Three FASoS researchers secure NWO-WOTRO grant

Three members of the Globalisation, Transnationalism and Development (GTD) research group have received a €500,000 grant to investigate the wellbeing of female workers in Ethiopian farms and factories. Prof. Valentina Mazzucato, Dr. Elsje Fourie and Dr. Bilisuma Dito will collaborate with colleagues from FPN and FHML, as well as with the Ethiopian Economics Association.

This interdisciplinary research proposal from Valentina Mazzucato, Elsje Fourie and Bilisuma Dito is the result of collaboration with Kai Jonas (Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience) and Anja Krumeich (Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences). The Ethiopian Economics Association will be the local partner, while advocacy organisation HIVOS and Maastricht-based think-tank ECDPM will provide policy advice.

The project will be funded by the joint Sustainable Development Goals research programme of NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development. It will examine 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.

NWO-WOTRO: “The research projects are aimed at generating new, evidence-based knowledge and outputs that are accessible, affordable and applicable for practitioners in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). To enhance the use of generated knowledge, selected projects include close cooperation between Dutch and local researchers, between different disciplines and between knowledge institutes, governments, NGOs, private partners, or other relevant end-users. Additionally, projects are expected to make an effort to share their plans, progress and outputs with organisations that potentially may use the knowledge generated and tangible outputs.”

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.”

In total, researchers from four different faculties of Maastricht University have received €1 million in grants for two research projects in developing countries.

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