Ongoing projects

The multidimensional impact of rural and urban electrification: economic development, security and conservation? Follow-up research in Eastern Congo. 01/01/2021 - 31/12/2024

Abstract

We measure the impact of electricity provision on economic development, security and conservation. Our case study focuses on rural and urban communities nearby Virunga National Park, in DR Congo. Impoverished by armed conflict, the communities complement their livelihoods with the park's resources to make ends meet. These resources are also illicitly exploited by several armed groups that have their hideouts within the park's boundaries. The electricity rollout is implemented by Virunga Alliance. According to their theory of change, electrification will spur development, which will in turn reduce people's reliance on the park's resources and their support for rebel groups. The theory of change finds support in the literature, but needs further testing. To learn about the causal effect of electrification, we designed an impact evaluation that compares time trends in socio-economic development, conservation and security across treatment and control localities. Treatment localities are being connected in the period 2019-2020; control localities only at a later stage. We are currently halfway the baseline data collection in treatment and control localities before the onset of electrification. The final baseline data will contain census information on about 72,000 households and 3,200 firms, and a detailed structured survey among a stratified random sample of 2,400 households and 800 firms. We are seeking to fund follow-up research in order to complete the impact evaluation.

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Project website

ePEStemology: Towards a consolidation of social and ecological integrity for conservation and development in Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES). 01/01/2021 - 31/12/2023

Abstract

Over the past 15 years, payments for ecosystem services (PES) have become a leading tool to advance both conservation and sustainable livelihood transitions by offering economic incentives to protect soils, water, sequester carbon, and protect biodiversity. While premised as a market-based transaction, PES design and implementation is shaped by diverging value frameworks predicated on the intersection between contextually-specific socio-cultural relations, historical asymmetric relations of power in the governance of land and resources, emergent ecological processes, and ongoing economic land-use drivers. This research project will be the first attempt to systematically compile all peer-reviewed literature on PES research, resulting in the "ePEStemology" database to identify plural epistemologies in assessing PES success or failure. It will complement this database with in-depth case studies in Québec (Canada) and Nicaragua (building on the long-term development cooperation of the Flemish host institution) as two differing agrarian contexts experimenting with PES for more than 10 years. Research will be grounded in a transformative paradigm prioritizing social and environmental justice by holding scholars, practitioners, and research participants accountable to how knowledge is co-generated. The project also aims to initiate a global consortium, building off the database to foster transdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration on existing conservation projects around the world.

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Health and environment in Congo's artisanal mines: a participatory action project. 01/01/2021 - 31/12/2021

Abstract

Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) accounts for approximately one fifth of global mine production and sustains tens of millions of livelihoods. At the same time, it is associated with a range of detrimental environmental and health impacts. For instance, ASGM is linked to deforestation, mercury pollution, respiratory diseases, and mine accidents such as tunnel collapses, asphyxiation, drowning and landslides. Since about six years I am codirector of CEGEMI, the Expertise Center on Mining Governance at the Catholic University of Bukavu in DRC's South Kivu province. Previous research by CEGEMI members has documented some of the abovementioned health and environmental effects. Yet despite these risks, hundreds of thousands of people continue working and living in the mines, as they (in)directly depend on them for their livelihoods. Nevertheless, they are likely to suffer from the consequences of deforestation, water, dust pollution and soil degradation in the long run. What remains little understood, however, is whether the persistence of such harmful practices is mostly a matter of limited information, of limited resources (financial, material), of prioritization (trade-off between short-term economic gain and long-term gains), of structurally unequal power relations, of bad governance or misguided government policies, or due to something else. As long as this is insufficiently understood, all proposed solutions risk to either not be adapted to the context, or not be accepted by local populations (as happened in the case of the recent Ebola outbreak). Building on this and together with a CEGEMI team, I aim to find out how artisanal miners and local communities, but also other supply chain actors and (non-)governmental organizations can be actively involved in sensitization and adoption of better mining practices. To this end, we will set up a participatory action research in one selected mine, and try to learn from this experience to set up similar projects in other mines in the future.

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Research team(s)

Ecofilm Congo: Practices of environmental relations through media-activism in Goma, DR Congo. 01/01/2021 - 31/12/2021

Abstract

Increasingly, environmental films from the Global South – circulating everywhere from small screens to major film festivals – have proved to be empowering, as they are used as tools for advocacy. However, despite their potential to raise global awareness, they remain unexamined in academia. Rethinking the environmental crisis from within the humanities and social sciences needs to include experience-based perspectives from the Global South. My project takes the DR Congo as a case-in-point. How does environmental filmmaking from the DR Congo expose abuses and reflect upon the uneven distribution of the environmental crisis? In this project, I will research their alternative understandings of the causes of the crisis and how they articulate worldviews as responses to it. To do this, I will implement decolonial perspectives on environmental humanities within film studies and acquire innovative research skills.

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Research team(s)

Defying the 'Plantationocene': Exploring the ways a 'Green Economy' can lead to socio-ecological transformation. 01/11/2020 - 31/12/2023

Abstract

In response to growing concern on the detrimental impacts that modern society is having on the earth's life support systems, scholars have begun adopting the 'Anthropocene' concept referring to the geological epoch of humanity's physical imprint on the planet. In response, policy-makers have sought to transition to a 'green economy' in which environmental problems are addressed through economic growth based around technological improvements in material and energy efficiency and the internalization of environmental values through market-based solutions. However, social scientists have been quick to point out the historically uneven political and economic systems, along classed, racialized, and gendered lines, which shape how the Anthropocene gets reproduced in practice. By adopting the recent conceptualization of the 'Plantationocene', this research explores the way 'green economy' strategies, such as carbon and biodiversity offsetting and ecotourism, are still informed by the disciplining power of historical plantation logics, rooted in efficiency, calculability, predictability, and controllability. Through the use of multi-disciplinary methods and two case studies in Indonesia and India, this study aims to advance crucial insights on how plantation logics are reinforced or defied through these strategies in responding to dynamic and uncertain socio-ecological conditions. As such, this research lies at the heart of clarifying important debates within sustainability science. GENERAL - 1

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One for all and all for cash? An inquiry into sustainable social network and collective action effects of cash transfers in rural Uganda. 01/10/2020 - 30/09/2024

Abstract

Cash transfers are a common component of social security and poverty reduction policies. To date, positive effects have been registered on expenditures, investments and children's education and health outcomes while the evidence base as regards savings and production effects is somewhat smaller and less consistent. Drawing on intrahousehold allocation literature and the assumption that women tend to spend more on children's human capital and public goods, cash transfers are generally allocated to women in the household. However, while the expectation is that his might lower gender-based inequalities and increase women's empowerment, findings are mixed so far. While research on the topic is booming, there are gaps in the evidence base which we seek to address: (1) The scope of existing research has centred on individual and household effects. We broaden the scope to the community level by investigating the effects on social cohesion and networks, trust and collective action. Focusing on changes at the collective level is critical because social cohesion, in itself, is a desirable outcome and also a means to generate the public goods (e.g. schools, water, roads) needed to sustainably lift citizens out of poverty. Moving beyond the individual and intra-household level might also help us to understand the mixed effects of cash transfer interventions on gender equality, as gendered effects are often mediated through changes (or lack thereof) at the collective level. (2) There has been little attention paid to long term effects, something our study wants to correct by explicitly investigating to what extent cash transfer effects, both at household and individual level (first order & second & third order effects) and at collective level are sustainable after program closure. Drawing upon insights of social sciences and development studies, we hypothesize likely effects that will materialize and test hypotheses in rural western Uganda using a cross-sectional & longitudinal design and mixed methods approach. Our quasi-experimental impact study is linked to a recently finalized two-year experiment of universal unconditional mobile cash transfer (UCT) implemented by the Eight project in western Uganda (http://www.eight.world). Two rounds of data collection using a multitude of data collection tools (including conventional survey, network survey and focus groups) have been done so far and will be (partial) input for the currently proposed study. In addition to a substantive contribution, our study is also methodologically innovative as it applies social network analysis (SNA) to analyze cash transfer effects on social interaction patterns and structures, something which has, to the best of our knowledge, not been done before. Given the widespread use of cash transfers and the existing gaps in the evidence base, our study is obviously not only interesting for an academic audience but also for policy makers and practitioners. As to trigger the policy impact of our research, findings will be synthesized through infographics, policy briefs and will be presented during (policy) seminars and the European Development Days. Eight's substantial media-coverage (see http://www.eight.world for an overview), which is likely to get a new boost in the future as a documentary is in the making, also opens opportunities to reach a broader audience with vulgarized research findings, something which is increasingly high on the academic agenda. Also tailor-made feedback to local communities and duty bearers is part and parcel of the outreach plan.

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Research team(s)

Socio-ecological resilience: a new perspective for artisanal and small-scale mining communities? 01/10/2020 - 30/09/2022

Abstract

This research project explores whether the concept socio-ecological resilience can further our empirical and conceptual understanding of changes in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) communities. It has three main objectives that will address gaps in the ASM literature: 1) to improve our understanding of the internal structures, actors and dynamics of ASM communities; 2) to develop a conceptual framework to understand the interacting socio-ecological systems that surround ASM communities, by focusing on key trends transforming ASM; 3) to contribute to the literature on resilience by exploring the relationship between resilience at the community level and at the socio-ecological system level. It will use the conceptual framework of socio-ecological resilience combined with perspectives from political ecology to examine case studies – namely, two different ASM communities in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In doing so, it aims to provide more holistic perspective of the role of ASM as a livelihood strategy. Moreover, the knowledge generated could be used to better inform policies and interventions to mitigate the problems that have for so long afflicted ASM communities. The findings will be published through four articles in high-impact academic journals: one article for each of my three research objectives; and a fourth to discuss the potential for socio-ecological resilience to be combined with perspectives from political ecology.

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Research team(s)

Demobilising Mindsets: Ideas and Ideology after War. A Case Study on Rwandan FDLR Rebels. 01/10/2020 - 30/09/2022

Abstract

Since 2001 several thousand Rwandan FDLR rebels (Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda), active in the east of the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo), have been demobilised and repatriated to Rwanda. The FDLR rebels that emerged in the year 2000 from the Hutu refugee community in DRC are known to foster a strong "Hutu" ideology, rooted in the ideational tradition of pre-genocide Rwanda. It revolves around ethnic antagonism and emphasizes a deeply pronounced Hutu victimisation by the Tutsi. This ideology stands diametrically opposed to the one the current, Tutsi-dominated RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front) government under President Paul Kagame has established and imposed in post-genocide Rwanda. By returning to Rwanda, the FDLR members thus not only cross a national border, but an ideological one as well. Our research aims to understand how demobilised and repatriated FDLR members navigate between these "old" and "new" ideational frameworks at work in Rwanda's past and present. We will study whether, how and why the exposure to the "new" ideology has changed – reversed, weakened or reinforced – "old" ideas, beliefs and mindsets. In this way, we aim to contribute to the academic literature on post-genocide Rwanda from a bottom-up perspective; to push the theoretical understanding of the role of ideology in and after violent conflict; and to develop appropriate research approaches and techniques to study the demobilization of mindsets.

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Research team(s)

Enhancing knowledge of the intersection between conservation, environmental change and armed conflict: policy lessons from eastern DRC. 01/10/2020 - 30/11/2021

Abstract

While the negative effects of armed conflict on the environment and nature conservation are well documented, we have a limited understanding of how environmental change and conservation shape armed mobilization. Armed actors often exploit natural resources in protected areas. They also capitalize on park-people conflicts and struggles around natural resources that may enmesh with communal conflict. Environmental changes can exacerbate these conflicts and intensify armed mobilization. This creates complex feedback loops as more armed conflict can lead to further environmental degradation. This project aims to improve our understanding of the relations between conservation, armed conflict and environmental change by studying two protected areas in eastern DRC. The resulting knowledge will inform policies and programming for environmental peacebuilding (theme 1), biodiversity conservation, and natural resources governance (theme 2). The project will also provide insights into dynamics of social inclusion and exclusion (theme 3).

