J-PAL's African Scholars Program
The African Scholars Program provides funding, mentorship and training opportunities to African researchers. The program is currently offered through three of J-PAL’s initiatives—JOI, DigiFI, DAISI—meaning that scholars can apply for funding in those topic areas.
About the Program
The African Scholars Program provides several opportunities to African researchers.
- Formative research: Proposal development grant (up to $10,000)
- Formative research: Pilot grant (up to $75,000)
- Monitoring systems (up to $75,000) [DigiFI only]
- Full randomised evaluations (up to $400,000)
For more information on each of these funding opportunities, please see our African Scholar FAQs.
Application support and mentorship
During the application process, J-PAL staff are available to provide African Scholar teams with light-touch assistance on their proposals. For Scholars who receive funding, targeted mentorship by a J-PAL affiliate or invited researcher will be provided. African Scholars may either identify an eligible mentor before submitting a proposal or be matched with a mentor by J-PAL staff after their proposal has been selected. It is not necessary to have an existing relationship with a mentor in order to apply.
Webinars and workshops
Throughout the year, J-PAL Africa staff run webinars and workshops on topics such as supporting the development of proposals for various initiatives and providing a platform for Scholars to share their work.
For example, DigiFI hosted a four-part webinar series that covers some of the fundamentals of running randomised evaluations that can be found on this page and JOI hosted a webinar at the launch of their Spring 2022 RFP on JOI's research agenda and funding opportunities for African Scholars. To receive updates on future events, please register in our African Scholars database.
Two categories of African Scholars are eligible to receive funding and support under our programs:
- Resident African Scholars include those who have completed a PhD in economics or related field and are based at an African academic institution.
- Non-resident African Scholars include those who completed high school in Africa, have a PhD in economics or related field, and are based at an academic institution outside of Africa.
DigiFI Africa funds both resident and non-resident African Scholars while JOI and DAISI only fund resident African Scholars based in Sub-Saharan Africa. Note that only one member of a research team has to meet the definition of African Scholar for the team to be eligible for funding.
Currently, three of J-PAL’s Initiatives are running the African Scholars Program and each has a specific research scope:
Digital Identification and Finance Initiative in Africa (DigiFI Africa)
DigiFI aims to generate rigorous evidence on how African governments, private companies, and NGOs can leverage digital payments and identification systems to improve lives through better public service delivery, governance, and financial inclusion.
For more information on African Scholars opportunities at DigiFi please click here.
Jobs and Opportunity Initiative (JOI)
Digital Agricultural Innovations and Services Initiative (DAISI)
DAISI aims to generate a rigorous evidence base that carefully identifies whether digital tools and bundled approaches are successful in improving smallholder farmer outcomes, connecting farmers to markets, and expanding commercialization in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
For more information on African Scholars opportunities at DAISI, please click here.
Evaluations by African Scholars
To date, J-PAL has funded 23 African Scholar led projects in 10 countries including Senegal, Ghana, Benin, Nigeria, DRC, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Malawi as well as South Africa.
A full list of funded studies is provided below, grouped by initiative.
Jobs and Opportunities Initiative (JOI)
- Supported Childcare and Female Labor Market Participation in East Africa
- Adoption of Improved Cook Stoves and Women's Decision-making Empowerment in Rural Benin
- Impact of Quality Childcare Services on Women’s Empowerment in Senegal
- Can Speed Dating Initiatives Lead to Better Employment Opportunities in Malawi?
- Which design features of the AJIRA Kenya have the most impact?
- The Impact of Mental Health Therapy on Job Creation and Business Outcomes in Youth and Female-Led Enterprises
- Evaluating Labour Market Outcomes of Education Assistance Programme: Evidence from Randomised Control Trial in the Eastern Cape in South Africa
- Short term Apprenticeship Training and Labour Market Outcomes: Experimental Evidence from Ghana
Digital Identification and Finance Initiative (DigiFI)
- Rural Households' Enrolment in Digital Identification and Payment Systems
- The Impact of Biometric Identification Technology Use on Employee Attendance and Payroll Management: Experimental Evidence From Ethiopia Public Service Sector
- Improving Ghana’s National Health Insurance Biometric Card Renewals: A Randomised Control Trial Using Reminders and Moving Renewal Dates
- Leveraging National Identification and Digital Payment Systems to Nudge Informal Pension Contributions in Ghana
- Digital Transformation and Competition: Evidence from Mobile Money
- Introduction to the “m-tax” mobile payment platform in Senegal: A formative evaluation of the reform
- Improving the supply of mobile money towards better financial inclusion: The case of Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Smart Together: Advancing targeted digital financing and group management dynamics for inclusive agricultural productivity and prosperity in Nigeria
- Digital Identification Systems, Digital Financial Services and Household Welfare in Ghana
- Leveraging digital finance in Ethiopia: Pilot Study
- Biometric Tracking of School Attendance and Human Capital Formation of Pupils: Evidence from Rural Schools in Nigeria