Evaluating regional libraries in Namibia

New regional libraries have been introduced in Namibia. Officially called Regional Study & Resource Centers, the Government of Namibia, with support from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), has launched three of these libraries in different regions of Namibia.

The MCC has commissioned TASCHA to conduct an ongoing performance evaluation of these centers. Over the past several months, TASCHA researchers have been developing and refining the project’s research design and evaluation methods (download the evaluation design report here). TASCHA will work closely with local research teams in Namibia to carry out the field research, which will begin in February 2015 and continue through 2017.

The evaluation will include several components and research methods to address specific research questions. The first component of the field research will focus on how the regional centers were designed, built, and implemented. Through interviews with key stakeholders involved with the planning and implementation of the libraries in Namibia, researchers will assess how the execution of the three pilot libraries was carried out, if the libraries are meeting expectations so far, and will help inform future research activities.

Future research activities include a mix of quantitative and qualitative research methods. These methods include three rounds of patron surveys, panel studies to follow users over a period of time, focus groups with specific types of patrons (teachers, students, unemployed patrons, etc.), interviews with various stakeholders and staff, observations, and a storytelling method called Most Significant Change (MSC). MSC is a relatively new monitoring and evaluation method that is designed to capture what matters most from the perspective of project participants (in this case, patrons, staff, stakeholders, etc.) in complex situations.

Both MCC and TASCHA will post updates about this evaluation project as the research continues, as well as publications and resources as they are ready. More information about these centers and this evaluation can be found on MCA Namibia’s website and this project’s page on the TASCHA website.