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Research team(s)

Statebuilding support to fragile states. The interplay between European engagement and domestic legitimation during the 2015 electoral cycle in Burundi: a temporal analysis. 01/10/2020 - 30/09/2021

Abstract

Over the past two decades, statebuilding has emerged as a central yet contested concept of international engagement with fragile states, with new questions arising under the current global rise of authoritarianism. To remain in power, what are the mechanisms authoritarian regimes rely on to legitimate themselves? And what is the nature of interplay between these legitimation mechanisms and international engagement? These are the questions this research aims to answer, through exploratory within-case analysis. The research focusses on European statebuilding support to Burundi throughout the 2015 elections. While these elections sparked a legitimacy crisis, they did not prevent further consolidation of authoritarian rule. The applicant's preliminary findings point towards distinct stages of interplay between European engagement and domestic legitimation, following a shift from support to contestation of the incumbent regime. This shift, in turn, triggered notable changes in domestic legitimation, revealing both clear yet unexpected regime agency and the tactical use of time and temporality. Two provisional conclusions can be drawn from this. First, European actors have dealt inadequately with the legitimacy dimension of state fragility, and second, through the interplay with domestic legitimation they seem to have contributed to authoritarian regime consolidation. Process tracing, a suited method for inferring causality, will be used to further refine and conclude the analysis. test

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When global threats meet localized practices: Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) vs. recognition and regeneration of ecosystem knowledge in Nicaragua and Guatemala. 01/01/2020 - 31/12/2023

Abstract

Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) has become a dominant paradigm in environmental and climate policies. The approach encourages land users to generate benefits of nature (ecosystem services) on their land through conditional payments from interested consumers (e.g. energy-intensive companies paying for forest conservation). Global climate finance instruments such as voluntary/compulsory carbon markets, the UN programme for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation & Forest Degradation (REDD+), and biodiversity offsetting mechanisms reflect PES' popularity among donors. While appealing, PES also elicits criticism. Practices often impose global neoliberal governance on territories, dispossess land users, retrench existing inequalities, spawn resource struggles and prioritize carbon outputs over biodiversity. Tensions between PES' win-win promises and 'green grabbing' concerns, combined with mounting evidence of ecosystem collapse, begs for critical attention to how global concerns entwine with localized knowledges. Comparing of PES sites in Nicaragua and Guatemala, we study how PES shapes and is shaped by contested understandings of place, power and difference (class, gender, racial/ethnic. This research breaks open bounded or abstracted understanding of both PES and local ecological knowledge, offers insights into how historical geographies condition and rework global policies, and makes visible the multi-scaled processes through which alternatives emerge and gain traction.

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Understanding the political economy of Congo's civil service remunerations and recruitment system. 01/01/2020 - 31/12/2023

Abstract

Despite an emphasis on strengthening the capacity of the public sector as a key policy component of the state-building approach in fragile states, the issue of public sector remunerations has received little attention. This empirical gap extends beyond the policy realm, as the scholarship dealing with African public governance has also remained silent on this issue. Addressing both gaps, this project explores the functioning of the Democratic Republic of Congo's wage bill and payroll system through an analytical framework building on the ethnographic tradition in the study of 'real governance' and 'negotiated statehood', applied to the back office bureaucracy of the central administration. We will focus on analysing the politics behind the allocation and (re)distribution of the wage bill in the DRC, particularly the system of public sector remunerations, both in terms of its composition and its sources. We concentrate on the degrees of differentiation across ministries, departments in five ministries targeted by civil service reform, while also examining the intersection of remunerations with ongoing policy reforms. In so doing, we address the empirical gap within the literature on African governance by providing an in-depth exploration of the system of public sector remunerations and recruitment processes in Congo's central bureaucracy, while also providing insights on the development implications that this system carries for international actors.

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Engaging 'workforce' and 'water': towards more sustainable engagements around small-scale gold production in southern Peru. 01/01/2020 - 31/12/2021

Abstract

Peru is the sixth largest producer of gold in the world (USGS 2017). At least 15% of Peruvian gold is produced through small-scale, informal operations – more than half of which are in located in the region of Puno. Mining is undoubtedly one of the most important livelihood activities in the region; yet it comes at a considerable socio-economic and socio-environmental cost. This project aims to address these issues by developing knowledge that will promote a more sustainable, more inclusive and socially just ASGM sector. We will achieve this aim by delivering on two objectives. Firstly, we will improve the co-creation of critical knowledge about the process of gold production, both in terms of how the activity is embedded in local communities (by focussing on 'workforce') and its impact on the surround environment (by focussing on 'water'). Knowledge will be co-created by academic and non-academic stakeholders so as to ensure that the work has practical as well as academic value. Secondly, we will develop a mechanism to ensure knowledge is effectively shared among all relevant stakeholders.

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Research team(s)

Transformative Heritage: politics, peacebuilding and digital restitution of cultural heritage in contemporary Northeast DR Congo (AFRISURGE). 15/12/2019 - 30/06/2025

Abstract

This project aspires to a scientific revision of contemporary African political cultures, adopting a non-Eurocentric and interdisciplinary approach. Beyond making new in-depth knowledge available to aid and peacebuilding organisations, it seeks to have a direct impact on the well-being of the communities being studied through the method of digital restitution of cultural heritage. The underlying premise is that knowledge of one's cultural history constitutes a cultural capital that is a source of self-esteem and contributes to societal commitment and cohesion. The project is built on a cross-pollination of three complementary strands of research. The first is a political and development science investigation of the resurgence of customary authorities in contemporary DRCongo. This will take seriously the full spectrum of local expressions on the matter, to acquire a better understanding of the region's historically-rooted political culture and its underlying cultural logic. The second consists of research on ritual objects and their provenance, to shed new light on customary authority and to prepare for digital restitutions. The third component will explore the transformative potential of efforts to reconnect historically dispossessed 'source communities' with their material cultural heritage. The digital restitution will be guided by object provenance research, by an assessment of existing digital infrastructures in the region, and by a thorough consultation with (local) stakeholders to determine what is desirable and feasible.

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Research team(s)

Research Stay as 'Visiting Scholar' at Columbia University (USA). 01/12/2019 - 01/12/2021

Abstract

This stay as a Visiting Research Scholar at Columbia's Department of Anthropology is an entire part of my PhD research project, training and research career development. Its added scientific value is threefold. First, under the supervision/mentorship of Prof. Paige West, I will deepen my data analysis by better integrating my empirical findings with conceptual frameworks from anthropology and ontological/epistemological questions. Second, I will collect some additional empirical data on the interface between science and technology and forest politics. I will carry out in-depth interviews with geospatial experts from the Global Forest Watch project (based at University of Maryland and World Resource Institute in Washington) and with other important stakeholders based in the USA. It will also serve as an exploratory research for building a future research project. Finally, with its essential interdisciplinary character, American academia will challenge me to further develop critical and innovative thinking, as well as better communicate my expertise and exchange ideas through participation in seminars at the Anthropology Department and other scientific events at Columbia University.

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Research team(s)

The multidimensional impact of rural and urban electrification: economic development, security and conservation? Evidence from Eastern Congo. 01/10/2019 - 30/09/2023

Abstract

We measure the impact of electricity provision on economic development, security and conservation. Our case study focuses on rural and urban communities nearby Virunga National Park, in North-Kivu, DR Congo. Impoverished by two decades of armed conflict, the communities complement their livelihoods with the park's resources to make ends meet. These resources are also illicitly exploited by at least eight armed groups that have their hide-outs within the park's boundaries. The electricity roll-out is implemented by Virunga Alliance, a public-private partnership that seeks to bring about security and conservation through development. According to Virunga's theory of change, electrification will spur development, which will in turn reduce people's reliance on the park's resources as well as their support for, and participation in, rebel groups. The theory of change finds support in the literature, but needs further testing. To learn about the causal effect of electrification, we designed an impact evaluation that exploits the gradual roll-out of electricity, in combination with a difference-in-differences estimation. The treatment localities will be connected in the period 2019-2020; the control localities only at a later stage.

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Research team(s)

Project website

To the ResQ: combining realist synthesis and qualitative comparative analysis Developing a theory of performance-based financing. 01/10/2019 - 30/09/2022

Abstract

Million-dollar projects are implemented with little understanding. Indeed, the number of performance-based financing (PBF) interventions in the health sectors of low and middle-income countries has risen sharply over the last two decades. Yet, in spite of many interesting studies, we lack a comprehensive theory explaining how PBF interventions work. The main reasons are the multi-component nature of PBF (including financial incentives, increased supervision and new management tools), the various implementation contexts, and the different implementation modalities. This complexity can only be tackled by complexity-sensitive methodologies. This ResQ-study sets out to develop a multimethod approach that combines two such methods: realist synthesis (RS) and qualitative comparative analysis (QCA). RS is a literature review method that focuses on the generative mechanisms underlying interventions and the conditions under which they are triggered (in contrast to the successionist approach). QCA is a technique that uses Boolean logic to discover the necessary and sufficient conditions for a certain outcome to occur, in this case the triggering of a mechanism. The research project uses the multimethod approach to investigate the mechanisms of PBF, to create an evidence-based theory of PBF and to simultaneously further develop the new multimethod approach. This will lead to a better understanding of PBF and the health sector in general, and will expand the innovative methods toolbox.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The multidimensional impact of rural and urban electrification: economic development, security and conservation? Evidence from Eastern Congo. 01/10/2019 - 30/09/2022

Abstract

We measure the impact of electricity provision on economic development, security and conservation. Our case study focuses on rural and urban communities nearby Virunga National Park, in North-Kivu, DR Congo. Impoverished by two decades of armed conflict, the communities complement their livelihoods with the park's resources to make ends meet. These resources are also illicitly exploited by at least eight armed groups that have their hide-outs within the park's boundaries. The electricity roll-out is implemented by Virunga Alliance, a public-private partnership that seeks to bring about security and conservation through development. According to Virunga's theory of change, electrification will spur development, which will in turn reduce people's reliance on the park's resources as well as their support for, and participation in, rebel groups. The theory of change finds support in the literature, but needs further testing. To learn about the causal effect of electrification, we designed an impact evaluation that exploits the gradual roll-out of electricity, in combination with a difference-in-differences estimation. The treatment localities will be connected in the period 2019-2020; the control localities only at a later stage.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Project website

Perceptions of the Self and the Other in contemporary Burundi. The salience of ethnicity in everyday interactions in a post-transition context. 01/10/2019 - 30/09/2021

Abstract

Since independence (1962), the 'ethnic' conflict between Hutu and Tutsi in Burundi led to thousands of deaths on both sides. In 2000, the signature of the Arusha peace agreement inaugurated a transition period towards peace and democracy. Thanks to the agreement, political competition was de-ethnicized, and political parties no longer represented a single ethnic group. At the local level, people could progressively return to their occupations. Despite the absence of violence, these people had to deal with the consequences of war and ethnic violence. Given the circumstances of poverty, most of them opted for a peaceful cohabitation with those who perpetrated violence. The results obtained so far have been undermined by the 2015 crisis, which followed President Nkurunziza's unconstitutional bid for the third term. During the crisis, ethnic hatred has been injected in the political discourse, and started circulating in some milieus. Some responsiveness to ethnic appeals still existed. The question is whether, to what extent and how ordinary citizens are responsive to such discourses. Our research aims to understand the meaning and salience of ethnicity in Burundi's contemporary socio-political context. This will contribute to a better understanding of ethnicity, and will illuminate the dynamics of change in the meaning and salience of ethnicity. This will be relevant for scholars and policy-makers concerned with similar dynamics in other post-transition countries.

