Status: Ongoing

Demand-Driven Research Initiative (DDRI)

NIERA launched its flagship program - the Demand-Driven Research Initiative (DDRI) that will enable the network to advance the uptake of evidence-based research in development programming and policy decisions.

With funding from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the goal of DDRI is to respond to clear and specific evidence needs of policymakers by designing and implementing multi-disciplinary and multi-country research and policy outreach projects on thematic areas where we have a competitive advantage including health, agriculture, finance, economics, education, and youth empowerment with cross-cutting themes of gender, equity, and inclusion.

DDRI has successfully identified three DFE projects, developed by members of our Network, that respond to the specific evidence needs of policymakers in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Tanzania namely:

Project 1: Gamified Savings as a Problem Gambling Intervention

Overview: The rapid evolution of mobile technology in Kenya and Uganda had led to the proliferation of mobile gambling applications. Specifically, mobile sports betting applications are popular among the youth and are likely to increase gambling expenditure and undermine savings. However, mobile technology also offers a nascent space for mobile-based gambling interventions. The main objective of this study is to investigate the impact of gamified soccer-based prize-linked savings products on savings and gambling expenditure among male youth in Kenya and Uganda. This study will use a lab-in-the-field experiment allowing us to test the individual and joint effects of savings products that incorporate the potential for winning large (but low likelihood) prizes as well as the effects of fun in the form of gamification of this savings reward, designed to resemble the structure of sports betting. In effect, this project will examine if savings products that leverage skewed rewards and a gamified experience increase savings and potentially crowd out other problematic sports betting behavior.

Countries of Focus: Kenya and Uganda

Project Team: Dr. Laura Barasa, Dr. Annet Adong, Dr. Sylvan Herskowitz and Dr. Maximilian Müller

Project 2: Reducing Vaccine Hesitancy and Misinformation on COVID-19: Evidence from Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Uganda

Overview: Experts agree that vaccination is the most effective way to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control. Nevertheless, vaccination rates have slowed and substantial segments of the population report an unwillingness to get vaccinated. We propose to use a randomized placebo-controlled trial, to evaluate an SMS campaign targeting mobile phone subscribers with two different SMS content, sent at least twice, aimed at increasing vaccine uptake. We hypothesize that endorsement messages from public celebrities (T1) and religious leaders (T2) might induce people to get vaccinated. A placebo group of mobile subscribers will receive an SMS unrelated to the aforementioned interventions. We intend to share effective messages and information on where to access vaccinations with everyone in our sample no more than 3 months after treatment. Our proposed work is expected to inform the literature on the social science of persuasion more broadly but specifically as it relates to persuading adults to take up health interventions, particularly a COVID-19 vaccine. We expect our results to be highly informative for Ethiopian, Tanzanian, and Ugandan public health policy and more broadly by providing precise estimates of precise content that may help increase COVID-19 vaccine uptake and accelerate an end to this pandemic.

Countries of Focus: Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Uganda

Project Team: Dr. Constantine Manda, Tewodros Tesemma, Dr. Saba Yifredew, Dr. Ronald Mulubeke and Prof Saint Kizito Omala

Project 3:Reducing Poverty Among the Urban Poor in Uganda. Evaluating The Effectiveness and Inclusiveness of the Parish Development Model

Overview: This study will evaluate the impact of agri-food value chain interventions under the Parish Development Model (PDM), on the welfare of the vulnerable urban poor in Kampala City. Agri-food enterprise groups are organized at the parish and hence, we shall specifically aim at evaluating the impact of PDM funds on beneficiaries’ livelihoods and welfare by answering the following questions.

1. What is the impact of membership in the agri-food enterprise groups under the PDM on the incomes of beneficiary households in urban and peri-urban areas of Kampala City?

2. What is the impact of membership in the agri-food enterprise groups under the PDM on the poverty levels of beneficiary households in urban and peri-urban areas of Kampala City?

3. What are the distributional impacts of the PDM on different categories of beneficiary households including the poor, women, and youth in urban and peri-urban areas of Kampala City?

4. How does inclusive participation in decision-making in terms of access to resources, benefits, and opportunities facilitate PDM’s efforts in poverty reduction?

A mixed-method research design combining qualitative and quantitative approaches, and quasi-experimental methods, specifically the regression discontinuity design and double-difference methods for analysis will be employed.

Country of Focus: Uganda

Project Team: Dr. Nantongo Mary Gorret and Dr. Enoch Owusu-Sekyere

Team Members

Dr. Laura Barasa

Laura Barasa holds a PhD in Economics from Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Dr. Barasa is a lecturer at the University of Nairobi, School of Economics. Her research interests revolve aro...

Dr. Annet Adong

​Annet Adong is currently a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Center for Development Research, University of Bonn, and holds a Ph.D in Development Economics from the University of Bonn. Annet speciali...

Dr. Constantine Manda

Constantine Manda has a PhD in Political Science from Yale University. He is also co-founder & inaugural Director of the Impact Evaluation Lab at Tanzania’s Economic & Social Research Founda...

Dr. Ronald Mulubeka

Dr. Ronald Mulebeke is a PhD Candidate in Medical Sciences at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, and a Research Fellow at Makerere University School of Public Health, Uganda. Mulebeke has over 9 year...

Dr. Saint Kizito Omala

Dr. Kizito Omala is the Head of the Department of Statistical Methods and Actuarial Science under School of Statistics and Planning at Makerere University, Uganda. Prior to this, Kizito taught full-ti...

Dr. Saba Yifredew

Saba Yifredew has a PhD in Economics from Verona University, Italy and is currently work as an assistant Professor at the Department of Economics in Addis Ababa University. Her current research is in ...

Mr. Tewodros Tesemma

Tewodros Tesemma is a PhD candidate in Economics at University of Gothenburg, Sweden and holds an Master in Economics from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Tesemma is also an Associate Researche...

Dr. Nantongo Mary Gorret

Mary Nantongo is a lecturer at the Department of Economics, Makerere University Business School and a Research fellow in Applied Development Finance under the European Investment Bank/Global Deve...

Dr. Getachew Kassa

Dr. Getachew Mullu Kassa completed his PhD in Reproductive Health Sciences from the PAN African University Life and Earth Science Institute, University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He also obtained his Master ...

Ms. Jennifer Nyakinya

Ms. Jennifer Nyakinya is a development researcher and evidence-to-policy champion with more than 10 years of progressive experience in developing and managing donor-funded projects that lead to soc...