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Funded Projects | Evidence to action supplements

Starting in 2016, the PEER program has awarded supplements to select projects to enable PEER-supported researchers to apply the data, evidence, and results generated under their PEER awards towards facilitating program changes, policy recommendations, or sustainable technological products. Evidence to Action supplements support new activities that help achieve the development impact of the original PEER award by strengthening engagement with the local community, the scientific community, policymakers, and/or the USAID Mission in the country or region where the project is based. This annual supplement is awarded competitively and must have a clear and measurable impact on specified development programs or policies.
2016 2017

Evidence to Action Supplement Recipients 2017

Armenia- Project 4-230: Sustainable Fisheries for Enhanced Water Resources in Armenia (SFEWRA)
PI: Vardan Urutyan, International Center for Agribusiness Research and Education
U.S. Partner: Stephen Schoenholtz, Virginia Water Resources Research Center

Supplemental Project Objective: This team has developed a business model for sustainable aquaculture in Armenia, along with a set of technical recommendations for environmentally-friendly water recirculation and reuse processes. With this supplement, leveraging funding provided by the farm owner, they will implement their findings and recommendations by remodeling one of the 15 fish farms they have been studying. They aim to demonstrate the value of their water reuse model to make it easier for other farm owners to obtain investments to make similar cost-efficient, water-saving modifications at their facilities.

Bangladesh - Project 2-524: Field assessment of arsenic-bearing waste treatment options
PI: Ahammadul Kabir, Asia Arsenic Network
U.S. Partner: Lutgarde Raskin, University of Michigan

Supplemental Project Objective: The major supplemental activities will include (1) development of standard pictorial guidelines for backwashing to prevent the buildup of highly contaminated sludge at arsenic removal plants, (2) identification of all the arsenic iron removal plants in the Jessore area, and (3) training of caretakers for backwashing coupled with awareness creation among the users about the further pollution in the respective locations. The team will also engage with representatives of local government institutions, community leaders, and NGOs through a final workshop to disseminate the improved practices.

Colombia - Project 4-70: Satellite-based estimations of river discharge into the Cartagena Bay, Caribbean Colombia: capacity building to mitigate sources of upstream runoff and associated risks of pollution
PI: Juan D. Restrepo, Universidad EAFIT
U.S. Partner: Robert Brakenridge, Dartmouth Flood Observatory (DFO), CSDMS, INSTAAR, University of Colorado

Supplemental Project Objective: These researchers will organize a joint effort between the supported DFO-EAFIT PEER project and the project “Mapping of Flood Events and Estimation of River Flow for Latin America and the Caribbean,” which is a collaborative activity by DFO and the GeoSUR Program, The DFO-GeoSUR project has produced a display platform of data called the Surface Water Record for Latin America and the Caribbean. End users are now able to access geospatial information through a web portal that includes not only data on the extent of current floods but also an annual record of maximum flood extents from 2000 to the present. Additionally, many manmade reservoirs show significant water area variation at this scale, and the historical based data are being used to characterize reservoir operations and potentially to monitor water storage opportunities. Meanwhile, the DFO-EAFIT PEER project has obtained satellite river discharge data for the Magdalena River system and constructed daily river flow series dating back to 1998. By joining the two efforts and therefore the different water related data products, as well as the results and experiences from both projects, the convening workshop will bring together selected stakeholders, decision makers, and end users from Colombia and Latin America to better understand how they can use the DFO platform or include some of the DFO data directly into their local GIS and decision making analyses.

Colombia - Project 2-487: Integrated humanitarian logistics system for developing countries
PI: Victor Cantillo, Universidad del Norte
U.S. Partner: José Holguin Veras, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Supplemental Project Objective: The PI and his team will train Colombian government and NGO staff in charge of disaster preparedness, mitigation, and response on policies that ensure humanitarian assistance in areas with high levels of disaster risk based on the results of  the research they completed during their PEER project. The activities will be focused on the communities exposed to floods in the Colombian Caribbean Region. In addition, the team will develop a collaborative work plan with municipal and provincial authorities in order to introduce the recommended policies in their strategic planning and investment process in preparation for potential disasters.

Kenya - Project 2-349: Derailing witchweed (Striga) virulence in rice to achieve durable and broad-spectrum resistance
PI: Steven Runo, Kenyatta University
U.S. Partner: Mike P. Timko, University of Virginia

Supplemental Project Objective: The main objective is to develop strategies for integrating wild sorghum in agricultural and conservation systems in Kenya in order to avert crop losses due to Striga parasitism. The team plans to hold a workshop to disseminate the potential of wild sorghum as a source of Striga resistance. Secondly, they plan to carry out trainings and workshops on Striga control and management, as well as establish demonstration fields for the conservation and use of sorghum wild relatives. 