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Research team(s)

Making refugee integration sustainable: in search of durable relations with host populations in Uganda. 01/01/2019 - 31/12/2022

Abstract

A sustainable relationship between host and refugees is essential to guarantee the social and political stability of countries and regions. Uganda is known to be hosting one of the largest refugee populations in the world. This project aims to contribute to a better understanding and facilitate policy interventions that can ameliorate social relations between hosts and refugees. This will be done by (1) developing innovative research approaches studying conflict trajectories (escalation vs. mediation); (2) structurally improve and strengthen the research capabilities (e.g. methodological skills) at Ugandan partner institution (students, PhDs and staff mem-bers); (3) propel the Southern Partner (MUST) and its staff into a recognized leader regarding high quality re-search on forced displacement; (4) translate findings to policy makers through participation of international and national NGOs and Ugandan authorities (national/local).

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Enhancing good governance through integrated community-based activities (phase II) 01/01/2019 - 31/12/2022

Abstract

This action research specificially focuses on the use of mobility technology in (community-based) monitoring of local public water points and its contribution towards learning and accountability with the final aim to improve (drinking) water service delivery and (health) outcomes. The main research questions are: 1) can ICT enhanced (community based) monitoring improve the existing M&E system in the rural water service sector? More specifically, can it improve the information flow and use for accountability and learning by different actors (water users, technical and political duty bearers at different levels), if so, why and in what way? 2) can ICT enhanced (community based) monitoring contribute to improving rural water services delivery (access, functionality, quality and use), if so, why and in what way? 3) can sharing of information between upstream and downstream water users potentially reduce conflicts among communities, if so, why and in what way? To answer these research questions our action research will use a cross-sectional longitudinal research design. More specifically, we will compare (over time) the effect of the existing system of water monitoring (control) with two slightly different modalities of mobile water monitoring being implemented in highly similar villages of Mvomero district. Data collection will rely upon mixed methods, including conventional survey, social network survey and qualitative data collection (observation, focus group discussions). Social network analysis will e.g. be particularly important in analyzing the (changes) in the characteristics of the information networks and the (changes) of the positions of stakeholders in the network as well as in the use of information by different actors involves (water users, technical staff, duty bearers at different levels). As water quality might also be affected between the collection at the water point and the final consumption of drinking water at home by a variety of environmental and human-based factors, we will also test drinking water quality in a random sample of 100 households. Based on test outcomes, sensitization/prevention activities will be done on water treatment and its effects will be measured and analysed over time. In the analysis of the findings, particular attention will be given to the way in which the effects materialize, and the degree to which (influence) networks are important. Both structural features of networks (e.g. density of the network, degree of centralization, etc.) will be analysed as well as the positions of actors in the networks (and the links with their background characteristics, including gender, educational status, marital status, age, etc.). Insights into how networks might be important in spreading information might be particularly useful for future sensitization/prevention activities.

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Research team(s)

Political ecology of forest resource management: the missing link. 01/01/2019 - 31/12/2021

Abstract

In a context of increasing deforestation and forest reform policies in the Democratic Republic of Congo, this project aims to understand the political and socio-economic aspects of forest resource use and deforestation. Through this political ecology approach, an increased collaboration will be established between three academic institutions (UNIKIS, ISDR-Bukavu and IOB) and two civil society organizations (Tropenbos DRC and Africapacity). This project is part of a research-action approach aimed at strengthening the voices and participation of local and indigenous people in these forest reform processes, and to contribute to better environmental and social justice.

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Research team(s)

Gender and climate change: perception, vulnerability, and agriculture-related adaptation preferences among male and female headed households in Northwest Ethiopia (GCC-PeVAAP). 01/01/2019 - 31/12/2021

Abstract

Recognizing the impacts of climate change, several adaptation initiatives have been implemented in Ethiopia. However, many of the adaptation strategies tend to neglect the existing gendered differences in perceptions, vulnerabilities and adaptation preferences as well as possible intersections of gender with other variables of influence (i.e. intersectionality). This research project will be conducted in drought prone areas of Northwest Ethiopia, aiming at designing evidence-based gender sensitive agriculture related adaptation strategies so as to help in mainstreaming gender in the adaptation process. The project will have two components: i) Diagnosis and participatory designing of gender sensitive adaptation strategies; and ii) Documentation and dissemination of the project outputs to local communities, development practitioners, policy makers and scientific community so as to promote uptake the findings for future intervention, the project will contribute to the elaboration of an innovative methodological approach for analysing the gendered climate change adaptation strategies. It shall serve as a platform for institutional collaborations and contribute to build research capacities of the University of Gondar.

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Ethnicity after mass violence. A study of the nature and transformation of ethnic 'groupness' in Rwanda and Burundi. 01/01/2019 - 31/12/2021

Abstract

Despite the slogan 'never again', the world continues to be plagued by violence that is groupselective and aimed at the extermination of people belonging to certain social categories. This type of mass categorical violence often has an ethnic dimension involving members of majority and minority groups . Popular wisdom seems to be that ethnicity – or the emotional sense of belonging to a specific group and distinction from or even antipathy to outsiders – is the source of this type of violence. This research project aims to empirically demonstrate that this hypothesis is wrong. Instead, based on what is called a constructivist account of ethnicity, the proposed research activities aim to demonstrate that the salience of ethnicity is the outcome of mass categorical violence not its underlying cause. In addition, the research activities aim to verify whether, to what extent and why the salience of ethnicity following mass categorical violence is declining. To do so, the research project will examine 'ways of seeing the world' (cognition) and 'ways of acting in the world' (behavior). The former will be studied by making use of an available and unique database of over 700 life histories from people that experienced mass categorical violence in two case study countries: Rwanda and Burundi. The latter will be examined through the in-depth study of the daily behavior of a number of these individuals carefully selected based on an analysis of the available life history dataset.

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Credit for the Libraries in Social and Human Sciences (Institute of Development Policy and Management). 01/01/2019 - 31/12/2021

Abstract

This project represents a research contract awarded by the University of Antwerp. The supervisor provides the Antwerp University research mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions stipulated by the university.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

A political settlement dataset of the Democratic Republic of Congo. 01/01/2019 - 31/12/2021

Abstract

To what extent do ruling elites, and the coalitions which support them, influence the governance and development of a particular country? Recently, the 'political settlement' analysis has made important advances in understanding these issues, by specifically looking at how power is organized and distributed in society. This analysis has generated great interest, both in academic and policycircles. This research project wants to add to this literature through the case-study of the Democratic Republic of Congo: first, it wants to provide a concrete methodological tool to analyse these political settlements. This will be done through the establishment of a dataset of the ruling elites in the DRC since the country's independence in 1960. Moreover, through qualitative interviews, the relation between those elites and their wider support base (the 'ruling coalition') will be understood. Second, adding to the political settlement literature, which principally focusses on the national level, this project aims to analyse the multi-leveled nature of these settlements: these are not only determined at the national level, but are in a process of mutual interaction with the local level. In order to understand this, a similar research exercise (dataset and qualitative interviews) will be conducted in two key-provinces. Third, in doing so, this project will determine the main characteristics guiding these political settlements, such as ethnicity, military support base, and so on.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

TRUEPATH: TRansforming UnsustainablE PATHways in agricultural frontiers: articulating microfinance plus with local institutional change for sustainability in Nicaragua 01/12/2018 - 30/11/2021

Abstract

The project addresses the global-local institutional dynamics that generate the socially and environmentally unsustainable cattle development pathway. In Latin America, this pathway is the main driver of deforestation, contributing to climate change, the destruction of critical biodiversity stocks and the dispossession of indigenous people. The research specifically focusses on the agricultural frontier around the Bosawas Nature Reserve in Northern Nicaragua and consists of an action-research process in cooperation with the microfinance organization Fondo de Desarrollo Local and the environmental NGO Centro Humboldt. The project analyzes the potential of a 'Green Microfinance Plus' program (loans + technical assistance + Payments for Ecosystem Services), and connects to broader reflections in local deliberative fora promoted by the project and a citizen science approach to local climate data generation and use. In terms of research methodology, a multidisciplinary mixed methods set-up combines inputs from development sociology and economics with the Agrarian Systems approach, and makes use of an original simulation game informed by local data. The research aims to co-identify in-roads for policies of 'institutional entrepreneurship', offering opportunities to affect relevant institutional processes to transform today's detrimental pathway in the direction of more sustainable, equitable and climate-sensible agriculture, less dependent on deforestation and cheap land. The objective is to develop scientific outputs and policy proposals (in particular also for environmentally responsible rural finance) that contribute to change towards sustainability in the Nicaraguan agricultural frontier and beyond.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Towards a power-sensitive and socially-informed analysis of Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES). Comparative case studies in Nicaragua and Guatemala. 01/10/2018 - 30/09/2022

Abstract

Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) has become a dominant paradigm in international environmental and climate policies. The approach looks appealing: land users, often poorly motivated to protect nature and the benefits we obtain from it (the so-called 'ecosystem services'), may be incited to do so through conditional payments from interested consumers/buyers (e.g. carbon-constrained electricity companies paying for forest conservation). PES schemes also tend to be hailed as attractive tools for rural poverty alleviation in the Global South. The idea of conditional 'green' payments is clearly reflected in international climate finance instruments such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol, voluntary and compulsory carbon markets, and the UN global programme for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+, included in the 2015 Paris Climate Accord). All of these can be conceptualised as global PES mechanisms. Despite their increasing popularity among donors and governments, evidence regarding the environmental and social outcomes of PES projects is not unequivocal. Indeed, PES remains weakly theorized in socio-economic and political terms, resulting in a superficial understanding of how power relations and cultural diversity shape the social-ecological outcomes of these projects. Through the comparative analysis of at least two cases in Nicaragua and Guatemala, this research will further develop a novel methodology to address important analytical and empirical gaps in current PES scholarship. It also aims to study in greater depth how PES instruments succeed or fail to reshape nature-society relations and how they change resource use behaviour in socially and culturally diverse contexts. In this way, this research offers crucial policy-relevant insights into the ways in which global-to-local interactions reshape PES interventions, allowing to better fit local notions of value, justice and equity, while contributing to global ecological goals.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Winners and Losers from Globalization and Market Integration: Insights from Micro-Data (WLG-Micro). 01/01/2018 - 31/12/2021

Abstract

Globalization, and market integration more generally, has created winners and losers around the world. Recent political events (e.g. US elections and Brexit) show that many people are concerned and demand policies to stop globalization through new trade barriers and limits on free movement of people. Research on the precise impact of globalization and market integration has been constrained by measurement and data problems. Theoretical and empirical models using aggregate data failed to capture detailed heterogeneous effects. Identifying precise impact mechanisms or causality is complicated when other factors (such as technological change) occur simultaneously. Our project wants to improve impact analysis using unique and new detailed micro-data (at the firm-, region-, and household-level) and state-of-the art micro-econometric techniques. Our project's focus is global (covering many countries, both rich and poor) and local (with the use of micro-data) at the same time. We use a modern view of market integration — i.e. that trade is more than a flow of goods – by integrating local and global value chains into our analysis, taking into account embedded technology transfer and product and process requirements. In combination, this will allow to identify impact at the level of firms, sectors, regions and households, accounting for the complexity of the impact mechanisms.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

