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DFID Research: 3ie to award 16 Agricultural Innovation Grants in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa

Sixteen new grants will be made by 3ie under the new Agricultural Innovation Thematic Window that closed on the 16th of August 2013.

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Ramadhan stands among his cabbages at his home in Rugina, Rwanda. Picture: Tiggy Ridley/DFID

Ramadhan stands among his cabbages at his home in Rugina, Rwanda. Picture: Tiggy Ridley/DFID

The International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) has just completed a request for proposals under the Agricultural Thematic Window, marking the fourth thematic window undertaken by 3ie.

Thematic windows are designed to fund studies that address a specific set of questions within a specific sector where particular knowledge is needed. 3ie conducts these studies in response to demand from funders wishing to expand public knowledge of what works around the specific theme. The theme to be addressed under these windows is determined through an initial scoping study that identifies what pre-existing evidence exists in this sector and what other studies are currently underway. Once the scoping exercise has been completed a consultative process is coordinated in conjunction with Southern policy makers and other necessary stakeholders to identify and consolidate the focus of the thematic window.

In 2011, 3ie launched the first Social Protection Thematic Window funded by DFID. This thematic window saw 10 grants being awarded to impact evaluations being carried out in Africa, Asia and Latin America. A total of $4.6 million was awarded to impact evaluations that were primarily generating lessons around social intervention programmes and design issues that exist within social protection programmes. Impact evaluations funded under this particular window sought to provide rigorous evidence of what works and what doesn’t especially in cash transfer interventions and other public works interventions.

Previous thematic windows funded by 3ie have also included the HIV Self-Testing Window and the Voluntary Male Medical Circumcision Window. Focusing on innovative methods for HIV prevention and treatment, the HIV Self-Testing Thematic Window focused on the home-based HIV testing programme that has successfully been launched by the Kenyan government. The Kenyan government was interested in research that would provide insights for the future design of the HIV self-testing programme.

3ie identified key questions related to HIV self-tests by reviewing self-testing and rapid diagnostic testing literature and by meeting with key stakeholders in Kenya. Six questions were put out in the request for proposals with a grant being given to the answer of each. Similarly the Voluntary Male Medical Circumcision Window focused on funding impact evaluations that generated evidence on what interventions in Eastern and Southern Africa work to increase the demand for Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision.

Under the newly awarded Agricultural Innovation Thematic Window, impact evaluations in areas of knowledge transfer, contractual arrangements, adoption and soil health will generate rigorous evidence on what interventions implemented primarily by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) are working in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

When thematic studies are completed, a single report may be produced synthesising evidence gathered on the various impact evaluations, highlighting interventions that have worked, why they have worked, as well as why they haven’t.

For more information on potential funding opportunities under upcoming thematic windows, visit the 3ie website.

Published 2 September 2013