Building Sustainable Partnerships for Capacity Strengthening and Impact

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In the quest to transform lives and livelihoods in Africa and across the Global South, ICED has dedicated itself to building partnerships to enhance the skills and capacities of local researchers. These partnerships, forged between ICED and both local and foreign institutions and organizations, have led to projects and programs that are yielding fruit. Fruit in terms of community impact, skill growth, network development, and so much more.

Two of those partnerships were demonstrated in late October and early November through the visits of Kathryn Stahlberg, Acting Division Chief and Senior Risk Advisor for USAID’s Center for Resilience, and Professor Peter Quartey from the Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research’s (ISSER UG) Retail Finance Distribution (ReFinD) Research Initiative. The visits presented ICED and its partners with opportunities to check in on ongoing projects and exchange thoughts and ideas on further collaboration.

During Kathryn’s visit, on October 26, 2023, she met with ALL-IN members in-person and virtually: respectively, Fred Dzanku (principal investigator) and Prince Baah (research assistant), from University of Ghana’s Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research (ISSER UG), and Prof. John Kuwornu (principal investigator) from University of Energy and Natural Resources, in Sunyani, Ghana. The three are among several African researchers who are actively working on various projects in the Advancing Local Leadership, Innovation and Networks (ALL-IN) program, funded by Feed the Future MRR Innovation Lab and supported by USAID. Kathryn’s meeting with the Principal Investigators (PI) included discussions and updates on the ongoing research projects in Ghana (click here for more information).

The discussions revolved around the discoveries from the research, the impact on the communities, and further considerations for research. Kathryn’s final words to the researchers and the ICED team mirrored the collaborative spirit of the ALL-IN program: “Looking to the future, let’s identify the problem and solve it together”.

On November 7, 2023, Professor Quartey visited ICED’s Ghana office, along with his colleagues, Dr. Aba Crentsil and Adadzewa Otoo, . This visit followed a pre-event meeting between ICED and ReFinD ISSER, confirming a collaboration for the upcoming Evidence to Action (E2A) Conference 2024. The team’s presence was an opportunity for ICED researchers to be inspired to look beyond their research for impact.  After touring the office complex, Professor Quartey and his colleagues had a brief roundtable discussion with the ICED research team and attending staff. He encouraged ICED researchers to dedicate themselves to the research, knowing that it would help build their communities further. Several of ICED’s researchers and staff are former students of the University of Ghana, and Professor Quartey reminded them that making an impact was also possible by sharing their experiences with fellow researchers. Concluding the conversation, Professor Quartey extended an invitation to the researchers to lecture at ISSER UG and inspire upcoming researchers as well, saying, “Take advantage of this available partnership, come lecture & share your knowledge, & impact future researchers.”

These visits and subsequent conversations serve as a testament to the impact that the right partnerships can have on individuals and communities. USAID and ReFinD ISSER are two of several partners that are collaborating with and supporting ICED in realizing its vision of “a Global South where evidence drives policies and and actions for transformation of lives and livelihoods”.