InforMining? An in-depth study of informalization processes in global gold production. 01/01/2018 - 31/12/2021

Abstract

chains, and -production networks, to make sense of trends in global production. It concludes that the global economy has witnessed a geographical expansion of production; a concentration of power in the hands of lead firms; and the rise of a flexible and irregular workforce. Despite its strengths, this research has important shortcomings, including a neglect of informal production, and of extractive industries such as mining. This project addresses both shortcomings, by investigating informalization processes in global gold production. More precisely, it analyzes two mechanisms that indicate a growing reliance on informal labour: (1) outsourcing by large mining companies to local subcontractors who operate at the margins of the formal economy; and (2) the massive expansion of low-tech, labour-intensive and predominantly informal artisanal and small-scale gold mining. We will first conduct a mapping of the global gold production system, to understand the global roots of informalization processes. We then conduct case studies of six mining areas in three countries (Philippines, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo) with a view to understanding how informalization processes intersect with changes in local labour markets, thus affecting who stands (not) to benefit from these informalization processes.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Past projects

Supporting Joint Strategic Framework Kenya on integrating the transversal theme of gender. 28/01/2021 - 04/02/2021

Abstract

This short assignment supports the integration of a gender dimension in the Joint Strategic Framework (JSF) Kenya. The JSF Kenya is elaborated by the non-governmental actors that are operational in Kenya and sets out the strategy and focus of collaboration between NGA and partners in the south.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Photographs form inside the Lord's Resitance Army. 16/03/2020 - 31/12/2020

Abstract

The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) is a rebel group, notorious for its use of extreme violence and its large-scale abductions of children, who were used as child soldiers or forced 'wives'. The LRA is led by the infamous Joseph Kony and became active in northern Uganda during the second half of the 1980s. Rebel Lives is built on an archive of photographs taken by LRA commanders themselves between 1994 and 2003. The photographs show life within the group and depict the rebels as they want to be seen, both among themselves and by the outside world. The images bear witness to how the abductees tried to live within extremely violent circumstances, but also portray a surprising normality. Rebel Lives tells the story of a conflict where the line between victim and perpetrator is blurred, where people struggle to survive, and where children in particular bear the brunt of this tension. Kristof Titeca, Professor in Development Studies at the University of Antwerp and expert on the LRA, collected this material, and used it to trace the photographed (former) rebels and understand the photographs – a process which took several years. Together with Congolese photographer Georges Senga, he travelled back to photograph the former rebels in their current context.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Consultancy E-CA CRE-AC. 01/01/2020 - 31/12/2020

Abstract

ECA — CREAC aims to promote improved access and dissemination of knowledge about central Africa. The organisation offers a platform for dialogue and exchange of information between the academic world, policy makers, civil society actors and the private sector at the Belgian, European and international level. CREAC inserts itself into a tradition of partnership between Belgium and central Africa, by critically looking at contemporary dynamics, and launching debates around the opportunities and challenges for future collaboration.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Project website

Powering development, stabilization and conservation? The impact of electricity roll-out by Virunga Alliance in Eastern Congo. 01/04/2019 - 30/03/2020

Abstract

We measure the impact of electricity provision in Congolese communities nearby Virunga National Park, in North-Kivu, DR Congo. Impoverished by two decades of armed conflict, the communities complement their livelihoods with the park's resources to make ends meet. These resources are also illicitly exploited by at least eight armed groups that have their hide-outs within the park's boundaries. The electricity roll-out is implemented by Virunga Alliance, a public-private partnership that seeks to bring about security and conservation through development. According to Virunga's theory of change, electrification will spur development, which will in turn reduce the people's reliance on the park's resources as well as their support for, and participation in, rebel groups. The theory of change finds support in the literature, but needs further testing. To learn about the causal effect of electricity on economic development, security and conservation, we designed an impact evaluation that exploits the gradual roll-out of electricity, in combination with a difference-in-differences estimation. The treatment localities will be connected in the period 2019-2020; the control localities only from 2021 onwards.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Project website

Ethnicity after mass violence. A study of the nature and transformation of ethnic 'groupness' in Rwanda and Burundi. 01/04/2019 - 30/03/2020

Abstract

Despite the slogan 'never again', the world continues to be plagued by violence that is group-selective and aimed at the extermination of people belonging to certain social categories. This type of mass categorical violence often has an ethnic dimension involving members of majority and minority groups . Popular wisdom seems to be that ethnicity – or the emotional sense of belonging to a specific group and distinction from or even antipathy to outsiders – is the source of this type of violence. This research project aims to empirically demonstrate that this hypothesis is wrong. Instead, based on what is called a constructivist account of ethnicity, the proposed research activities aim to demonstrate that the salience of ethnicity is the outcome of mass categorical violence not its underlying cause. In addition, the research activities aim to verify whether, to what extent and why the salience of ethnicity following mass categorical violence is declining. To do so, the research project will examine 'ways of seeing the world' (cognition) and 'ways of acting in the world' (behavior). The former will be studied by making use of an available and unique database of over 700 life histories from people that experienced mass categorical violence in two case study countries: Rwanda and Burundi. The latter will be examined through the in-depth study of the daily behavior of a number of these individuals carefully selected based on an analysis of the available life history dataset.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

InForMining in Peru: research and partnership on informal gold mining. 01/01/2019 - 31/12/2020

Abstract

The FWO project 'InForMining: an in-depth study of informalization in global gold production' (promotor Sara Geenen, postdoctoral researcher Boris Verbrugge, doctoral researcher Maria Eugenia Robles Mengoa) combines a global mapping of structural trends with a comparative case study analysis of ASGM expansion in different countries. One of the countries not covered in the InForMining proposal is Peru, currently the 6th important gold producer in the world and home to an interesting variety of mining sites. This Global Minds project aims at developing the case study of Peru within the InForMining framework. Second, we have been working on a VLIR TEAM proposal for a collaboration with the Universidad Nacional del Altiplano (UNA) in Puno, Peru. The second objective of the Global Minds project is hence to prepare the ground for a more sustainable engagement with UNA by organizing a research workshop and resubmitting a VLIR proposal. The InForMining project is guided by two research questions, which respectively focus on global- and local-level dynamics associated with informalization: 1. How are informalization mechanisms rooted in structural trends in the global gold production system? 2. How are informalization mechanisms restructuring local labour markets and what are the implications for the workforce?

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Project website

Socio-ecological resilience: a new perspective for artisanal and small-scale mining communities? 01/10/2018 - 30/09/2020

Abstract

This research project explores whether the concept socio-ecological resilience can further our empirical and conceptual understanding of changes in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) communities. It has three main objectives that will address gaps in the ASM literature: 1) to improve our understanding of the internal structures, actors and dynamics of ASM communities; 2) to develop a conceptual framework to understand the interacting socio-ecological systems that surround ASM communities, by focusing on key trends transforming ASM; 3) to contribute to the literature on resilience by exploring the relationship between resilience at the community level and at the socio-ecological system level. It will use the conceptual framework of socio-ecological resilience combined with perspectives from political ecology to examine case studies – namely, two different ASM communities in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In doing so, it aims to provide more holistic perspective of the role of ASM as a livelihood strategy. Moreover, the knowledge generated could be used to better inform policies and interventions to mitigate the problems that have for so long afflicted ASM communities. The findings will be published through four articles in high-impact academic journals: one article for each of my three research objectives; and a fourth to discuss the potential for socio-ecological resilience to be combined with perspectives from political ecology.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Demobilising Mindsets: Ideas and Ideology after War. A Case Study on Rwandan FDLR Rebels. 01/10/2018 - 30/09/2020

Abstract

Since 2001 several thousand Rwandan FDLR rebels (Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda), active in the east of the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo), have been demobilised and repatriated to Rwanda. The FDLR rebels that emerged in the year 2000 from the Hutu refugee community in DRC are known to foster a strong "Hutu" ideology, rooted in the ideational tradition of pre-genocide Rwanda. It revolves around ethnic antagonism and emphasizes a deeply pronounced Hutu victimisation by the Tutsi. This ideology stands diametrically opposed to the one the current, Tutsi-dominated RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front) government under President Paul Kagame has established and imposed in post-genocide Rwanda. By returning to Rwanda, the FDLR members thus not only cross a national border, but an ideological one as well. Our research aims to understand how demobilised and repatriated FDLR members navigate between these "old" and "new" ideational frameworks at work in Rwanda's past and present. We will study whether, how and why the exposure to the "new" ideology has changed – reversed, weakened or reinforced – "old" ideas, beliefs and mindsets. In this way, we aim to contribute to the academic literature on post-genocide Rwanda from a bottom-up perspective; to push the theoretical understanding of the role of ideology in and after violent conflict; and to develop appropriate research approaches and techniques to study the demobilization of mindsets.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Sabbatical 01/10/2018 - 30/09/2019

Abstract

I would like to deepen the topic of "real governance" of my research, in different ways. First of all, I want to scrutinize the real governance theme in terms of the literature on public governance, power and rationality in so-called developed countries. Usually, these countries are seen as the "model" for Southern countries, but this framing can be criticized through a real governance lens. After writing a concept paper on this theme. I want to apply by writing a research project on this theme, by organising a collective research & training initiative on the theme of "black Europe" and by completing a chapter on a critique of inequality of opportunity in my course book on poverty and inequality.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Targeting female headed households in Uganda for ICT-mediated agricultural knowledge transfer. 01/10/2018 - 15/12/2018

Abstract

The study extends an ongoing field experiment (see Van Campenhout, Lecoutere, & Spielman, 2017) in which farmers were randomly assigned to particular ICT-mediated agricultural information interventions differing in the gender composition of the messenger and/or audience. The specific research question for the case of female-headed households is what gender of the messenger in an ICT-mediated agricultural extension information campaign about crop intensification is most effective for knowledge transfer, efficiency of maize farming and women's empowerment. To do so, the study will compare female-headed households where the gender composition of the individual messenger and the individual audience is matched—i.e. the messenger and audience are both women—and female-headed households where the gender composition of the messenger and audience differ—i.e. the messenger is a man and the audience a woman. In particular, the study will establish the causal link between extension videos and the knowledge gained, between extension videos and (intensity of) adoption of recommended intensification practices, between extension videos and yield changes, between extension videos and well-being (measured by consumption expenditure as a proxy), and between extension videos and women's empowerment.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The evolution of external and public debt levels of lower income countries over the last ten years. 16/07/2018 - 30/09/2018

Abstract

This paper will provide a comprehensive overview of the evolution of external and public debt levels of lower income countries over the last ten years, the reasons behind it, and their consequences for debt sustainability and growth. Ten years after the international community provided large-scale debt relief to a number debt-ridden low income countries (LICs), which provided them with a close to clean debt slate, debt levels are again rapidly increasing in some of these low income countries: at least as many as 11 post-HIPCs countries are again experiencing a high risk of debt distress, with 3 additional ones already being in debt distress. These trends give renewed urgency in understanding recent debt trends and their drivers in lower-income countries. The paper will start by briefly summarizing the 4 pillars of the current international framework to keep debt sustainable (DSA/DSF, responsible borrowing/lending; sovereign; sovereign debt workout mechanisms, including ad hoc rescheduling and debt relief initiatives; debtor country debt management capacity building). Many low-income countries have taken advantage of the new borrowing space provided by their improved debt situation, in order to meet large financing gaps for infrastructure needs, poverty reduction and the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Thus the paper then discusses, for all LICs together, as well as for individual HIPC countries/other important LICs, how these new borrowing strategies have impacted on the evolution of public debt levels and debt ratios during the last 10 years, to document but also to qualify this general renewed build-up for individual country experiences. Emphases will be placed on: 1) The drivers of these changes, especially in the case of more vulnerable and less diversified LICs 2) The changes in composition of these debt levels. The composition of debt has clearly changed in most LICs, with traditional external bilateral lending being replaced by emerging lenders and new types of commercial lending, namely through Eurobonds, and the growing role of domestic capital markets. On the side, we also try to assess whether changed DAC rules of ODA accounting have impacted the observed decrease of lending from these donors to LICs 3) The extent to which increased debt levels lead to problems of debt distress 4) The extent to which joint responsibilities between debtor and lenders (or lead managers of bond issues) can influence borrowing and lending practices. The concluding section will also reassess the current international framework to keep debt sustainable, with a view suggesting potential avenues for improvement to improve assessments and monitoring of debt sustainability.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Political Inequality in the DRC: the construction of a dataset. 25/05/2018 - 30/11/2018

