Sector Results and Learning:
Land

This Land Sector Results and Learning page is a repository of evidence generated by all MCC-funded land interventions. To promote learning and inform future program design, this page captures monitoring data from key common indicators, showcases recent and relevant evaluations, and includes all agency lessons from completed land evaluations to-date.

What Do We Invest In?

MCC has funded $383.8 million in land interventions as of March 2022. These interventions fall into the following categories: legal, regulatory and policy reform; institutional strengthening; clarification and recognition of land rights; and land use planning and natural resource management.

Legal, Regulatory and Policy Reform

These programs address the land governance environment by strengthening the laws, regulations, and procedures for the recognition, administration and transfer of land rights.

Institutional Strengthening

These programs address weaknesses in land administration by investing in records management and transaction systems, business process change, infrastructure, equipment, and human capacity.

Clarification and Recognition of Land Rights

These programs address weak tenure security and weak understanding of land rights by clarifying and recognizing use rights, rights holders, and parcel boundaries.

Land Use Planning and Natural Resource Management

These programs address inadequacies in land use and management by clarifying land use typologies, demarcating village boundaries, and establishing land use plans.

What Have We Completed So Far?

MCC and its country partners develop and tailor Monitoring and Evaluation Plans for each program and country context. Within these country-specific plans, MCC uses common indicators to standardize measurement and reporting within certain sectors. See below for a subset of common indicators that summarize implementation achievements across all MCC land investments as of June 2022.

135

legal and regulatory reforms adopted

399

land administration offices established or upgraded

320,722

land rights formalized

357,900

parcels corrected or incorporated in land system

What Have We Achieved?

MCC commissions independent evaluations, conducted by third-party evaluators, for every project it funds. These evaluations hold MCC and country partners accountable for the achievement of intended results and also produce evidence and learning to inform future programming. They investigate the quality of project implementation, the achievement of the project objective and other targeted outcomes, and the cost-effectiveness of the project. The graphs below summarize the composition and status of MCC’s independent evaluations in the land sector as of April 2022. Evaluations of land investments that were part of a broader agriculture or irrigation project will be reflected in the Agriculture and Irrigation Sector Results and Learning page. Read on to see highlights of published interim and final evaluations. Follow the evaluation links to see the status of all planned, ongoing, and completed evaluations in the sector and to access the reports, summaries, survey materials, and data sets.

Go to our List of Evaluations to see the status of MCC’s land sector evaluations

Highlighted Evaluations

September 1, 2021 | Senegal Compact

Improving Irrigation and Land Rights in Senegal

Land under cultivation and horticulture have grown but not to expected levels

  • Evaluation Type: Multiple
  • Evaluation Status: Final

MCC’s $540 million Senegal Compact (2010-2015) funded the $170 million Irrigation and Water Resources Management (IWRM) Project to improve the productivity of the agricultural sector in certain agricultural-dependent areas of northern Senegal. The project rehabilitated or built 266 km of irrigation and drainage infrastructure, constructed a 450-hectare perimeter, mapped irrigated land, and trained officials to better administer land. The project was based on the theory that improved irrigation and land rights increase agricultural investment, productivity and ultimately household income.

Read Evaluation Details or the Evaluation Brief

A yurt, a circular tent structure, sits near a herd of animals.

April 10, 2021 | Mongolia Compact

Promoting sustainable rangeland management in Mongolia

Exclusive-use land rights, wells and training led to improved rangeland management

  • Evaluation Type: Impact
  • Evaluation Status: Final

MCC’s $284.9 million Mongolia Compact (2008–2013) funded the $10.1 million Peri-Urban Land Leasing Activity, which provided herders with wells, fencing and shelter materials, training, and 15-year land leases on previously open-access rangeland. The activity was based on the theory that providing private property rights and other direct support (wells, and promotion of dairy farming and herd management) on overgrazed land in select areas (Ulaanbaatar, Darkhan and Erdenet in Phase 1; and Choibalsan and Kharkorin in Phase 2) would improve animal husbandry and sustainable land use, which in turn would reduce land degradation and raise herder incomes.

