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IDRC supports five partnerships to address priorities in COVID-19 recovery

IDRC is investing CAD1 million in projects selected from a broad portfolio of Canadian-led research to address global socioeconomic inequities that have been heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A woman wearing a protective mask writes on a sheet of paper as another woman, also masked, sits on the step of a wooden home in Quiché, Guatemala.
United Nations Peacebuilding

The investment is part of funding for research on post-pandemic recovery resulting from a 2022 competition under Canada’s New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF), for a more equitable, sustainable and resilient world. Sixty-one projects selected by the NFRF directly address one or more of the research priorities outlined in the UN Research Roadmap for the COVID-19 Recovery.  

The additional funding from IDRC will support five of these Canadian-led projects, involving partnerships with Global South researchers within our priority areas of food security, democratic governance and inclusive economies. The research involves the design and testing of innovative solutions with the active participation of vulnerable populations, such as micro- and small-size entrepreneurs in the informal food and water sectors and refugee and Indigenous populations. They address the research roadmap pillars related to social protection and basic services, economic response and community resilience, macroeconomic policies, and social cohesion and community resilience.

IDRC is contributing approximately CAD200,000 to each of the following projects:  

In many parts of the world, the lack of safe drinking water has led to informal ways of accessing and selling water. This research will help to map informal water-vending networks in Kisumu, Kenya, with a new monitoring platform that assesses accountability and trust in water and its providers. With a focus on women water entrepreneurs, researchers will design options for a social enterprise to integrate informal parts of the water network into public water service provision. The empowerment of a new generation of water entrepreneurs will improve access to water and contribute to a healthy and gender-equal recovery. 

This research builds on a NFRF-funded project to develop innovative methods for mapping water-vending networks. 

Research partners: the University of Waterloo, Canada, in collaboration with Community Health Support, Kenya. 

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Guatemala’s often neglected Indigenous communities have had to deal with the impacts of tropical storms as well as the pandemic. It is important to reimagine and strengthen how governments plan and execute responses during emergencies. Working with Indigenous communities, this research will track public infrastructure damage and repairs, public policy, and budget allocations for emergency response at all levels of government over the past five years. It will also design and test models that integrate Indigenous resilience and solidarity strategies into emergency response.

IDRC funding will support the expansion of the research, which now includes 20 Indigenous communities in 10 municipalities in the departments of Alta Verapaz and Quiché.

Research partners: York University, Canada, and the Centro de Estudios para la Equidad y Gobernanza en los Sistemas de Salud and Laboratorio de Datos, Guatemala. 

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The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the multiple hardships confronting refugees, such as high rates of poverty and food insecurity. This project supports the design and testing of a digital learning tool for agricultural entrepreneurship in Uganda’s Nakivale refugee settlement. Researchers will work with vulnerable refugee women and youth to build a face-to-face and digital training package that, along with modern agricultural information and initial supplies, will enable them to enhance their economic security as well as digital literacy.

This research complements the NFRF-funded development of video-based mobile phone learning in the Nakivale settlement.

Research partners: the University of Sherbrooke, Canada, in collaboration with Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Capital Solutions, Association for Sustainable Development-Inkingi and Light for All, Uganda, and the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Canada. 

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Refugee communities recovering from the impacts of COVID-19, climate change and war need new economic models for enterprise development. This research studies how refugee communities in Kenya can adapt and use an online business incubator with extensive training and mentoring, a virtual community currency using blockchain, and a peer-to-peer portal matching women refugee entrepreneurs with volunteer mentors and financial supporters in wealthier countries. 

IDRC’s complementary support enables the expansion of the project in Kenya’s urban environment. 

Research partners: McMaster University, Canada, in collaboration with RefuSHE, Kenya.

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IDRC funding will enable the Hungry Cities Partnership to examine the food security impacts of COVID-19 in secondary cities and recommend recovery plans that build on women’s central role in mitigating the food insecurity of marginalized social groups. The research will focus on micro-enterprises owned by women in the informal urban food sector and their households and communities in Cholula, Mexico; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Oshakati, Namibia; and Xai Xai, Mozambique.

Funding by NFRF supports similar research in four larger cities of the same countries: Mexico City, Kingston, Windhoek and Maputo.

Research partners: Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada, in collaboration with the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana Azcapotzalco, Mexico; the University of the West Indies, Jamaica; the University of Namibia; Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique; and the University of Alberta, Canada. 

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NFRF supports interdisciplinary, transformative, high-risk and high-reward Canadian-led research with international partners. It is housed within the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), on behalf of Canada’s three federal research funding agencies: SSHRC, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Read more about the recently announced support from Canada’s New Frontiers in Research Fund.