Kenya - Project 3-210: Development and implementation of a solar PV outreach training module for capacity building in East Africa

PI: Izael Da Silva, Strathmore University
U.S. Partner: Benjamin L. Ruddell, Arizona State University

Supplemental Project Objective: This supplemental activity will feature four impact-focused workshops based on the findings of the original PEER project. Each workshop will have a unique theme, including dissemination of findings, stakeholder engagement, regulation and education review, and marketing and management. In carrying out their original project, the PI and his colleagues observed that there was little participation by stakeholders in the training of solar PV technicians, hence the need to keep them engaged. The proposed stakeholder workshop will inform stakeholders of the availability of training facilities and technicians within the various counties and get feedback to  guide improvement of the technician training. It is anticipated that this will enhance the pipeline of potential trainees and increase job opportunities for technicians.

Kenya - Project H1-175: Impact of PRONTO training in emergency obstetric and newborn care on 24-hour neonatal mortality
PI: Onesmus Gachuno, University of Nairobi
U.S. Partner: James Kiarie, University of Nairobi

Supplemental Project Objective: The two supplement objectives are (1) to disseminate findings from the original PEER study to stakeholders and policy makers at the national and county levels and (2) to advocate for the adoption of PRONTO Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care (EmONC) simulation and team training into in-service reproductive health programs at the national and/or county level. The team will present its findings at an established conference and subsequently will perform a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis regarding reproductive health policies and training curricula at the national and county levels. The research team also plans to develop an operational framework for the integration and implementation of PRONTO training.

India - Project 4-216: The Banni Grasslands in a time of change: ecological and socioeconomic resilience in a coupled human-natural system
PI: Ankila Hiremath, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE)
USDA Forest Service Collaborator: Susan Cordell, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry

Supplemental Project Objective: The team will develop a user-friendly decision support tool to allow stakeholders to test out various “what if” situations incorporating the variables affecting the arid Banni grassland region of India, including changes in rainfall, grassland productivity, livestock population, prevalence of Prosopis juliflora, local aspirations, and views on land ownership and management. The team will also hold workshops to test the tool and identify effective management practices, disseminate their findings, and open a broader discussion of the region’s future under climate change.

Indonesia - Project 3-147: Tsunami waves impacts on coastal morphological changes based on sediment transport numerical simulations
PI: Syamsidik, Tsunami and Disaster Mitigation Research Center, Syiah Kuala University
U.S. Partner: Philip L-F. Liu, Cornell University

Supplemental Project Objective: The team will share lessons learned from the 2004 tsunami and findings from their now-completed PEER Cycle 3 project with counterparts in Timor-Leste, who are far behind in their technical capabilities. The PI and his colleagues will also help their Timorese partners to develop their skills in order to create their own tsunami inundation map to help in disaster planning efforts. This activity will develop linkages not only with the leading university in Timor-Leste but also with the Timor-Leste National Disaster Management Office, and it leverages a new South-South and Triangular Cooperation project being supported directly by USAID.

Indonesia - Project 3-103: Integrated local emergency response policy improvement and capacity building for advance-early warning system in the face of near-field tsunami risk
PI: Harkunti Pertiwi Rahayu, Institut Teknologi Bandung 
U.S. Partner: Louise K. Comfort, University of Pittsburgh

Supplemental Project Objective: Building on the results of her PEER project focused specifically on Padang and nearby Sumatran localities in order to help the many other disaster-prone cities in Indonesia prepare their own improved tsunami early warning and preparedness plans, the PI will develop a set of user-friendly materials, specifically technical guidelines and a video. The materials will be designed in an easily understandable format for broad dissemination, which should help to reach the maximum audience, far more than could be accommodated in workshops or individual consulting visits.

Indonesia - Project 3-82: Sediment transport evaluation on the Bengawan Solo River (downstream and estuary) to minimize sedimentation and flood combining effect on nearby infrastructure
PI: Ria Asih Aryani Soemitro, Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember
U.S. Partner: Gangfeng Ma, Old Dominion University 

Supplemental Project Objective: To follow up on expressions of interest in collaboration received from officials from the Development Planning Agency of Sumbawa District and researchers at the Universitas Teknologi Sumbawa, the PI and her team will organize further meetings, workshops, and site visits to offer technical advice regarding sites in the district that have been affected by or are prone to flood-related damage. The team will also collaborate on a pilot project regarding the light river embankment system at its study site on the Bengawan Solo River.

