Summary of Findings

Measuring Results of the Namibia Communal Land Support Sub-Activity

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The MCC compact with Namibia was a five-year investment (2009-2014) of $304.5 million. The $8.5 million Communal Land Support (CLS) component is the subject of an independent performance evaluation summarized here.

  • CLS aimed to educate citizens and land officials regarding land rights and procedures under the Communal Land Reform Act (CLRA), improve procedures for formalization of land rights through the issuance of land rights certificates under the CLRA, and support the formalization of land rights in targeted project areas in order to (i) reduce land disputes, (ii) increase efficiency in the land system, (iii) improve land use and livestock quality, (iv) increase investment, and ultimately (v) increase incomes.
  • 2,524 stakeholders were trained; 19 legal and regulatory reforms were adopted; and 4,356 household land rights were formalized.
  • Residents credit CLS with increasing awareness and understanding of land rights and noted a need for increased clarity regarding rights to communal grazing areas.
  • Land officials viewed training positively. Quantitative knowledge assessment shows their level of knowledge is mixed.
  • Most respondents feel secure in their household land rights and believe CLS improved their security. Women, and widows in particular, report improved perceptions of individual tenure security.  It is noted, however, that the government’s failure to issue outstanding land certificates could undermine short-term gains in perceptions of tenure security.
  • CLS and the related Community-Based Rangeland and Livestock Management sub-activity were intended to be complementary in nature but implementation by separate contractors in separate geographic areas undermined synergies that might have been achieved and, perhaps, the results of both sub-activities. In designing future projects, MCC should structure project oversight and implementation so as to capitalize on expected synergies between related interventions.

This evaluation is complete; MCC will attempt to continue post-Compact monitoring using administrative data but will not move forward with a follow-on performance evaluation.

In Context

The MCC compact with Namibia was a five-year investment (2009-2014) of $304.5 million in three projects:  the Education Project, the Tourism Project, and the Agriculture Project.  The Agriculture Project included three major activities, the Land Access and Management Activity, the Livestock Support Activity, and the Indigenous Natural Products (INP) Activity.  The Land Access and Management Activity consisted of two Sub-Activities:  Communal Land Support (CLS) and Community-Based Rangeland and Livestock Management. The $8.5 million CLS Sub-Activity 1 is the subject of an independent performance evaluation released by MCC in May of 2019, the results of which are summarized here.  This component represents 3 percent of the total compact. Other components of the compact are the subject of independent evaluations that have been published or were still underway when this summary was published.

Pie Chart for Namibia CLS Project. Expenditures are represented as a part of the full compact.

Program Logic

At the time of Namibia’s independence, many citizens lacked knowledge of their land rights, and traditional authorities had varying capacities to manage the land.  This led to a period of land grabbing and illegal fencing of communal grazing areas, along with other challenges of land administration, in the Northern Communal Areas (NCAs).  Namibia passed the Communal Land Reform Act (CLRA) in 2002 to help address these issues.

The CLS Sub-Activity was designed to help implement the CLRA and address some of the problems outlined above.  CLS included outreach to communities; training and capacity building for land officials; verification and registration of rights to land parcels; and review and revision of relevant policies and procedures.  These efforts aimed to increase the awareness and tenure security of citizens, improve procedures and land administration capacity of land officials, and reduce land disputes.  Ultimately, CLS was expected to lead to improved land use and livestock quality, increased investment, and increased efficiency in the land system.

Flow chart of Namibia CLS Program Logic. The graphic describes the outputs from the program and the short term, intermediate term, and longer-term outcomes that the program hopes to achieve. The final goal of "Poverty reduction through economic growth".

CLS efforts will generate an increase in applications for parcel registration.There were several assumptions underlying the CLS program logic, including:

  • Communities can obtain management rights over local grazing areas (commonage) that will incentivize them to manage these areas more sustainably.
  • There is political will within the Government of Namibia to support registration of “large” land parcels (i.e., greater than 20 hectares).
  • There is political will within the Government of Namibia to accept and implement recommended policy reforms.
  • Land registration will lead to improved land management and increased financial security for the land users.


For a more detailed version of the program logic, please refer to page 14 of the CLS Evaluation Design Report, which can be found here:


Measuring Results

MCC uses multiple sources to measure results, which are generally grouped into monitoring and evaluation sources.  Monitoring data is collected during and after compact implementation and is typically generated by the program implementers; it focuses specifically on measuring program outputs and intermediate outcomes directly affected by the program.  However, monitoring data is limited in that it cannot not reflect the full range of targeted outcomes and cannot tell us whether changes in key outcomes are attributable solely to the MCC-funded intervention.  The limitations of monitoring data is a key reason why MCC invests in independent evaluations to assess the achievement of a broader set of program outcomes.  When feasible, MCC supports impact evaluations, which use a counterfactual to assess what would have happened in the absence of the investment and thereby estimate the impact of the intervention alone.  When estimating a counterfactual is not possible, MCC invests in performance evaluations, which compile the best available evidence and assess the likely impact of MCC investments on key outcomes.


Monitoring Results

The following table summarizes performance on output and outcome indicators specific to the evaluated program.


Indicators Level Baseline (2009) Actual Achieved (09/2014) Target Percent Complete
Group rights secured/registered Output 0 0 3 0%a
Legal and regulatory reforms adopted Output 0 19 9 211%
Outreach events held Output 0 552 331 167%
Stakeholders trained Output 0 2,524 1,936 130%
Parcels corrected or incorporated in land system Output 0 8,869 10,807 82%
Household land rights formalized Output 0 4,356 5,080 86%

Source: (Closeout ITT from December 2014, which includes data through the end of the compact, based on reporting from the CLS contractor)

a Although this was labeled an “output,” it required significant action on the part of the Government of Namibia so might have more appropriately been considered an “outcome.”


