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USAID is piloting an innovative program called Mobile Applications to Secure Tenure (MAST). MAST developed an easy-to-use, open-source smartphone application that can capture the information needed to issue formal documentation of land rights.

The project combines relatively inexpensive and readily available mobile technologies (e.g., GPS/GNSS-enabled smart phones and tablets) coupled with crowdsourced data collection methods in rural and underserved settings. The project trains staff from civil society organizations along with community members to use MAST’s technology to collect land rights and tenure information.

A cloud-based data management system stores geospatial and demographic information. MAST has the potential to lower the costs and time involved in registering land rights and make the process more transparent and accessible to local people. Initial results from Tanzania suggest that MAST had a significant impact on women’s land rights in the villages in which it worked.

Keywords: Protecting Land rights and Identity, Enabling Access to Resources Essential for Development, Data collection and management for human rights, Data security for human rights, USAID, Mobile Applications to Secure Tenure (MAST), Tanzania, Africa