Read Evaluation Details or the Evaluation Brief

An overhead view of a small village in Ghana

December 16, 2020 | Ghana Compact

Improving Resource Allocation in Ghana Through Land Titling

Providing land titles helped farmers build off-farm enterprises

  • Evaluation Type: Impact
  • Evaluation Status: Interim

MCC’s $547 million Ghana Compact (2007–2012) funded the$189 million Agriculture Project which included the Land Tenure Facilitation (LTF) Activity, a pilot to increase land tenure security, investment and productivity by strengthening property rights. LTF aimed to improve tenure security for land users and facilitate access to land for commercial crops through systematic provision of titles and construction and equipping Land Commission district offices to support land administration.

Read Evaluation Details or the Evaluation Brief

PFR beneficiary holding newly issued certificate.

July 27, 2020 | Benin Compact

Securing Land Tenure Investments in Benin

Improved land demarcation and certification induced agricultural investment

  • Evaluation Type: Impact
  • Evaluation Status: Final

MCC’s $307 million Benin Compact (2006-2011) funded the $33.7 million Access to Land Project (ALP), which aimed to secure land tenure, improve land-based investments, and decrease land disputes. The project’s rural activities worked across 40 of Benin’s 77 communes and 294 villages to demarcate land parcel boundaries, produce village landholding plans (plan foncier rural, PFRs), establish and strengthen village- and commune-level land institutions, and increase public outreach to increase demand and issuance of land use certificates (certificate foncier rural, CFRs).

Read Evaluation Details or the Evaluation Brief

Go to our Evaluation Brief page to see all completed land sector evaluations

What Have We Learned from Our Results?

To link the evidence from the independent evaluations with MCC practice, project staff produce an MCC Learning document at the close of each interim and final evaluation to capture practical lessons for programming and evaluation. Use the filters below to find lessons relevant to your evidence needs.

  • MCC needs to ensure that evaluations assess the linkage between outputs, short-term outcomes, and longer-term outcomes.

    MCC needs to ensure that evaluations assess the linkage between outputs, short-term outcomes, and longer-term outcomes. The CLS independent evaluation could have benefited from a greater focus on the post-Compact status of outputs and their linkage to targeted outcomes. The continued monitoring of outputs, like the delivery of land certificates, is especially important when implementation continues right until a compact ends, and/or the partner country is expected to complete work started during the compact. For example, while this evaluation highlighted the delayed delivery of land certificates, it did not provide the definitive status of this delivery, primarily because the use of administrative data was not factored into the design and MCC did not have a ready means for accessing these data post-Compact. Furthermore, the fact that the target for Household land rights formalized was just under half of the target for Parcels corrected or incorporated into the system obscured the reality that land certificates should have been delivered to many more households before the Compact ended. In other words, despite meeting 86% of the land rights formalized target, less than half of the registered land rights, i.e., for parcels corrected or incorporated into the system, had been delivered by the end of the Compact. However, the need to monitor the delivery of leases was not built into the Namibia post-Compact M&E Plan. In order to ensure access to accurate land data, MCC needs to build effective tools during implementation that facilitate the collection and reporting on key project outputs, like land certificates, during and post-Compact. In the Morocco II Rural Land project, MCC tried to improve the post-Compact reporting ability by requiring that the implementer develop a GIS system that will produce reports to track project outputs. In most other countries, where the incomplete status of implementation was clearer, MCC has more comprehensive post-Compact M&E Plans and robust relationships with government counterparts to facilitate annual reporting on key land metrics using administrative data. MCC must ensure that these data sources and relationships are built into the project and M&E frameworks, which requires that project leads and M&E leads are collaborating about these needs. Mozambique, Cabo Verde, and Lesotho, have all attempted to use information systems funded under those Compacts to report toward post-Compact M&E Plans.

  • The most sensitive issues are usually the most difficult politically so require strategic leverage.

    The most sensitive issues are usually the most difficult politically so require strategic leverage. Residents noted a number of land-related problems that CLS did not address or resolve, mostly due to a lack of political will on the part of the GRN. These included unauthorized fencing, accountability of local leaders known as Traditional Authorities, ecological degradation (which was the focus of CBRLM, not CLS), and the decreasing availability of commonage for grazing cattle. CLS tried to address the availability of the commonage by identifying five pilot areas on which to pursue group land rights but, again, the political will did not exist within the GRN to complete the process of granting these rights. In the future, MCC should require the policy and institutional reforms considered necessary per the program logic before implementing the components prioritized by the partner country. The tools to be considered include “conditions precedent” (CPs) to disbursing funds. CPs have been used effectively in various MCC land projects, including the Mongolia Property Rights Project and the first compact with Burkina Faso.

