USIU-Africa hosts 27 fellows from the Network of Impact Evaluation Researchers in Africa

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The Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Zeleza speaks during the opening session of the NIERA Day. PHOTO: Courtesy

By Taigu Muchiri

USIU-Africa was proud to host a team from the East Africa Social Science Translation (EASST), Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) and the Network of Impact Evaluation Researchers in Africa (NIERA) members across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Rwanda on July 24. NIERA is an independent network of East African scholars that conduct rigorous evaluations of social and economic development programs to improve people’s wellbeing and is hosted at USIU-Africa.

The Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Zeleza welcomed the team mentioning that it was an important event that brings together technical experts from academia, private sector, development organizations and think tanks to discuss development issues facing Africa and how African scholars can effectively address them. “As such I am proud to be a partner to this network and challenge fellows to take research for development seriously; specifically research conducted by Africans for Africa”, said the Vice Chancellor. He appreciated the 27 fellows who are fundamental to the network and most importantly the Hewlett Foundation, whose unwavering support cannot go unnoticed.

Research programs at USIU-Africa are coordinated by the School of Graduate Studies, Research and Extension which provides a one stop shop for all graduate students’ needs and supports academic research in line with the University policy. In the 2018/2019 academic year, the university received Kshs. 12 million in internal grants and Kshs. 107, 444, 175 external grants. The research productivity of the university has also continued to grow with 378 publications and 51 conference papers presented. USIU-Africa is undertaking several initiatives in impact evaluation which include the International Centre for Evaluation and Development (ICED) that promotes the use of research and evaluation findings and evidence for effective policy making, action and practices.

The Metro-Agribusiness Living Lab is another impact evaluation program that seeks to expand opportunities for youth in agri-business and is currently funded by the Cultivate Africa’s Future Fund through International Development Research Center, IDRC and the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research. It bridges the gap between business innovation, action research and business training. It is currently in its second phase and has recruited 480 youth owned agribusinesses for training, mentorship and access to funds. The program is implemented in nine counties namely; Nyandarua, Nairobi, Kiambu, Kakamega, Bungoma, Kisumu, Siaya, Nakuru and Kericho.

The other research initiative is operated under the Kenya Youth Employment Opportunities (KYEOP) where the university is working in six counties namely; Nakuru, Kitui, Nairobi, Kiambu, Machakos and Nyandarua. KYEOP seeks to build capacity for over 35,000 youth by enabling them take responsibilities for their lives, actions, and change their mindset to be ready for technical skill (vocational) training and entrepreneurship and is a collaborative project in the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs (MPYG) - Directorate of Youth Affairs (DYA) funded by the World Bank and will run from 2018-2021. To date, USIU-Africa has trained 3,561 youth across the country.

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