Uzbekistan - Project 4-407: Use of non-conventional agricultural water resources to strengthen water and food security in the transboundary watersheds of the Amu Darya River Basin (UNCAWR)
PI: Kristina Toderich, International Center for Biosaline Agriculture
U.S. Partner: Robert Nowak, University of Nevada, Reno

Supplemental Project Objective: The PI and her colleagues will conduct a workshop to disseminate information to policymakers and to draft policy recommendations on the use of non-conventional water resources based on evidence acquired through their work on this PEER project. The topic of the meeting, "Water and food security and agricultural production," specifically addresses the complex relationship between water quality, agriculture, and food security. Being conducted under the auspices of the Government of Uzbekistan, this regional multi-stakeholders meeting can make a major contribution to the country's efforts to develop a regional water management strategy and policy framework on water reuse, water desalinization, hydrothermal water use, natural polluted water, and related issues. Special focus will be given to innovations in water policy and governance to engage stakeholders in solving complex problems in the Central Asian Rivers Basin.

Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam - Project 1-243: Assessment of impacts of the emission reduction measures of short-lived climate forcers on air quality and climate in Southeast Asia
PI: Nguyen Thi Kim Oanh, Asian Institute of Technology; with co-PIs Hoang Xuan Co, Hanoi University of Sciences Vietnam National University; Asep Sofyan, Institute of Technology Bandung; and Nguyen Tri Quang Hung, Nong Lam University
U.S. Partner:  Philip Hopke, Clarkson University

Supplemental Project Objective: As a side project associated with their work on their completed PEER Cycle 1 project, the PI and her team had received other funding to develop a technology for turning roped rice straw into pellets that could be burned in gasifier cookstoves. This would provide an alternative use for rice straw so that farmers would not just burn it in their fields. It would also provide economic/livelihoods benefits for those who would produce the pellets, as well as health benefits for people in the country and the entire region. The new technology acceleration supplement being provided through PEER will allow the team to improve the pelletizing machine as a prelude to mass production, test selected pellet/stove systems, collaborate with a Vietnamese company to create a prototype and mass production model, work to build farmers’ capacity to adapt to the technology, and explore a business model for sustainable mass production. 

Evidence to Action Supplement Recipients 2016

Ethiopia - Project 2-333: Development and field testing of high-performance aluminium oxide-based technologies for fluoride removal in the Ethiopian Rift Valley
PI: Feleke Zewge Beshah, Addis Ababa University
U.S. Partner: David Sabatini, University of Oklahoma

Supplemental Project Objective: The researchers will develop a concise strategy for scaling up the fluoride removal technologies studied under their PEER project in collaboration with relevant stakeholders (e.g., the National Fluorosis Mitigation Project Office, ministries, regional water bureaus, and representatives from water committees, multilateral organizations, and potential donors). The strategy will include a plan for testing the scale-up process, evaluating all existing water defluoridation technologies, developing a business plan and quality control and quality assurance mechanism, and outlining potential environmental impacts and mitigation measures. A workshop with all key stakeholders will be convened to disseminate the results.

Ethiopia - Project 1-289: Reducing soil loss through effective soil and water conservation practices using hydrologic considerations and farmers’ participation in Blue Nile Basin
PI: Seifu Tilahun, Bahir Dar University
U.S. Partner: Christopher Barrett, Cornell University

Supplemental Project Objective: The PI and his team will disseminate their PEER project research findings by engaging farmers and policymakers. Farmers from areas affected by gully erosion will be brought to watershed sites that successfully implemented gully rehabilitation, where training will be given in community mobilization and rehabilitation design. Two workshops will be convened to discuss study results: a hands-on workshop near the Birr Watershed site for mid-level decision makers and farmers, including field visits and discussion of good practices, and a second workshop in Addis Ababa for high-level policy makers to disseminate research results on effective soil conservation methods. In both workshops, the organizers will present community findings and propose recommendations to improve practices.

India - Project 2-61: Targeting low-arsenic and low-fluoride groundwater to reduce exposure in rural Punjab, India
PI: Chander Kumar Singh, TERI University; with co-PIs Saumitra Mukherjee, Jawaharlal Nehru University; Umesh Kumar Garg, Adesh Institute of Engineering and Technology; and Manpreet Singh Bhatti, Guru Nanak Dev University
U.S. Partner: Alexander Van Geen, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University

Supplemental Project Objective: This group will disseminate their PEER project findings and recommendations concerning geogenic contamination of groundwater through meetings with government representatives and other stakeholders. Visits will be conducted in villages heavily affected by high As, F, and NO3 levels to communicate the status of well contamination to households and local governments. Health impacts will be illustrated using poster-sized maps to be placed in the affected villages. Dr. Singh and his team will organize a national workshop to propose interventions and a policy framework for the affected regions in Punjab. They will also prepare a final report with policy recommendations to the government of Punjab, the Arsenic Task Force of the Indian federal government, and other government stakeholders. 