Abstract

What is the relation between inequality of access to key political and economic institutions and conflict? Equality does not only manifest itself along economic lines, but also politically, in the distribution of political power. It has been claimed that inequality of access of certain social and political groups can explain patterns of war and peace (Lindemann 2010). Yet, investigating these questions require data in support of these claims. For the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which has been affected by cycles of conflict, these data are missing. This project aims to construct a dataset on the inequality of access to key political and economic positions since independence in 1960. More particularly, this project aims to analyse the characteristics of cabinet ministers and board members of parastatals. While similar works have focused on ethnicity as a determinant of inclusion and exclusion in political positions in a number of African countries (e.g. Francois, Rainer & Trebbi, 2015), this project seeks to capture the process of inequality along a wider range of characteristics: linguistic, regional, political-party, gender, and military background. On the basis of these, the relation between political inequality and the presence of war will be studied.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Understanding informal taxation: systematic data collection among the Congolese traffic police. 01/01/2018 - 31/12/2020

Abstract

While there is a wide literature on taxation, this literature is mainly focusing on taxes that end up in the state's coffers, and in doing so is ignoring many other practices of revenue collection. The concept of 'informal taxation' was initially introduced by Prud'homme in 1992, who defined the concept as 'nonformal means utilized to finance the provision of public goods and services' (Prud'homme 1992: 2). Although informal taxation has been receiving increased policy and academic attention in recent years empirical data on the subject are weak to non-existent. The reason for this is straightforward: informal taxes are inherently difficult to document in a systematic manner. This research project aims to fill this gap. By relying on an innovative data collection method, it will collect data of informal taxation practices of the Congolese traffic police. It aims to understand the nature and scale of informal payments in the administration, as well as how the structure of the market affects the level and amount of informal taxes: for examples, how does the nature of intersections affect revenue collection? This project will deploy a range of surveyors to collect these data. Crucial is that i) a pilot project has been conducted to test this methodology (Titeca and Malukisa 2014), and ii) that the project has access to the Congolese police administration to conduct this study. In doing so, the project will both have a major policy and academic impact.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Beliefs and development in Sub-Sahara Africa. 01/01/2018 - 31/12/2020

Abstract

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) lags behind in health and gender equality. A vast ethnographic literature argues that magico-religious beliefs (MRBs) rooted in African cosmology affect these development outcomes. We investigate if and how MRBs indeed affect health and gender equality in SSA. We look at two alleged channels. First, MRBs may affect health behavior by shaping the understanding of disease causation and prevention. Second, MRBs may affect gender relations by awarding a higher status only to those girls and women who are believed to have a link with the divine. We empirically analyze these channels in three ways. First, we look at a sample of 13 SSA countries to study the relation between MRBs of 165 ethnic groups and the use of bed nets to prevent malaria. Second, we focus on West Africa to quantify the impact of an MRB-related higher status for women and girls on intra-household resource allocation. Third, in Benin, where MRBs are especially vibrant, we study whether their effect on the status of women and girls leads to higher earning potential and empowerment of women later in life.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Consultancy E-CA CRE-AC vzw 01/01/2018 - 31/12/2019

Abstract

ECA — CREAC aims to promote improved access and dissemination of knowledge about central Africa. The organisation offers a platform for dialogue and exchange of information between the academic world, policy makers, civil society actors and the private sector at the Belgian, European and international level. CREAC inserts itself into a tradition of partnership between Belgium and central Africa, by critically looking at contemporary dynamics, and launching debates around the opportunities and challenges for future collaboration.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Consultancy ECA-CREAC 01/01/2018 - 31/12/2018

Abstract

ECA — CREAC aims to promote improved access and dissemination of knowledge about central Africa. The organisation offers a platform for dialogue and exchange of information between the academic world, policy makers, civil society actors and the private sector at the Belgian, European and international level. CREAC inserts itself into a tradition of partnership between Belgium and central Africa, by critically looking at contemporary dynamics, and launching debates around the opportunities and challenges for future collaboration.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Project website

Perceptions of the Self and the Other in contemporary Burundi. The salience of ethnicity in everyday interactions in a post-transition context 01/10/2017 - 30/09/2019

Abstract

Since independence (1962), the 'ethnic' conflict between Hutu and Tutsi in Burundi led to thousands of deaths on both sides. In 2000, the signature of the Arusha peace agreement inaugurated a transition period towards peace and democracy. Thanks to the agreement, political competition was de-ethnicized, and political parties no longer represented a single ethnic group. At the local level, people could progressively return to their occupations. Despite the absence of violence, these people had to deal with the consequences of war and ethnic violence. Given the circumstances of poverty, most of them opted for a peaceful cohabitation with those who perpetrated violence. The results obtained so far have been undermined by the 2015 crisis, which followed President Nkurunziza's unconstitutional bid for the third term. During the crisis, ethnic hatred has been injected in the political discourse, and started circulating in some milieus. Some responsiveness to ethnic appeals still existed. The question is whether, to what extent and how ordinary citizens are responsive to such discourses. Our research aims to understand the meaning and salience of ethnicity in Burundi's contemporary socio-political context. This will contribute to a better understanding of ethnicity, and will illuminate the dynamics of change in the meaning and salience of ethnicity. This will be relevant for scholars and policy-makers concerned with similar dynamics in other post-transition countries.

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Research team(s)

Monitoring emerging small towns in Tanzania: outline ideas for a proof of concept study. 01/10/2017 - 28/02/2018

Abstract

This project provides technical support tot Tanzania's Prime Office Regional Administration and Local Government (PO-RALG) to collect data on Emerging Small Towns (ESTs). PO-RALG estimates indicate that there may be as many as 800 ESTs, many of which are undocumented within the government system. PO-RALG has identified the lack of accurate and timely information on ESTs as a major obstacle to sound policy making and urban planning.

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Research team(s)

Everyday justice and security provision for displaced and residents in Bukavu, DRC. 01/10/2017 - 30/11/2017

Abstract

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a country in which prolonged insecurity has caused long-term and cyclical displacement, especially in the east. Most Congolese flee to host communities within their own country. Bukavu is one of the cities in Congo that receives large numbers of displaced people. This research looks at the consequences of migration in terms of the justice and security concerns in the host communities, both for newcomers and for longer-term residents. The project will further analyse already collected qualitative and quantitative data and build on these data. Findings will be used to set up stakeholder consultations with policy-makers and practitioners at local, national, and international levels. Key responsibilities of the UAntwerpen: • To support the project coordinator in the data management of the project; • To conduct qualitative and quantitative analysis of collected data, making use of Atlas.ti and SPSS; • To carry out qualitative interviews with international actors involved in justice and security policy and programming in the DRC; • To support the project coordinator in the organization of a workshop in the Netherlands; • To coordinate and execute internal and external project communication.

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Research team(s)

Oil Governance in the DRC. 01/09/2017 - 31/08/2018

Abstract

Although oil production in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) already started in the 1960s, production and interest in the resource long remained relatively limited. This changed in the 2000s with a renewed international interest in oil across Africa, sparking exploration and exploitation in the DRC. During this period, a range of multinational companies started activities in the country. Very little is known about these oil explorations, despite potentially serious impacts, including border tensions, local disputes (with potential for expansion), and regional power shifts (ICG 2012). There is a long-recognised link between natural resource abundance and negative political and economic outcomes, a theory generally packaged as the 'resource curse' (Ross 1999). Theorists agree that governance processes are a major determinant of how this 'curse' plays out. While a few policy reports look into the Congolese oil sector (Global Witness 2013, ICG 2012), the underlying governance dynamics, and the risk on conflict, remain poorly understood: no in-depth academic study has been done on this issue. For this reason, this project targets the following questions: What are the political settlements underlying oil governance in DRC? In unpacking oil governance dynamics, this project draws on 'political settlements' theory, looking principally at the informal coalitions underlying the oil governance arrangements. In gaining a better understanding of these governance arrangements, we are able to understand the potential conflict risk of oil explorations. How do these political settlement at the national level translate to the local level, and affect the local population? Deals are made at the national level, but have a profound impact at the local level, where the oil exploitations take place. These 'local' translations have a significant but poorly understood impact, which this research project aims to apprehend. Through these lenses, this project will make a strong empirical contribution to a little understood area with a major impact on DRC's development, and equally make an important contribution to political settlement theory, currently at the centre of international development debates.

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Research team(s)

Expanding horizons - Secondary towns and rural-urban migration in Tanzania. 01/07/2017 - 31/12/2017

Abstract

In accordance with you TOR of 16 June, we offer to provide consulting services to build on the draft paper "Expanding horizons – Secondary towns and rural-urban migration in Tanzania". We will further explore the life histories to reflect on the role villages of origin play as safety net and its implications for migration decisions and destination choices, as well as the underlying (qualitative/quantitative) factors (initial conditions, destination characteristics and shocks, and their interactions) shaping the likelihood of different migration trajectories (linear to the city, ladder migration, churning, return migration). The consultancy will reflect the emerging insights from this body of work in a blog series of 3 blogs for the World Bank Jobs and Development Blog series. We will further produce two short notes reflecting 1) the emerging insights on the role of villages as safety nets for migration and destination choice and 2) the factors shaping migration trajectories. We will also present the findings in a BBL at the World Bank.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Belgian Research Group on Financing for Development (BeFinD). 01/05/2017 - 31/10/2018

Abstract

Belgian policy research group on Financing for Development (BeFinD) is a consortium of three research centers at Belgian universities with the objective of covering the policy and research questions that are the most relevant to Financing for Development in the framework of the Academic Research Group for Policy Support (ACROPOLIS). ACROPOLIS aims to support the decision-making of the Belgian Directorate General for Development Cooperation (DGD) by evidence-based research. BeFinD (2017-2018) research is structured around two main topics and 5 work packages: 1: Domestic resource mobilization WP 1: Towards effective intervention models for supporting local taxation programs in weak institutional contexts. WP 2: Contributory social protection schemes for informal workers as alternative mechanisms of domestic resource mobilization. 2: Implications of the private sector through innovative financing and private sector development A: Innovative Financing WP 3: Development Impact Bonds WP 4: Blending B: Private Sector Financing WP 5: A randomized evaluation on a Belgian development program: the case of BTC agricultural support in Benin.

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Research team(s)

The impact of mass violence op trust, security and political representation. 01/04/2017 - 31/03/2018

Abstract

Little is known about the impact of war, mass violence and other instances of state-sponsored violence on what is often captured under the umbrella term "(informal) institutions". Understanding the (long-term) impact of wartime violence on these institutional and social processes is key for our understanding of a society's postwar recovery, transformation and, ultimately, development. This project seeks to understand what factors shape people's differential experience of human security, trust and political participation over time by analyzing hundreds of life history narratives and trajectories from individuals living in countries (case studies Rwanda and Burundi) that experienced large-scale violence in the recent past.

