International Centre for Evaluation and Development (ICED) has received a $1.56 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fund its two-year research initiative.

The initiative is designed to increase understanding of infrastructure’s role in improving diets and women’s economic empowerment in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

The research initiative will focus on three policy areas: the impact of different types of infrastructure on access to affordable, safe, and nutritious diets, the types and design of infrastructure investments, and whether they are conducive to advancing the choices that low-income consumers make.

The initiative also includes the role of policymakers and development organizations in strengthening the design of gender-inclusive and nutrition-sensitive infrastructure investments.

A release issued by the ICED noted that lack of infrastructure had emerged as a major challenge for agricultural development on the continent as it poses a great risk to rural livelihoods by hindering access to affordable, healthy, safe and nutritious diets by low-income producers and consumers.

The release highlighted that the lack of access to inclusive infrastructure and safe and nutritious diets also had a negative impact on women’s economic empowerment.

President of ICED, Dr David Sarfo Ameyaw, said, “ICED is excited about this grant that will go a long way in identifying fundamental evidence gaps that, if addressed, will bring African countries closer to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2, 3, 5 and 10.” 

He said incorporating the diverse needs of girls and women in infrastructure development empowers them by including their voices in the decision-making process.

“This initiative will gather evidence that will guide governments in Africa on how to plan, deliver, and manage infrastructural development based on gender mainstreaming approach to address gender-based barriers impeding access to infrastructure services,” he said.

He said ICED anticipated that the findings under this research initiative would be instrumental in identifying emerging knowledge and evidence that can shape better infrastructure policies that contribute toward positive development outcomes for all in Africa. 

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