The GovLab, AFD and Expertise France select 7 projects to address COVID-19 challenges in Africa

Out of a field of over 80 proposals by organizations in Africa — many working in collaboration — The Governance Lab (GovLab) at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, L'Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD), and Expertise France chose seven projects to receive the #Data4COVID19 Africa Challenge. The challenge seeks to address the social, economic, and health challenges resulting from COVID-19 in Africa through new collaborations around non-traditional, non-statistical datasets.

Following a call for innovative proposals that ran from December 15, 2020 through February 5, 2021, and with the input of a panel of outside data experts, The GovLab, AFD and their partners selected the following:

  • Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement (Mali) will seek to quantify missed opportunities for COVID-19 screening in vulnerable populations (such as people with HIV).
  • 'Universite Alioune Diop de Bambey (Senegal) will investigate how the crisis impacted the students pursuing higher education and which action can be taken to support them.
  • Nigeria Centre for Disease and Control (Nigeria) will study the social, economic, and political factors that influence individual knowledge and perception of COVID-19.
  • Code for Africa (Nigeria, Senegal) will develop an "African COVID-19 Vulnerability Index" in coordination to give leaders up-to-date and granular resources.
  • The Population Council of Kenya (Kenya, Zimbabwe) will examine how perceptions of COVID-19 and vulnerability to it affect adoption of protective behaviors among different subgroups.
  • Institut National d'Hygiene Publique (Cote d'Ivoire) will study how organizations can track the spread of acute respiratory tract infections with various datasets.
  • Data Science Institute – INPHB CI (Cote d'Ivoire) will seek to understand public needs and concerns about government actions taken amid the pandemic.

Though there's been much progress around the world to develop collaborative data ecosystems that can improve people's lives, there are still significant gaps. By funding this new and innovative work, we hope to build the data infrastructure needed to tackle the pandemic and other dynamic societal threats."

Stefaan Verhulst, Co-Founder and Chief Research and Development Officer, The GovLab

"Creating an environment to enable multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder collaboration for innovation to provide actionable strategic insights and contextual intelligence that leverage on data to address issues related to the COVID19 crisis is at the core of this initiative", said Thomas Melonio, Executive Director of Innovation, Research & Knowledge at AFD. Peter Addo, AFD data specialist and Director of Datalab, echoed this point, noting, "This initiative is part of AFD's effort to prioritize investments in data and the Fourth Industrial Revolution to contribute to an innovation-led, knowledge based economy in Africa."

"The important number of proposals received is a genuine proof that there is a real need for data related support in Africa," said Beata Suszterova, project coordinator within Expertise France. "The selected proposals are all very relevant and we are looking forward to working with our African counterparts on this data challenge."

In addition to funding, funded projects will have access to a Situation Room, an online meeting place where funded researchers and select data experts can meet to discuss their current work, brainstorm solutions to major challenges, and share findings. This resource will enable peer-to-peer learning and broaden the impact and reach of each individual project. Data-driven professionals interested in providing support can send an email inquiring at [email protected]

AFD and its partners will remain engaged and help manage the Situation Room. It will also communicate outcomes as they emerge. Organizations are encouraged to visit for more information on forthcoming work.


NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Posted in: Disease/Infection News | Healthcare News

Tags: Education, HIV, Hygiene, Pandemic, Research, Respiratory, Respiratory Tract Infections, students

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