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Research team(s)

Project website

Phase III partner programme for Institutional University Cooperation with Université de Burundi (2017-2020) 01/01/2017 - 31/12/2020

Abstract

This project is the third phase of a long term, institutional cooperation programme between a number of Flemish universities and the public university 'Université du Burundi', based in Bujumbura. The programme spans a period of ten years in total, ending with this third phase, and covers five different areas of scientific cooperation, including law, agronomy, physics, medecine and ICT. In addition, the project contributes to capacity-building of the partner university in its research capacities, i.a. through the establishment of a Doctoral School (Ecole doctorale). The project is part of the VLIR-UOS country programme with Burundi.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Towards a new theoretical framework for linkages from large-scale mining: bringing in power and the production of access and exclusion. 01/01/2017 - 31/12/2019

Abstract

Resource optimists believe that large-scale mining is not only a powerful engine of economic growth, but can boost other productive sectors and thus contribute to broader social and economic development. In order to achieve this, companies and governments are now increasingly urged to promote local content policies and support local small and medium-sized enterprises especially in developing countries. Theoretically, this view is inspired by the academic literature on linkages and global commodity/value chains. What this literature fails to acknowledge, however, is that linkage development occurs in a local context that is highly politicized. Linkage development is thus affected by power, social relations and embeddedness in local institutions. In addition, it creates patterns of inclusion and exclusion, for example by giving certain groups of people access to employment and contracts, while excluding others. This is an important reason for focusing on locally-owned subcontracting companies and assessing their contribution to development. The proposed research provides this focus by theoretically extending and problematizing the notion of backward linkages. Methodologically it takes a novel approach by embedding quantitative surveys and descriptive statistics within qualitative field research focusing on a) power, social relations and embeddedness and b) patterns of access and exclusion in two selected mining concessions in Ghana and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Project website

Secure Livelihood Research Consortium - SLRC. 01/01/2017 - 31/12/2018

Abstract

This two-year research programme (1 January 2017- 31 December 2018) aims to further understand governance, service delivery and economic growth in the Democratic Republic of Congo. More particularly, it aims to understand policy implementation from national to local levels and generating lessons from what works in promoting positive change, and how to measure change. The research program will do this by tackling a range of sector-specific topics that link closely to the programs of DFID – DRC. Topics are thus chosen for their potential to contribute practical operational knowledge. At the same time, it is the ethos of the individual research projects to also address big cross-cutting questions of governance and state-society relations that might help inform DFID's broader discussions on how to engage in fragile states with weak governance.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Sex and War: Beyond Rape. 01/10/2016 - 30/04/2019

Abstract

When it comes to the topic of sex in the context of war much scholarly and practical concern has been shown for the terrible occurrences of rape. Evocative language describing rape as a "weapon of war" and the female body as a battlefield is now commonplace. Although some scholars note similarities with violence before, during and after conflict, very little is known about the relationship between sex and war—in other words between violent events such as rape or war and "normal" male-female relationships. Much of the work in the area of sex in the context of war is focused either on sexual violence, sexual exploitation, or HIV without putting the analysis into the broader context of sexuality and neglecting the complex interweavings of power, desire, violence and survival; or it is focused on women—particularly as victims and often minimizing or underappreciating female agency even if under seriously constrained circumstances. This post-doctoral project aims to address this gap through an in-depth ethnographic study of the relationship between sex and war in the Acholi sub-region of northern Uganda. Building on research focusing on forced sex from over seven years of fieldwork, the study will illuminate the ways war variously works to continue, exaggerate and/or rupture "normal" social and gendered orderings of Acholi society. This has implications for understanding logics of violence and practical endeavors to prevent or respond to it.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The impact of intra household decision making on the sustainability, efficiency and equitability of household farming in sub-Saharan Africa (INTRACOF). 01/10/2016 - 30/09/2018

Abstract

This research project will assess to what extent more participatory intra household decision making about production and resource allocation contributes to more sustainable, efficient and equitable household farming systems in sub-Saharan Africa, more specifically coffee farming systems in Uganda and Tanzania. An intervention in which household are intensely coached in participatory decision making about production, resource allocation and income expenditure will be randomly introduced among Ugandan and Tanzanian smallholder coffee farming household. A framed economic experiment will permit to appraise if provision and appropriation behaviour by spouses in households with more participatory intra household decision making, the treatment group, is more cooperative, than in control households. The impact of participatory intra household decision making on the sustainability, efficiency and equitability of the outcomes from provision and appropriation behaviour in household farming systems will be studied with using individual survey data collected among spouses in treatment and control households. Inspired by the methods and findings of this project, a practical monitoring tool will be developed to capture changes in intra household decision making about production and resource allocation and their effect on sustainable, efficient and equitable (coffee) farming in collaboration with one of the partner organisations.

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Research team(s)

Scientific service delivery to E-CE CRE-AC 01/09/2016 - 31/08/2017

Abstract

To organise academic events for CRE-AC and to define the themes for these events; to organise the communication and outreach of CRE-AC and to co-edit a yearly publication of CRE-AC. To organise academic events for CRE-AC and to define the themes for these events; to organise the communication and outreach of CRE-AC and to co-edit a yearly publication of CRE-AC.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Fieldwork Follow-up for Measuring household labor in small holder farming. 20/05/2016 - 30/06/2016

Abstract

This research project aims to conduct a mixed methods study on migration destination choice in order to understand the differential roles played by cities and secondary towns with respect to growth and poverty reduction.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The impact of intra household decision making on the sustainability, efficiency and equitability of household farming in sub-Saharan Africa. 01/04/2016 - 31/03/2017

Abstract

This research project will assess to what extent more participatory intra household decision making about production and resource allocation contributes to more sustainable, efficient and equitable household farming systems in sub-Saharan Africa, more specifically coffee farming systems in Uganda. An intervention in which household are intensely coached in participatory decision making about production, resource allocation and income expenditure will be randomly introduced among Ugandan smallholder coffee farming households. A framed economic experiment will permit to appraise if provision and appropriation behaviour by spouses in households with more participatory intra household decision making, the treatment group, is more cooperative, than in control households. The impact of participatory intra household decision making on the sustainability, efficiency and equitability of the outcomes from provision and appropriation behaviour in household farming systems will be studied using individual survey data collected among spouses in treatment and control households.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

IMF and crisis prevention : an empirical evaluation of precautionary lending instruments. 28/01/2016 - 30/09/2016

Abstract

The enhancement of the global financial safety net is at the forefront of policy discussions about the international monetary system. Since the global financial crisis the IMF has extended its toolkit with new precautionary lending instruments, most importantly the Flexible Credit Line (FCL) and the Precautionary and Liquidity Line (PLL), in support of the IMF's role as international lender of last resort. The main contribution of this research project is to bring more empirical rigour to the ongoing debates about these precautionary instruments, and that on two fronts. First, the key macroeconomic, financial and political variables that explain whether or not countries enter into such precautionary arrangements will be identified. Second, the effect of the arrangements on bond spreads and other outcome variables in the participating countries will be evaluated using a novel counterfactual approach, the so-called 'synthetic control method'.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Female Political Representation in the Aftermath of Inter-Ethnic violence: A Comparative Analysis of Rwanda and Burundi 15/01/2016 - 30/04/2017

Abstract

We study the impact of electoral gender quota in post-war Burundi and Rwanda on women's political representation. First, we look at descriptive representation, by studying the number of female representatives and the prestige of their positions in the legislative and executive branches of government. Second, we focus on political representation as perceived by ordinary women, before, during and after the introduction of gender quota. We find that, both in Rwanda and Burundi, descriptive female political representation significantly increased with the introduction of gender quota, with the share of women in parliament and ministries consistently exceeding 30%. While women still disproportionally end up in Ministries of relatively lower prestige, the gap with men is closing as more women have joined the executive branches of power. We do not find any tangible effect on women's perceived political representation. Among the possible explanations, we discuss the authoritarian nature of the regime and the crowding out of gender identity by ethnic identity. We argue that these explanations are not entirely consistent with our data, and put forward a third explanation, i.e. that the perception of political representation depends on the implementation of policies - thus substantive representation, not descriptive representation - and that men and women are to a very large extent appreciative of the same policies.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Partner Program for Institutional University Cooperation between the University of Burundi and the Flemish universities, Phase II (2014-2016). 01/01/2016 - 31/03/2017

Abstract

This project represents a formal service agreement between UA and on the other hand VLIR. UA provides VLIR research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Death to the 'failed state', long live hybrid governance? Hybrid governance and international donors in the primary education sector of Somaliland. 01/10/2015 - 30/09/2019

Abstract

How are public services provided in a context of a state which has been affected by enduring conflict and economic downfall? According to the 'failed state' literature, these places are characterized by a vacuum of authority. This is challenged by the literature on 'hybrid governance' which highlights how state actors are only one actor among a wide range of actors providing governance in a certain area: the weakness of the formal state framework does not necessarily create chaos, or a vacuum. By using a hybrid governance perspective, this research project wants to analyse primary education services in Somaliland: Somalia, and the Somaliland region, is considered a typical 'failed state', and although the state is largely absent from public services, education services continue to be provided. However, the hybrid governance perspective largely neglects two crucial aspects: the role of legitimacy and power in these arrangements, as well as the role of international actors. Both of these aspects have a profound impact on the outcome of these hybrid arrangements, but have been largely ignored in the analysis. Particular attention will be given to Islamic donors, which play an important role in supporting the education sector in Somaliland: their specific religious character, with specific sets of legitimacy, and their impact on public service (education) provision, has not been studied properly, particularly in the context of a largely absent state.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Why fight? A study on the nexus between mineral resources, conflict and employment opportunities in the mining sector of South-Kivu, DRC. 01/10/2015 - 30/09/2017

Abstract

The project studies the nexus between conflict, mineral resources and employment opportunities. Does the presence of mineral resources increase conflict? Why do young men fight? How can employment creation contribute to social stability? We study these questions in the context of eastern DRC, home to large stocks of mineral resource wealth, yet one of the poorest and most conflict-affected regions in the world.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Review of Final Research Report PMMA 12517: Access to Credit and Women Entrepreneurship: Evidence from Bangladesh'. 01/10/2015 - 28/10/2015

Abstract

Review of a paper analysing the effects of participation to microcredit schemes on women entrepreneurship. The empirical analysis, based on a large HH survey, and taking into account the potential endogeneity of access to microcredit on entrepreneurship, systematically compares outcomes for men and women, as well their potential interconnections.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Urbanisation, growth and poverty reduction: the role of secondary towns. 01/05/2015 - 31/12/2016

Abstract

This research project aims to conduct a mixed methods study on migration destination choice in order to understand the differential roles played by cities and secondary towns with respect to growth and poverty reduction.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Evidence from within the police administration in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 01/04/2015 - 25/02/2017

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the client. UA provides the client research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The internal organization of informal taxation: Evidence from within the police administration in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 01/02/2015 - 31/12/2015

Abstract

Informal taxes play an important role in the 'real' governance of taxation. Although, both in academic and policy circles, increasing attention has been given to the issue, very little empirical data are available. Through unprecedented access to the Congolese police, this research project wants to address this gap.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Exploratory field research on hybrid governance in mining concessions in Ghana 01/02/2015 - 31/12/2015

Abstract

This exploratory field research in Ghana is part of my research project on 'hybrid governance in mining concessions in Ghana and the Democratic Republic of Congo', which proposes to study the impact of transnational mining companies' activities on local governance in a novel fashion. The field research consists of 2 phases: 1) networking and introduction in selected communities, 2) qualitative data collection in selected communities.

