Leveraging Land in Haiti

Commitment by Habitat For Humanity International

In 2019, Habitat for Humanity Haiti (HFHH) committed to help formalize the land rights of families living informally on public land and improve public processes related to land ownership. In Haiti, a complex and ambiguous land tenure system hampers economic and social development. In some areas of Haiti, 80% of households claim land rights, but nearly 70% do not possess title documents. Meanwhile, the lack of accurate land registries leads to difficulties managing land at all levels. To address this, HFHH will train 200 government and community leaders in processes for recognizing land rights and creating registries. Second, partners will introduce new technological tools to improve land surveying practices, and will conduct participatory land parcel mapping of three municipalities in partnership with government agencies. Finally, the partners will implement a public awareness campaign on the links between livelihood and land rights. As a result of this commitment, more than 12,000 households in Haiti will formalize their land rights.



Leveraging Land in Haiti



Est. Duration

4 Years

Estimated Total Value



Latin America & Caribbean



Commitment by

Habitat For Humanity International

Partner(s) of the Commitment Maker(s)

Cadasta Foundation; Haiti Property Law Working Group; Unite de Construction de Logements et de Batiments Publics

Through this commitment, Habitat Haiti will launch a major expansion will expand on its land tenure work in Haiti by implementing a three-component, comprehensive program over four years to support the formalization of the land rights of families informally on government land.
Under Component One of the project, Habitat for Humanity (HFH) will address the need for information, evidence, knowledge-based tools, and the sharing of data and lessons learned regarding land rights. HFH will hold six interactive training events called LABs, through which 200 government officials, community leaders, and development practitioners will learn principles of land management such as the procedures and finances necessary to formally recognize land ownership; how to develop land-based financing systems; and the processes for registering land parcels and populating land registries.
In Component Two, HFH will assess available technological tools with the potential of improving land information management and data collection and propose a suite of tools to be integrated into standard practices in Haiti. Tools to be assessed for use include the Cadasta platform and PASSA Youth (a toolkit for disaster risk reduction related to shelter). Also in this phase, HFH will conduct a large-scale training and participatory mapping of land parcels in three municipalities using drone imagery alongside at least five government agencies. The partners will then work with households in these municipalities to formalize their land rights, increasing tenure security for 12,000 families. The official land administration system will be updated using this data, and the partners will create an action plan for land-based revenue mobilization. These increased revenues to government agencies will in turn be used at least partially to improve services in these areas.
In Component Three, HFH will conduct qualitative assessments on the impacts of the program in these municipalities on tenure security, conflict resolution, and data collection, among other things. Finally, the partners will roll out a complimentary media campaign to raise public awareness about the importance of land tenure to livelihoods, resilience, and economic growth.

Audit of existing land sector environment and challenges (Component One)

Conduct trainings on the incorporation of land parcel data into a registry (Component One)
Large-scale participatory mapping and analysis of tenure systems in Croix-des-Bouquets, Léogâne and Fort-Liberté (Component Two)

Formalization of land rights of 12,000 households in Croix-des-Bouquets, Léogâne and Fort-Liberté to formalize their land ownership (Component One)
Creation of a framework for a land-based financing system (Component One)
Qualitative assessment to measure progress on good land governance (Component Three)

Creation of land use and property rights model (Component One)
Creation of framework to modernize land sector, including gender and environmental criteria (Component One)
Development of media campaign on the link between land tenure and livelihoods, resilience, and economic growth (Component Three)


Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, and rapid urbanization (55.3% urban pop.) has resulted in poorly planned, overcrowded and vulnerable slums. These slums exist within a complex and ambiguous land tenure system, which hampers the country’s economic and social development.

Critical issues within land sector include the lack of official land documentation. In rural areas, 80% of households claim land rights though 67% do not have a formal title document (CIAT). The owners cannot fully benefit from the value of their land without a formal document that attributes that land to them. Haiti also lacks an efficient and functional land information system; Haiti’s last complete cadastral survey dates from 1786. Government land agencies struggle to keep up, given the outdated surveying methods, lack of georeferenced deeds, lack of a comprehensive and accessible digital registry and cadaster, fragmented data held by various institutions and unclear roles and responsibilities of government agencies. The lack of accurate information from the tenure system is often linked to fragmented/siloed agencies, practices, and investments in land administration.

Haiti’s 1987 Constitution grants municipalities rights and responsibilities in the management of land, however, the municipalities often lack the technical and financial resources to fulfill this role. The municipalities and the central government do not hold accurate records of state-owned lands resulting in constant land conflict and challenges in enforcing land use at the municipal level.

Habitat for Humanity Haiti has worked to address these issues in Haiti through a comprehensive land tenure project, the first phase of which focused on educating the Haitian population about the legal framework for land transaction through buying, selling, donation, or inheritance.

Partnership Opportunities

Habitat For Humanity is still looking for financial resources to support this phase of the project. Habitat for Humanity Haiti can provide technical assistance, including training and recommendations on land formalization process. In 2018, Habitat Haiti provided services to more than 10 organizations and local authorities.

Progress Reports

June 2019

HFHH conducted a two-day session with the government entities (DGI, UCLBP) and USAID team to go through the project objectives, results, activities, and methodology. This kick off meeting aimed to clarify expectations, share limitations of the project, and set a general direction for the team to execute.

From April 15th to May 15th, Habitat conducted the baseline of the project in collaboration with the mayors’ offices of the municipalities of Leogane, Fort – Liberte and Croix-des-bouquets. This will allow the project to have real data and appropriate indicators on the land situation, and to measure the progress in the land security for families in those communes.

Habitat also led a meeting with the members of the Haiti Property Law Working Group which focused on analyzing the project, to ensure clear understanding of the stakeholders in the land tenure system of Haiti.

Lastly, Habitat has started developing MOU with Unité de Construction de Logements et de Bâtiments Publics (UCLBP) mayors’ offices of the municipalities of Leogane, Fort – Liberté and Croix-des-bouquets.