educate and develop the capacity of village land governance institutions and individual villagers to complete the land use planning and CCRO process; effectively manage land resources; respect the land rights of women, youth, and pastoralists; and build agriculture- related business skills.
  3. Educate and develop the capacity of district-level land governance institutions in the Mbeya Region to complete the land use planning and CCRO process; effectively manage land resources; respect the land rights of women, youth, and pastoralists; and build agriculture- related business skills.
  4. Develop capacity to use the Mobile Application to Secure Tenure (MAST) application throughout the SAGCOT and, nationally, to assist with tenure certification.
Theory of Change:

By contributing to CCRO issuance to land users, as well as education on land laws and capacity building, LTA will help improve tenure security and reduce incidence of land disputes among households. These outcomes will, in theory, spur increased investment in agriculture, as land users change their behavior in response to stronger incentives brought about by improved security. USAID expects that women, youth, and pastoralists who receive a CCRO will experience greater empowerment, which should also result more broadly from LTA outreach and education on land laws that protect the rights of women, youth, and pastoralists. USAID anticipates that the development of VLUPs, as well as some of the trainings for village and district officials, will improve the capacity of village and government institutions to manage land resources. These activities include identifying and maintaining protected areas, establishing or strengthening the management of communal forest areas or woodlots, limiting excessive expansion of areas under cultivation, and implementing other environmental management practices or sustainable land uses within villages. Finally, LTA activities to raise awareness about the Mobile Application to Secure Tenure (MAST) and build capacity to use it within the Government of Tanzania and the donor community should result in greater uptake of the MAST technology in future land mapping and registration projects. This would encourage more transparent, participatory, and efficient processes to issue CCROs.



Multiple Treatment Arms Evaluated?

Program Funder

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Foreign or Multilateral Aid Agency

Intervention Timing

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Evaluation Method

Evaluation Method Overview

Primary (or First) Evaluation Method:
Randomized control trial
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Method Details

Details of Evaluation Approach:

The IE used a clustered RCT design to assign villages to treatment and construct the control group. The IE measured LTA’s impacts on activity beneficiaries across 30 randomly assigned treatment villages in Iringa District, which represented LTA’s implementation capacity at the time of the IE design. The number of villages in the study is determined by the size of the activity. The 30 villages were chosen randomly after implementers accounted for key eligibility factors including whether the village planned on subdividing, accessibility during the rainy season, and the presence of villagers capable of running the land mapping and certification application. In addition, the IE team selected 4 “reserve” villages to be included in IE data collection and available for LTA implementation should LTA encounter difficulties in any of the initial pool of 30 villages assigned to receive LTA. 


Outcomes (Endpoints):

•    Likelihood a household has a CCRO
•    Willingness to pay for a CCRO (Tanzania shillings)
•    Perceived risk of land expropriation within the community (binary)
•    Perceived expropriation risk for household’s parcels (binary)
•    Risk of land loss if land is left fallow (binary)
•    Familiarity with land laws (binary)
•    Incidence of land disputes (integer)
•    Dispute duration (continuous)
•    Perceived likelihood of a boundary dispute in next five years (binary)
•    Land improvement index (index of parcel investments) 
o    Soil conservation (binary)
o    Erected buildings (binary)
o    Fencing (binary)
o    Wells or pump irrigation (binary)
o    Terracing (binary)
•    Incidence of tree planting on farms (fruit and non-fruit trees) (binary)
•    Likelihood of fallowing any parcels (binary)
•    Use of fertilizer (binary)
•    Number of different crops grown by HH (integer)
•    Total landholding by households (ha) (integer)
•    Use of communal land (binary)
•    Farm earnings over past 12 months (Tanzania shillings)
•    Credit access by household (binary)
•    Amount borrowed (continuous)
•    Crop diversification to higher value crops (integer)
•    Household food security (integer)

Unit of Analysis:

This IE tests whether the facilitation of mapping and certification, education on land laws, support for village land use plans, and promotion of women's groups through the mobile application MAST in treatment villages increases tenure security, agricultural investment, dispute mitigation, and engagement with formal credit relative to comparison villages that do not receive these services.

Unit of Intervention or Assignment:
Number of Clusters in Sample:
Number of Individuals in Sample:
2,243 individuals in 1,361 households
Size of Treatment, Control, or Comparison Subsamples:
30 treatment villages, 30 comparison villages

Supplementary Files

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Outcomes Data

The data used to measure outcomes is a panel survey that collected data from head of households and primary spouses (when available) prior to the intervention (baseline) and after the intervention (endline). A sub-sample of households in 30 villages (15 treatment, 15 comparison) were interviewed six months after baseline to monitor implementation fidelity. Additional data is sourced from Google Maps API and building settlement data sourced from Nieves, et al (2020).
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Not restricted - access with no requirements or minimal requirements (e.g. web registration)
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Treatment Assignment Data

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Data Analysis

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Study Materials

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Registration Category

Registration Category:
Non-Prospective, Category 4: Data for measuring impacts have been obtained/collected by the research team and analysis for this evaluation has started

Completion Overview

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Preliminary Report:
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Data Availability

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Other Materials

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Description of Changes:

Study Stopped