  • Structure project management in order to capitalize on synergies between related interventions.

    Structure project management in order to capitalize on synergies between related interventions. The Namibia CLS and Community-Based Rangeland and Livestock Management (CBRLM) Sub-Activities were conceived as complementary investments with certain shared outcomes; the former focused on land rights and the latter focused on land use and livestock management. The interventions were managed by different staff within MCA-Namibia and MCC, and implemented by different contractors. The absence of a unifying project implementation structure, for example a single MCC or MCA project lead with sufficient authority and accountability for both investments and their targeted results, resulted in a loss of natural and planned synergies, and likely undermined results. The CLS independent evaluator expressed doubt about the likelihood of realizing the medium and longer-term outcomes conceived for the complementary set of CLS and CBRLM investments given that key necessary conditions were not achieved. This shortfall is likely at least in part because the interventions were implemented separately despite their interdependent logic. Going forward, when results are interdependent, MCC should better align their strategic oversight, contracting, management, and external accountability, in a way that capitalizes on synergies and increases the likelihood of achieving results. One example that comes closer to this approach is the land project structure MCC is using with Morocco II Compact in which cross-cutting functional roles report to a single project lead. This contrasts with MCC’s traditional matrix structure where cross-cutting roles sit outside of the project and report to a functional manager instead of a project lead.

  • Use of land administrative data is key to understanding the outcomes from land tenure and governance interventions.

    Use of land administrative data is key to understanding the outcomes from land tenure and governance interventions. However, gaining access to land administrative data, especially amid new data privacy concerns, has proved to be a complex process. It is important during the compact development process to gain agreements on data access and related publication of anonymized data. Administrative data can provide trends in all land transactions over time rather than a stagnant point in time for a small sample of parcels. For example, administrative data can be used to analyze tenure status, share of land titled in the name of women or jointly held, demand for and approvals of formal land transactions, land transaction times and volume of mortgages and loans that use land/property as collateral. In its land evaluations, MCC has moved towards collection of land administrative data as a way of tracking project impacts on land markets and land transaction times.

    In the RSPS evaluation, the administrative data was used to understand land transaction times and changes in the land market. The SHPS evaluation also used land administrative data to verify land tenure status reported in household surveys, as well as to understand trends in the demand for land registration. However, it takes significant time to review the multiple paper and digital record keeping systems across offices to understand the variables available, the details behind what data is captured, and the data’s accuracy. In addition, obtaining access to land administrative data has proven complex as governments, including Mongolia, increasingly incorporate protections for data privacy. A new data privacy law in Mongolia went into effect post compact. Gaining access to the data hence required a series of meetings and official letters with the Ministry of Justice, where GASR sits, to access the registry data and then additional approvals were necessary to publish the anonymized data sets. Similar issues have been faced by evaluators across MCC land projects, including Cabo Verde and Mozambique.

    Although land administrative data is often provided as part of the MCC monitoring framework reporting, MCC should engage governments early on to understand the flow of key land transactions through the system, what data is available and in what form, and ensure data sharing arrangements are established with MCC’s independent evaluators. This would apply to all sectors which are using administrative datasets. Similar pre-arranged agreements on publishing the anonymized administrative datasets could also be helpful as more evaluations increasingly use non-household datasets.

  • Ongoing external initiatives, legal reforms, or rapid economic growth can affect the ability of the evaluation to attribute results.

    Ongoing external initiatives, legal reforms, or rapid economic growth can affect the ability of the evaluation to attribute results. Mongolia experienced rapid economic growth from its mining sector along with related property development across its capital city. Moreover, the government rolled out a mortgage subsidy program and extended the ability of individuals to obtain free privatized land. Together these factors made it difficult to quantify how much the project contributed to expected outcomes. In the end, the evaluators were able to partly attribute the development of Mongolia’s land markets to the RSPS activity combined with the institutional and legal reforms. Qualitative data combined with looking at administrative data trends can help clarify the context around household survey findings.