WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, USAID announced the launch of nine innovative partnership grants with U.S. universities in the field of democracy, human rights and governance (DRG). The grants will produce cutting-edge research, including findings and recommendations for USAID’s Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance (DRG Center). In turn, the DRG Center will use the research to strengthen the DRG programs of USAID’s field Missions. The grants were awarded based on the applicant’s capacity to advance USAID’s new DRG strategy, which was released last June.
“The DRG sector is truly at the forefront of efforts to establish USAID as the world’s leading evidence-based development agency,” said David Yang, Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance. “Partnering with academic institutions is a key element of our DRG learning agenda.”
Drawn from a pool of 103 proposals, the awards range from $40,000 to $250,000 for a combined total of $1.1 million, and will begin during 2014 and be completed by September 2015. Issued under the Institute of International Education’s Democracy Fellows and Grants Program, the grants are funded by the DRG Center and the Bureau for Africa’s Office of Sustainable Development.
University of Michigan: This project will develop an Election Results Evaluation Tool, a sophisticated election forensic instrument that DRG practitioners can use to assess whether elections around the world are free and fair. Principal Investigators: Prof. Allen Hicken, and Walter Mebane.
University of Virginia: Researchers at UVA and the University of Notre Dame will study the link between public health, good governance and democratic politics in Uganda by examining whether citizens view leaders who promote public-health initiatives as more popular and effective. Principal Investigators: Molly Lipscomb and Robert A. Dowd.
College of William and Mary: This project will assess how Chinese investment and development projects affect state capacity and legitimacy in sub-Saharan Africa. Principal Investigator: Philip Roessler.
Williams College: Research implemented in Kenya and at Harvard’s Kennedy School will determine if vote-buying efforts truly affect how citizens vote. Principal Investigators: Jessica Leight and Rohini Pande.
University of California, Los Angeles: This project will evaluate the impact of election observers on election fraud and political representation and accountability in Malawi. Principal Investigators: Daniel Posner and George Ofusu.
University of Notre Dame: This project will examine Malian discussion groups, known as “grinw,” and their role in rebuilding civil society and democracy in post-conflict Mali. Principal Investigators: Jeimie Bleck, and Philippe LeMay-Boucher.
Georgia State University: This project will study links between different types of transitional justice and political reintegration to determine whether such measures divide or unify society in Colombia. Principal Investigators: Jelena Subotic, Jennifer L. McCoy, and Ryan E. Carlin.
Institute for Empirical Research in Political Economy: This project will determine if public hearings by local governments are effective in exposing and reducing government corruption at the local level in Benin. Principal Investigator: Leonard Wantchekon.
Yale University: Researchers at Yale and the University of Virginia will synthesize and evaluate theories of democratic transition and consolidation and develop recommendations to strengthen the link between DRG strategic planning and programming. Principal Investigators: Ellen Lust, and David Waldner.
The U.S. Agency for International Development is leading the U.S. Government's efforts
to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies.