€1 million in grants for two research projects in developing countries
Researchers from four different faculties of Maastricht University have received €1 million in grants for two research projects in developing countries. The two grants, each €500,000, were received from the joint Sustainable Development Goals research programme of NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development and Dutch knowledge institutes. The grants were awarded for research into the development rights of children in various developing countries with ongoing political conflicts, and research into the influence of foreign direct investment on the well-being of female workers in Ethiopia.
Development rights of children
Fons Coomans, who holds the Unesco endowed chair in Human Rights and Peace, and Marieke Hopman, both from the Faculty of Law, submitted a proposal for research in which they not only look at the different laws regarding children and how they influence the lives of children, but also at the various normative rules in society and how these hinder or support the implementation of children's rights at the local level. They will focus on a different development right for each country and will work together with various NGOs so that the research results can immediately be used in practice.
The amount for this grant is actually €500,000, but Hopman and Coomans have set up the project in such a way that the various organisations involved make a contribution so that even more can be achieved. This has increased the total funds available for the project to €788,666.
Marieke Hopman: “I’m very happy—firstly because I really believe in the proposal we’ve written; I think it is well thought out. A lot of smart people are helping out and there is a big budget to make sure that the research results can be used to actually improve the living conditions of these children, who are never looked after precisely because of the political sensitivity in these regions.”
Well-being, women and work in Ethiopia
The interdisciplinary research proposal from Valentina Mazzucato, professor of Globalization & Development, Elsje Fourie and Bilisuma Dito (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences), is the result of collaboration between Kai Jonas (Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience) and Anja Krumeich (Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences).
The project examines the influence of employment created by foreign direct investment (FDI) on the well-being of female employees. In Africa, FDI is the most important source of new employment and economic growth. Ethiopia, one of Africa's fastest growing economies with unprecedented rates of women entering the labour market, will serve as a case study. The question is whether the rapid increase of FDI by different investors in various sectors contributes to the creation of decent work and whether it contributes to the position and well-being of the women working in these sectors. Achieving gender equality among employees remains a major challenge in the rapidly industrialising Ethiopia, which currently ranks among the lowest countries in the Gender Development Index.
Bilisuma Dito: “This is fantastic news! This research will contribute enormously to Ethiopia's efforts to map the FDI landscape using a sustainable social focus.”