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 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 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
Dr. Laura Barasa
Dr. Annet Adong
Dr. Constantine Manda
Dr. Ronald Mulubeka
Dr. Saint Kizito Omala
Dr. Saba Yifredew
Mr. Tewodros Tesemma
Dr. Nantongo Mary Gorret
Dr. Getachew Kassa
Ms. Jennifer Nyakinya