The average completion rate of output targets is 113 percent and targets were met or exceeded in 3 of the 6 output indicators. 2


Evaluation Questions

The evaluation was designed to answer the following questions:

  • How has CLS contributed to increasing knowledge and awareness about land rights, laws, and procedures under the Communal Land Reform Act?
  • How and to what extent has CLS helped improve perceptions related to tenure security, including for women and other vulnerable groups?
  • To what extent has CLS had broader impacts on the approach to land registration in Namibia?
  • To what extent has CLS contributed to improved economic outcomes (land use, livestock, investment)?


During the development of the Namibia Compact CLS, CBRLM, and other related livestock investments had an integrated theory of change and were combined into one economic analysis model.  Given that CLS was implemented in a separate geographic area from the other investments, MCC attempted to model the costs and benefits of CLS separately around 2014.  MCC subsequently decided that the separate economic analysis that had been developed for CLS would not be used because of (i) the uncertain and potentially long timeframe over which economic benefits related to livestock, i.e., the primary benefit stream, would occur, and (ii) uncertainty related to broader benefits such as land transactions.  As a result, the evaluation was not designed to explicitly measure benefit streams modeled in the CLS economic analysis.  More detail on this topic can be found in the Evaluation Design Report here:


Evaluation Results

The data collected and analyzed for the CLS evaluation included a set of 56 Focus Group Discussion and 26 Key Informant Interviews that were conducted with land users, various land officials, former project staff, and local land experts.  The data also include the results of a Quantitative Knowledge Assessment Tool (QKAT) that measured land officials’ knowledge of land issues.  Results are summarized below.

Evaluator             NORC at the University of Chicago
Impact or Performance? Performance
Methodology    Other (Performance)
Evaluation Period The Sub-Activity was implemented from March 2010 through June 2014

Initial Performance Evaluation (IPE) data collection:  April – July, 2016

Increased awareness of rights, capacity, tenure security, adoption of procedures ·         A quantitative knowledge assessment shows that land officials’ level of knowledge is mixed. While the officials viewed training positively, some are confused about their roles under the CLRA and how to implement the CLRA and requested additional training.

·         Residents credit CLS with increasing awareness and understanding of individual land rights. They seek more clarity about their rights to communal grazing areas.

·         Most respondents felt relatively secure in their individual land rights prior to the project and believe CLS improved that security.

·         Approximately half of the certificates for registered land parcels had not been delivered by the end of the Compact (and less than half of respondents indicated having received certificates at the time of data collection in 2016).  The evaluator cautioned that perceptions of tenure security could suffer if the government fails to deliver the processed land certificates.

·         CLS did not succeed in registering any group land rights despite working on policy reform and piloting applications for group land rights in five areas. Insecurity over commonage land used to graze cattle remains a key concern for residents.

·         Women’s land rights, and those of widows in particular, have been strengthened considerably, with CLS communications and outreach campaigns making an important contribution. Nonetheless, important limitations remain to understanding and protecting women’s land rights. For example, out of four focus group discussions with women land users, awareness of the option to jointly register land in a husband and wife’s name was mixed in three, while none of the women in the fourth discussion were aware of joint registration.  At the time of data collection in 2016, no joint land certificates had been issued.

·         Tools and procedures developed by CLS are seen as improvements; some are actively used but not all. For example, some Ministry of Land and Resettlement (MLR) staff report continued use of the CLS training materials regarding the registration process, while others report not using these materials; similarly, there were technical challenges with NCLAS-2 that delayed its adoption, though MLR continues to work on resolving those issues so the full system can be used.

·         CLS’s approach of engaging closely with the communities also served to demonstrate the value of a participatory approach and made a positive impression on MLR staff.

Improved land use, livestock, investment ·         Most of these medium and longer-term outcomes would have been measured in the Follow-on Performance Evaluation rather than the IPE.

·         However, the IPE found persistent insecurity in rights over communal grazing areas, which is expected to undermine the opportunities for improved land use and livestock outcomes as anticipated in the CLS program logic. In addition, the IPE indicates that economic impacts may be limited because tenure insecurity was not a significant constraint to investment on individually held parcels.

Effect on household income attributable to MCC ·         The IPE did not measure household income.


Lessons Learned

  • 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.
  • 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. 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.


Next Steps

This evaluation is complete.


As mentioned above, the Evaluation Design Report proposed a FOPE that would focus on economic outcomes that needed more time to accrue and the sustainability of outcomes measured in the IPE.  NORC recommended that the following three conditions be in place before pursuing a FOPE: (1) the issuance of all certificates for land registered under CLS, including joint certificates; (2) the approval of group rights, which are critical to the use of communal land and investment; and (3) an evaluation scoping mission to assess progress and delays in the delivery of certificates, and help to determine whether a FOPE is necessary.  MCC has decided not to pursue the FOPE because (a) based on post-Compact updates, the first and second conditions above have not been met; (b) the absence of baseline data limits the evaluation options available (i.e., the quantitative options proposed by NORC would not be appropriate) and our ability to attribute results to CLS; and (c) as demonstrated by the decision to withdraw the cost benefit analysis for CLS, there has never been a solid basis for estimating when longer-term outcomes would accrue (or should be measured) though, as mentioned above, persistent insecurity in communal land rights and the fact that individual tenure security did not appear to be a constraint to investment at the outset, also suggests changes in longer-term outcomes are unlikely to be detected.

  • 1. MCA Namibia Task Level Report
  • 2. These figures are calculated using all non-evaluation indicators with targets in the CLS Sub-Activity.