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Research team(s)

Project website

The impact of mass violence and post-conflict recovery on social mobility. Exploring the nature and underlying drivers of social transformation in Rwanda and Burundi. Fieldwork in Burundi. 01/01/2015 - 31/12/2017

Abstract

The overall objective is to understand social mobility in a post-conflict context. I will study the extent and differential nature of social mobility: whether, how and why individuals and households move up, move down or remain immobile. I use both a narrow and a broad concept of social mobility. In a narrow sense, social mobility is defined as the (perceived) movement in (socio-) economic position over time of individuals, households and/or social categories. An enlarged conception of social mobility also encompasses the changing experience and perceptions of security, trust and political participation/representation over time, which are all highly relevant in a post-conflict setting.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

An economic analysis of the links between armed conflicts, female political empowerment and development. 01/01/2015 - 31/12/2017

Abstract

Armed conflicts generally cause a disproportionate number of male victims. The related fall in the share of men in the population is likely to push women to assume new roles and responsibilities. Moreover, it may have important repercussions on electoral outcomes and, ultimately, on policy decisions. In particular, there may be a shift to more female political representatives as well as to more pro-female policies. This project aims to understand the relationship between conflicts and female political empowerment, which is a blind spot in the existing literature. The focus will be on Rwanda, a country where conflicts led to a sharp decrease in the sex ratio, and where the postconflict period was characterized by a notable increase in the share of elected women. We will combine qualitative and quantitative information to explore if and how the increase in the share of elected women affects actual policy decisions and the perception of women in the society.

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Research team(s)

In Quest for Effective Service Delivery: decentralization, district balkanization and local governance challenges for the next decade and in Uganda. 15/12/2014 - 14/12/2016

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand VLIR. UA provides VLIR research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Finding Durable Solutions for Old Refugee Case-Ioads in Nakivale Settlement - Mbarara District. 15/12/2014 - 14/12/2016

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand VLIR. UA provides VLIR research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Trade, firms and labour demand in manufacturing: firm performance and employment responses to import competition in South Africa. 04/12/2014 - 30/09/2015

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the client. UA provides the client research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Policy Influencing, Lobbying & Advocacy. 07/10/2014 - 30/09/2015

Abstract

This project represents a formal service agreement between UA and on the other hand Min. Buitenlandse Zaken (NL). UA provides Min. Buitenlandse Zaken (NL) research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Transnational companies and local politics. Hybrid governance in mining concessions in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Ghana. 01/10/2014 - 30/09/2018

Abstract

Demand for mineral resources is growing, while reserves are drying up. This evolution has pushed transnational mining companies (TNCs) towards extraction in formerly inaccessible locations, including post-conflict areas. Quite often in such settings, the TNCs concerned also perform governance functions, such as providing security, social services and public infrastructure. In so doing, they conform to the requirements of 'corporate social responsibility', which is often translated as 'doing good for the community'. But in addition to delivering benefits through hospitals, schools and roads, TNCs can also damage the environment and restrict people's access to land and resources. Moreover they may induce unintended harm through channels that remain largely unobserved. The arrival of a TNC tends to affect not just the local economy, but also local politics, creating winners and losers in both arenas. The proposed research takes a novel approach in studying such political changes, drawing on the literature on hybrid governance and analyzing power and authority 'from below'. Cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ghana are used in a comparative study with a view to gaining insight into local conflicts in their institutional and historical contexts. This is crucial for a more general understanding and management of companycommunity conflicts, as communities are never homogeneous and conflicts are as much about authority and legitimacy as they are about resources and land.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The role of education in peacebuilding: An analysis of the impact of Côte d'Ivoire's educational content and practices. 01/10/2014 - 30/09/2018

Abstract

This research aims to investigate the impact of Côte d'Ivoire's secondary schooling on shaping students' attitudes towards peace, reconciliation and intergroup tolerance. The methodology consists of an innovative panel survey, whereby teachers, pupils, and their parents, of 64 secondary schools in Abidjan and Bouaké will be interviewed at three different moments in time.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The norms and practices of the African Union on the promotion of constitutional governance: a legal analysis. 01/10/2014 - 30/09/2018

Abstract

The objective of this research it to examine the norms, policies and practices developed by the African Union related to the promotion of constitutional rule in its member states. The research is in line with an international trend of increased scholarly attention for collective action towards peace, security, stability and democratic state-building in Africa. The research will contribute to a conceptual clarification of the notion of constitutionalism in the particular context of states and societies with a history of military coups and armed conflict and, very often, a lack of widely shared constitutional values. The work also contributes to the scholarship on the role of intergovernmental institutions in fostering political integration. Essentially, the research examines (1) the emerging normative framework of the AU on constitutional rule; (2) the rationale behind it; (3) the implementation of these norms, with particular attention for (i) the enforcement and sanctioning mechanisms (legal, but also political and diplomatic), and (ii) the interplay between the international and domestic legal order. In addition to its academic relevant, the research is also policy-relevant and will allow for more knowledge-based interventions in the area of rule of law promotion. In particular, it will allow for a better understanding of the merits and constraints of top-down legal and political engineering of constitutional rule in africa. The results of this research will contribute to the development of normative guidelines which may be used by policy-makers at national and international level in order to develop a sustainable and coherent culture of constitutional governance.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Project website

Opening the black box of performance-based financing in the health sector: A case study on motivation, rent seeking behaviour and M&E in Uganda. 01/10/2014 - 30/09/2018

Abstract

The increasing significance of PBF in the health sector in developing countries necessitates more knowledge on assumptions and mechanisms at play. We will perform a theory-based evaluation of a BTC project in Uganda to study the effect of PBF on health worker motivation, rent seeking behaviour and the role of M&E.

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Research team(s)

Political Economy Analyses of the African Union, and Regional Economic Communities in Africa. 01/08/2014 - 31/10/2015

Abstract

The work requested from the University of Antwerp is to provide a contribution to a larger political economy study of the African Union and 5 African REGs, which will attempt to answer the following central research question: How and why do different actors and factors affect REG/AU policy choice and its implementation in different thematic areas? The specific contribution of the University of Antwerp will be focused on the African Union's Programme of Infrastructure Development in Africa.

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Research team(s)

The impact of International NGOs on fragile states' development: the cases of DRC and Haiti 01/07/2014 - 31/10/2014

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand 11.11.11. UA provides 11.11.11research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Analysis of the situation of children and women in DR Congo. 20/06/2014 - 30/09/2015

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand Unicef. UA provides Unicef research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Research training in governance and public services. 01/06/2014 - 30/09/2016

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand VLIR. UA provides VLIR research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Belgian Research Group on Financing for Development (BeFinD). 01/05/2014 - 30/04/2017

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the client. UA provides the client research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Partner Program for Institutional University Cooperation between the University of Burundi and the Flemish universities, Phase II (2014-2016). 01/04/2014 - 31/12/2015

Abstract

This project represents a formal service agreement between UA and on the other hand VLIR. UA provides VLIR research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Good governance: democratization, promotion of rule of law and control of corruption. 14/02/2014 - 31/01/2015

Abstract

Participation in the peer group for the IOB (Institute of Development Policy and Management) policy review titled 'Good governance: democratization, promotion of the rule of law and control of corruption".

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Why fight? A study on the nexus between mineral resources, conflict and employment opportunities in South-Kivu, DRC. 01/01/2014 - 31/12/2016

Abstract

The proposed project studies the nexus between conflict, mineral resources and employment opportunities. Does the presence of mineral resources increase conflict? Why do young men fight? How can employment creation contribute to social stability? We study these questions in the context of eastern DRC, home to large stocks of mineral resource wealth, yet one of the poorest and most conflict-affected regions in the world.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

IOB evaluation of the Dutch policy towards the Arab region (2009-2013). 01/01/2014 - 31/12/2014

Abstract

This project represents a formal service agreement between UA and on the other hand Min. Buitenlandse Zaken (NL). UA provides Min. Buitenlandse Zaken (NL) research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Urban Governance in Kampala: a research partnership. 01/11/2013 - 10/11/2015

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand VLIR. UA provides VLIR research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Exploring opportunities for partnership and initiating joint research on the topic : "Intrahousehold and gender analysis to address food and health insecurities among rural communities in south western Uganda". 01/11/2013 - 31/10/2015

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand VLIR. UA provides VLIR research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract. This research project is implemented in rural Uganda (Mbarara district) and focuses on the interplay between intrahousehold relations, time use and the effect on education and health seeking behavior of different household members.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Adaptive governance of mountain ecosystem services for poverty alleviation enabled by environmental virtual observatories (MOUNTAIN-EVO). 17/10/2013 - 31/05/2017

Abstract

Our goal is not to develop specific solutions to specific problems. Rather, we will leverage the cross-disciplinary nature of our consortium to create a flexible and adaptive set of tools, protocols and concepts to promote citizen science on ecosystem services (ESS) for poverty alleviation. As such, the project aims at nothing less than reconceptualising the approach to managing ESS for poverty alleviation.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The impact of mass violence and post-conflict recovery on social mobility. Exploring the nature and underlying drivers of social transformation in Rwanda and Burundi. 01/10/2013 - 30/09/2016

Abstract

The overall objective is to understand social mobility in a post-conflict context. I will study the extent and differential nature of social mobility: whether, how and why individuals and households move up, move down or remain immobile. I use both a narrow and a broad concept of social mobility.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Payments for Ecosystem Services and land use dynamics: motivational and institutional interactions - case studies from rural Nicaragua. 01/10/2013 - 30/09/2016

Abstract

During the last decade, the conservation tool of 'Payments for Ecosystem Services' (PES) has attracted growing attention in both academic and policy circles. The approach looks appealing: land users, often poorly motivated to protect nature on their land, may be encouraged to do so through direct and conditional payments from interested consumers/buyers (e.g. local urban water users paying upstream farmers for land conservation). PES mechanisms are also increasingly seen as promising tools for rural poverty alleviation in developing countries. PES schemes are, however, not uncontested. Despite the growing literature on PES, there is still a theoretical and empirical knowledge gap on the socio-environmental and political-economic consequences of PES schemes and on the way payment incentives influence individual and collective decisions on land use and sustained pro-environment behaviour. Through comparative case studies in Nicaragua, the research project contributes to a more comprehensive and holistic agenda on the appropriateness and socio-ecological consequences of PES schemes.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Why fight? A study on the nexus between mineral resources, conflict and employment opportunities in the mining sector of South-Kivu, DRC. 01/10/2013 - 30/09/2015

Abstract

The project studies the nexus between conflict, mineral resources and employment opportunities. Does the presence of mineral resources increase conflict? Why do young men fight? How can employment creation contribute to social stability? We study these questions in the context of eastern DRC, home to large stocks of mineral resource wealth, yet one of the poorest and most conflict-affected regions in the world.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Mid-Term review of the NIMD programme in Uganda 2009-2013. 15/08/2013 - 30/10/2013

Abstract

The main objectives of this Mid-Term review are to: - identify and assess the results of the Uganda programme between 2009-2013 - analyse the results where possible relate the first effects of the programme on the political party system in Uganda and the political culture emerging - on the basis of the lessons learned so far, provide recommendations for the next phase of the Uganda programme in 2014-2016.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Towards more effective and equitable service delivery for local communities: comparing the impact of different accountability mechanisms and analysing the politics of service delivery. 01/07/2013 - 30/06/2018

Abstract

The project is built up around a comparative research studying the impact of different types of accountability mechanisms on the access to and quality of local service delivery, and the enabling (political) factors.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Governance and post-conflict reconstruction in Northern Uganda. 01/07/2013 - 30/06/2018

Abstract

Northern Uganda has been ravaged by war for the last 2 decades, but has known peace since 2005. The conflict has been a defining characteristic of Uganda polities and society, and the reconstruction process is equally important. This process is however affected by a range of governance problems, which are poorly understood. This project will generate better knowledge (academie objective) by funding PhD scholarships, research projects, research trainings, academie seminars and publications on th is issue - all of which will i) build capacity of the involved Ugandan universities, and ii) increase the networking among the Ugandan universities themselves, and with the Flemish institutes. It will also contribute to sustainable peace-building (developmental objective) by tne dissemination of the results to the relevant policy-actors and communities, which will be involved in the different phases: establishment of the research agenda, the research strategies (field research), and the dissemination ph ase.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Growth and Poverty Project (GAPP). 01/06/2013 - 31/12/2013

Abstract

The objective of the GAPP-project is to re-evaluate growth and poverty trends in Sub-Saharan Africa. The project consists of a serie of country case studies. The country research teams will employ consistent measurement methods to estimate monetary poverty for years in which adequate household survey exist. The research teams will attempt to reconcile poverty estimates with trends in economic growth and other development indicators.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Burundi land reform: the fields of bitterness. 29/04/2013 - 30/06/2013

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and International Crisis Group (ICG). UA provides ICG research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in the contract.

