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Grad Students 2020

PEER is a competitive awards program that invites researchers in developing countries with a USAID presence to apply for funds to support research and capacity building activities on topics of importance to USAID. The projects funded under this special call for proposals must be conducted by graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, working in close partnership with university-based research mentors. Through PEER, the Lab leverages investments, data and methodologies funded by USAID and other USG-supported agencies in order to enhance evaluation and learning, which in turn can lead to improved development programming.

USAID’s development approach is committed to building local capacity on the Journey to Self Reliance. This includes fostering locally-driven research capacity and training the next generation of practitioners. This PEER funding opportunity solicited applications from research mentors based at universities in the countries listed below for small, high-quality, one-year awards to support graduate students whose research will rapidly investigate critical gaps in the land and resource governance sectors in Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Tanzania, or Zambia. In the review and selection process, priority was given to research topics capable of rapidly and rigorously generating data for informing policies and USAID programs. On May 15, 2020, PEER announced the selection of six outstanding projects for funding, which were selected from among the 36 proposals received for the call. Below is a list of the new projects and their participants, with links on the project titles leading to pages with additional details on the proposed work. Updates will be posted on those pages as the projects move forward.


Ethiopia - Project 2: Effects of formalizing customary land tenure systems on pastoral livelihoods and resilience to climate change in Borana and Guji Zones, Oromia Regional State, Southern Ethiopia (FOCULATE)
Mentor: Dong-Gill Kim, Wondo Genet College of Forestry and Natural Resources, Hawassa University
US Partner: Paul Evangelista, Colorado State University
Mentee: Tesfaye Dejene

Ethiopia - Project 4: Sustainability of the land registration information system in Ethiopia: Levers for access to credit and sustainable landscape investment
Mentor: Feyera Wakjira, Addis Ababa University
Mentee: Shewakena Abab

Ghana - Project 1: An assessment of land governance and its effects on socio-economic empowerment of gender
Mentor: Benjamin Doe, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi
Mentee: Valentina Nyame

Tanzania - Project 3: Essays on land governance and agricultural productivity in Tanzania

Mentor: Onesmo Selejio, University of Dar es Salaam
Mentee: Fatma Ibrahim

Tanzania - Project 5: Land tenure in Tanzania: Economic loss experienced from exclusion of women and youth in land security
Mentor: Emmanuel Mwang'onda, Institute of Rural Development Planning
US Partner: Jessica Rudder, University of California, Davis
Mentee: Deodatus Lubinga

Zambia - Project 6: Effects of land rights formalization on land tenure security and land investments in informal and rural areas of Zambia: Evidence from Lusaka and Chipata, Zambia
Mentor: Bridget Bwalya Umar, University of Zambia
Mentee: Lawrence Siloka