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  DSU Receives $1.4M Grant for West Africa Project


The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service has enlisted a team of DSU faculty members to provide technical expertise in researching and evaluating ongoing USDA projects in the West Africa region

DSU Receives $1.4M Grant for West Africa Project
DSU ASSESS Team: (l-r) Dr. Hankoua Bertrand, Dr. Samuel Besong, Dr. Marikis Alvarez (principal investigator) Dr. Albert Essel and Dr. Michael Casson. The team has been awarded a five-year, $1.4 million USDA grant to evaluate U.S. government agriculture, environmental and trade programs in 21 countries of West Africa.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing the DSU faculty team with a $1.4 million grant over five years as part of its “Analytical Support Services and Evaluations for Sustainable Systems in Agriculture, Environment and Trade (ASSESS)” program.

The program is a partnership between DSU, University of Rhode Island and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana.

Dr. Marikis Alvarez, associate dean for research in the DSU College of Agriculture and Related Sciences, is the principal investigator, heading a DSU team that includes: Dr. Albert Essel, associate dean for Cooperative Extension; Dr. Samuel Besong, chair of the Department of Human Ecology; Dr. Hankoua Bertrand, senior research scientist; and Dr. Michael Casson, director of the University Center for Economic Development and International Trade.

As part of the ASSESS Program, the DSU team will evaluate the impact of U.S. government projects related to agriculture, the environment and trade in 21 countries of West Africa.  The team will assist in the development of a Regional Center of Excellence, which will be a facility in Ghana where monitoring and evaluation training will be given to West African countries.

Dr. Alvarez said the information gathered through the evaluation process will be used in future USDA Foreign Agricultural Service decisions and policy making.

“This project is catalyzing an interdisciplinary approach in its implementation by using DSU’s relevant expertise from diverse areas,” Dr. Alvarez said.

He added that the project will help DSU build additional internal capacity for such activities, as well as provide the University some leverage that could result in future significant grants.