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National agency funds ND foreign aid in Ghana

KATIE McCARTY | Wednesday, November 20, 2013

 

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) recently awarded $375,000 to The University of Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD) to conduct research on the MCC’s water project in Ghana.

The MCC is an independent U.S. foreign aid agency founded by Congress in 2004. The MCC designed its program in Ghana with the intention of using water projects to alleviate disease and poverty in the country.

Michael Sweikar, managing director of NDIGD, said the blank purchase agreement, reached in June, will enable NDIGD to monitor MCC’s project and to evaluate the initiative’s overall effects. 

“The contract with them provides assistance in monitoring and evaluation to help measure the impact of one of their water interventions in Ghana,” Sweikar said.

NDIGD monitoring and evaluation specialist Lila Khatiwada said the project aims to reduce diseases and widespread health problems, such as diarrhea, in some of the poorest areas of Ghana.

“MCC implemented water interventions in 30 districts in Ghana for [the] poorest of the poor,” Khatiwada said. “They provide water points, water holes and water systems to extend to newer communities.”

Khatiwada said comparing communities that receive MCC water treatments with those that do not will be NDIGD’s primary method of assessment. 

“We will be using rigorous study,” he said. “One community receives the [MCC’s] water treatment, and this is called the ‘treatment community.’ Similar communities we call ‘control communities’ did not receive the treatment. We will compare the outcome between the two communities.”

Khatiwada said NDIGD collected baseline data for the relevant communities in 2010. It will compare that data to post-treatment statistics that it will collect sometime in 2014.

“The hypothesis is that there will be a reduction in disease [in the treatment community],” Khatiwada said. “It could be untrue, partially true, but we are testing that.”

Sweikar said the involvement of Notre Dame faculty is an important aspect of the project.  Edwin Michael, professor of biological sciences and a member of Notre Dame’s Eck Institute for Global Health, and Joe Kaboski, professor of economics, are working with Khatiwada and NDIGD monitoring and evaluation specialist Juan Carlos Guzman to design the study and complete the research. 

“The faculty has the chance to analyze the data and future publication,” Sweikar said. “Interdisciplinary strengths in global health add a diverse array of subject area knowledge that is beneficial to the team.”

Contact Katie McCarty at kmccar16@nd.edu