Indonesia - Project 3-21: CLEAN project: converting municipal solid waste leachate into energy
PI: Wiratni Budhijanto, Universitas Gadjah Mada
U.S. Partner: Largus T. Angenent, Cornell University

Supplemental Project Objective: The focus of this supplemental activity is development of a pilot model to commercialize the waste treatment and biogas production technology developed in the course of the original PEER project. With support from a professional business consultant, Dr. Wiratni and her team will establish a realistic business plan, define the macro and micro environments of the business, develop business scenarios, calculate the potential revenue stream, and define key partners, resources, and activities. Technical focus group discussions with prospective users of the technology will be organized. This pilot project is anticipated to serve as a model for other university and industry collaborations and is anticipated to support sustainable economic growth based on the country’s local resources.

Lebanon - Project 1-91: Towards a better assessment and management of wildfire risk in the wildland-urban interface in Lebanon: gaining from the US experience
PI: George Mitri, University of Balamand
U.S. Partner: David McWethy, Montana State University

Supplemental Project Objective: The team will increase fire danger preparedness in vulnerable areas in Lebanon by enhancing the Fire Lab tool capacity through design and implementation of the advanced fire danger index, to be used in combination with the forecasted fire weather index. Dr. Mitri and his colleagues will conduct an inventory of fire danger warning data and produce daily reports. They will organize a national workshop to present the advanced fire danger warning system within the Fire Lab to end users, including ministries, municipalities, national and local committees, and research centers, among others. The developed system will also be presented at an international conference.

Mozambique - Project H1-64: Reducing loss-to-follow-up among HIV-exposed infants in central Mozambique
PI: Lucia da Costa Vieira, Beira Operations Research Center (CIOB) 
U.S. Partner: James Pfeiffer, University of Washington 

Supplemental Project Objective: The researchers will disseminate their PEER Health project findings to influence national efforts of improving pediatric HIV care. A workshop will be held to share research results with key stakeholders from Sofala and Manica provinces; findings will be presented at high-level regional and national health meetings. This project has the potential to influence current practices by demonstrating that intensified training of medical personnel, improved patient tracking, proactive follow up of defaulters, and integration of services strengthen the cascade of care and reduce the proportion of HIV-exposed infants lost to follow up.

Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam - Project 1-243: Assessment of impacts of the emission reduction measures of short-lived climate forcers on air quality and climate in Southeast Asia
PI: Nguyen Thi Kim Oanh, Asian Institute of Technology; with co-PIs Hoang Xuan Co, Hanoi University of Sciences Vietnam National University; Asep Sofyan, Institute of Technology Bandung; and Nguyen Tri Quang Hung, Nong Lam University
U.S. Partner:  Philip Hopke, Clarkson University

Supplemental Project Objective: In collaboration with her co-PIs, Dr. Kim Oanh will disseminate the PEER project’s findings in a three-day regional workshop focused on Short-Lived Climate Pollutant (SLCP) emission reduction measures in Southeast Asia (SEA). The workshop will take place at AIT and will aim to impact policy and decision making processes related to air quality management and climate change mitigation. The target audience will be policy makers, scientists from universities and research institutes, farmer representatives from SEA countries (Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam), as well as officials from ASEAN regional bodies. National policy on air pollution and climate change mitigation strategy in the ASEAN region will be discussed and policy recommendations for each SEA country and the ASEAN region will be proposed.

Vietnam - Project 2-7: Conservation genetics for improved biodiversity and resource management in a changing Mekong Delta
PI: Dang Thuy Binh, Nha Trang University
U.S. Partner: Kent E. Carpenter, Old Dominion University

Supplemental Project Objective: The PI and her group will conduct a workshop at Can Tho University to synthesize the results of advanced genomic research on conservation and resource management in the Mekong River Basin (MRB) and produce a TV show highlighting the importance of conservation in the MRB. The workshop will bring together leading scientists from the United States and MRB. The video, which will address the importance of USAID-supported research, is anticipated to be memorable and easy to understand for general audiences and capture the attention of policy makers who can influence the enactment of effective strategies to reduce the risks of resource depletion and biodiversity loss.

West Bank-Gaza - Project 2-347: Rainwater harvesting analysis using water harvesting evaluation tool (WHEAT)
PI: Issam A. Al-Khatib, Birzeit University
U.S. Partners: Defne S. Apul, University of Toledo, and Steve Burian, University of Utah

Supplemental Project Objective: This activity should help reduce the occurrence of water-related diseases in the West Bank by developing and distributing guidelines in Arabic on the management of rain water harvesting (RWH) supply systems. Dr. Al-Khatib and his colleagues will conduct ten training workshops in different West Bank provinces on technical and managerial aspects of RWH, water treatment, water-related disease prevention, and personal hygiene. The activity will increase the awareness of the community and local decision makers regarding water optimization, common RWH systems in Palestine, selection of appropriate RWH technology, maintenance and cleaning supply, storage methods, contaminants in RWH systems, treatment and basic construction, installation, operation and maintenance of rooftop and surface catchments, and the water-sanitation-health relationship.