Researcher(s)

  • Promotor: Kohlhagen Dominik

Research team(s)

IRC/DRC Governance Sector Strategy Analysis. 26/04/2013 - 08/05/2013

Abstract

This project represents a formal service agreement between UA and on the other hand ODI. UA provides ODI research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Multiple pathways to gender-sensitive budget support in the education sector. 15/04/2013 - 15/10/2013

Abstract

The research will focus in particular on budget support to the education sector (sector budget support or general budget support with an education focus) as this is one of key budget support sectors where over the past decade sex disaggregated targets have been introduced in PAFs and where also gender-sector working have been operational. Second, the researchers focus on countries where the EC was involved as a donor because of the fact that our earlier policy advisory work for the EC might facilitate primary data collection. Third, in order to increase internal validity, the researchers have opted to increase sample homogeneity by focusing on one specific region, i.e. Sub-Saharan Africa. The combination of these selection criteria leads to sample of 31 SSA countries.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

IOB Evaluation 'directe financiering NGO's'. 28/03/2013 - 01/04/2014

Abstract

Participation in the reference group to advise the Director of the Institute of Development Policy and Management (IOB) to support the quality of research and to give feedback of the research results.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Beyond the blueprint: in search of successful informal monitoring and evaluation arrangements in Rwanda and Uganda. 01/01/2013 - 31/12/2016

Abstract

The research project aims at contributing to the broad research question: How do developmental states, where formal institutions such as control over corruption, and/or voice and political rights are largely underdeveloped, manage the effective implementation of development policies and the achievement of developmental results? More particularly this research zooms in on the question if and how governments (and other stakeholders) in developmental states actually monitor policy implementation, if and how they monitor progress, if and how they evaluate policy implementation and impact, if and how the generated evidence is fed back into the policy cycle. How, in other words, are the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) arrangements operationalised in these states? And how different are these arrangements from the so-called ideal M&E systems which satisfy commonly agreed upon standards?

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Research in the domain of development cooperation. 01/01/2013 - 30/09/2013

Abstract

This project represents a research contract awarded by the University of Antwerp. The supervisor provides the Antwerp University research mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions stipulated by the university.

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Credit for the Libraries in Social and Human Sciences (Institute of Development Policy and Management). 01/12/2012 - 31/12/2018

Abstract

This project represents a research contract awarded by the University of Antwerp. The supervisor provides the Antwerp University research mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions stipulated by the university.

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International remittances and poverty reduction in the Philippines: evidence from the community-based monitoring system (CBMS) data? 01/10/2012 - 30/09/2017

Abstract

The research aims to analyze international remittances and poverty reduction in the Philippines using the community-based monitoring system data (CBMS). It aims to determine the extent remittances can raise incomes and alleviate poverty among households by analyzing the existing household-level data from CBMS.

Researcher(s)

  • Promotor: Calfat German

Research team(s)

The interplay among household decision-making, gender relations and climate change adaptation policies. Evidence from a quasi-experimental impact study in the Morogoro region, Tanzania. 01/10/2012 - 30/09/2016

Abstract

This research connects to one of the most pressing issue on the development agenda for the coming decades, i.e. climate change and more particularly the need to design effective coping and adaptation strategies in the south. It starts from the observation that thus far micro-level adaptation policies are generally targeted at households, and thus implicitly assume that households act as neutral intermediaries among policy-makers and individuals. This is in sharp contrast to intrahousehold allocation literature which has over the past decade demonstrated that the household does not typically function as a unit with one utility maximizing function where different members pool resources. In fact, it is more likely that the household functions as a locus of cooperation and conflict and that bargaining processes among different household members with different preferences and bargaining power determine whose preferences finally prevail. Strongly diverging preferences and behaviour, oftentimes structured along gender lines, have been recorded in many areas, including in how to adapt to climate change, and in how to manage and conserve natural resources. However, and somehow to our surprise, there has thus far been little cross-reading among climate change adaptation research and intra-household allocation literature. This is exactly what this research projects aims to do. We will in particular zoom into agricultural and water related adaptation interventions in the Rwenzori region in Uganda, an area which is strongly affected by climate change. We will compare the impact of interventions which use slightly different delivery modes that can be traced back to different assumptions about household decision-making. We will compare the impact of interventions targeted at households with interventions targeted at individuals, more specifically women. The study will use a quasi-experimental research design to arrive at conclusions regarding causal inferences, and combine this with qualitative methods to get insight into men's and women's perceptions of how they are affected by climate change, and how and why they respond in particular ways. This research will add to the relatively scarce robust impact studies on the topic and it is particularly relevant against the background of a growing acknowledgement that successful adaptation is not only influenced by technological innovation but also largely shaped by local norms and institutions.

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Citizen-led Gender Budget Initiatives in Local Governments: A Quasi-Experimental Impact study focusing on the Health Sector of Kabale District, Uganda. 01/10/2012 - 30/09/2014

Abstract

The project aims to ascertain whether citizen-led gender budget initiatives have enhanced economic efficiency and effectiveness of public healthcare service delivery; and contributed towards narrowing the gender gap in the health sector of Kabale District, with regard to access, utilisation and control over healthcare services and benefits.

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State institutions and hybrid governance beyond the 'failed' state: a comparative study of custom institutions along the borders of South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. 01/10/2012 - 31/08/2014

Abstract

By studying specific state institutions, this research project aims at contributing to the theoretical debates on the nature of the state in Africa. It therefore discusses the following issues which are part of this commission: government/political systems; political sciences; public policy/administrations; political sociology.

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The impact of sexual violence on social preferences and post-conflict reconstruction: Evidence from DR Congo. 01/10/2012 - 30/09/2013

Abstract

The project focuses on the impact of sexual violence on social preferences and post-conflict reconstruction in DRC. To the best of our knowledge, this would be the first study testing the impact of sexual violence on social preferences using behavioral games.

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Mainstreaming Gender Equality in EU-funded Cooperation with Rwanda. 01/06/2012 - 28/06/2013

Abstract

The objective of the project isto provide highest quality expertise for integrating gender equality issues in the EU and - to the degree this is feasible in full respect of the human rights-based approach to development.

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Joint MSF II evaluations of development interventions at country level: 'Congo'. 01/03/2012 - 28/02/2015

Abstract

Conducting baseline assessments, follow-up assessments and quality control in the context of the consortium project "Joint MFS II Evaluations at Country Level: DR Congo" (project head in order funded by NWO-WOTRO)

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Green microfinance and payments for environmental services: from market-based panaceas towards an integrated approach to sustainable and inclusive rural development. Case studies from Central America. 01/10/2011 - 30/09/2015

Abstract

Today's most popular instruments for ecosystem services and poverty alleviation overlook the complexity of socio-ecological systems. Stressing the significance of institutions and local actors' construction of pathways of change, we analyse the need for, and potential of, a more integrated approach for a more effective contribution to sustainable and inclusive rural development.

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The legal dimension of development: a partnership between the Refugee Law Project (Makerere University) and the Research Group on Law and Development (Antwerp University). 01/10/2011 - 30/09/2013

Abstract

The overall objectives of the SI" are (i) to promote knowledge - at the level of both partners as weil as the wider academic and soeietal constituencies in which they operate - obout the legal dimensions of dellelopment, and (ii) to enhonce the effectiveness of deve!opment interventions through the use of law. This wiJl be done through joint initiatives (under the three classica I functions of a university: education, research and service delivery) taken on the basis of a partnership between a Northern and a Southern partner in which both have the same degree of ownership and in which both benefit from exchanges that go in two directions.

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Revisiting the agrarian question: family-farming and political arenas around land and natural resources in the context of climate change and changing global food chains. Evidence from Nicaragua. 01/10/2011 - 30/09/2013

Abstract

The main hypothesis is that the current global context generates new pressures on and threats for family farming affecting their property rights over natural resources and participation in wealth creation. The main objective is to generate evidence based policy for rural development, focusing on the role of family-farming and lts relation with other types of agricultural production.

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Partner Program for Institutional University Cooperation between the University of Burundi and the Flemish universities, Phase I (2011-2013). 01/04/2011 - 31/03/2014

Abstract

This project represents a formal service agreement between UA and on the other hand VLIR. UA provides VLIR research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

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Partner Program for Institutional University Cooperation between the Catholic University of Congo and the Flemish universities, Phase I (2011-2013). 01/04/2011 - 31/03/2014

Abstract

This project represents a formal service agreement between UA and on the other hand VLIR. UA provides VLIR research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

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Entrepreneurship, Cross-border Trade Networks and Re-migration in South Sudan. 01/11/2009 - 31/10/2013

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand WU. UA provides WU research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

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Impact of the commercial liberalisation on the households in Senegal. 01/10/2009 - 30/09/2013

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand VLIR. UA provides VLIR research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

  • Promotor: Calfat German

Research team(s)

Generating Knowledge and strengthening synergies for rural development. Pilot project for an innovative approach to social learning in Muy Muy and Matiguás, Nicaragua. 01/06/2009 - 31/05/2013

Abstract

Nicaragua is the most rural county of Central America; the only one where the agricultural sector is growing. But rural poverty remains high as growth tends to be exclusionary, leaving behind the land-poor, women and youth, with difficulties to connect to the dynamic sectors and often dependent on non-agricultural activities. The FDL and Nitlapán have developed significant financial and non-financial services to support the development of small scale rural enterprises. They now face important challenges to further improve their products and impact by forging more operational synergy among their programs as well as with allied organizations, and by being more effective in broader incidence in the local and (inter)national development community. The project pilots an innovative program of training-action research, focused upon the systematization of FDL-Nitlapán and similar interventions, and involving all the relevant stakeholders from clients to beneficiaries over local professional staff up to the national level directors. This should make FDL-Nitlapán a more effective 'teaming organization' and create a 'sustainable platform for social leaming among local producers-enterprises and the variety of development actors. It will also contribute to the (inter)national debate about methods to support inclusive rural development.

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Research Platform Improved Aid Architecture and Aid Effectiveness (O*platform). 15/03/2009 - 31/12/2013

Abstract

The overall objectives of the O*platform are: -increased incorporation of insights on aid architecture and aid effectiveness in Belgian DC policy formulation and implementation -increased incorporation of insights on new aid architecture and aid effectiveness in development management in the South.

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