Land and Rural Development Evaluation – Colombia

The Land and Rural Development Program began in July 2013 and is a five-year task order under the Strengthening Tenure and Resource Rights Indefinite Quantity Contract. The program helps the Government of Colombia improve its ability to resolve the many complicated land issues that have plagued the country for years and that must be resolved to achieve a lasting peace.

As the project nears its end, I was hired with a team of researchers to conduct a performance evaluation. This included a 6 week data collection process with 1500 household surveys, 100 stakeholder surveys, key informant interviews and 10 focus group discussions. I was a lead on developing all of these surveys and ensuring the data was collected correctly and efficiently while in country.

Objectives

  1. Improved capacity of the GOC at the regional and national levels to restitute lands to victims of conflict (Restitution Component);
  2. Improved capacity of regional and national GOC institutions to formalize rural property rights and to allocate public lands (baldíos) (Formalization Component);
  3. Improved capacity of regional and national government entities to mobilize and execute public resources for rural public goods (Rural Development Component); and
  4. Improved information available and efficiently used to deliver land rights services (Information Sharing and Management Component).

After four years of intense negotiations in Havana, Cuba, between the GOC and the FARC, both parties signed a peace accord in the final months of 2016 with the intent of ending more than 50 years of civil war. Although several controversies swirled around the final terms of the agreement, they did not center on the agreement’s commitments to strengthen land tenure security and rural livelihoods, giving the program significant latitude to continue collaborating with the GOC to facilitate land restitution, strengthen smallholder land rights, and mobilize the provision of public goods and services in historically neglected rural areas—and thereby create the conditions for sustaining peace.