ReFinD organized information sessions bringing together prospective applicants from Africa, Asia, and beyond. The sessions covered instructive presentations, a tour of the newly introduced application portal, and questions and answers.
The virtual stakeholder engagement events were held on March 1st, 8th, and 9th. The latter was focused on commercial providers of agent network services.
Ms. Adadzewa Otoo, the Project Director said: “As a relatively new project, we appreciate the importance of stakeholder engagement in facilitating awareness and meaningful participation in the ReFinD Research Initiative.”
“Drawing people from academia, policy, and industry; the information sessions were successful in reaching our target audience and equipping them with the needed information to enhance their applications”.
The discussion emphasized, among others, the relevance of research institutions as primary learning partners for ReFinD grants. It encouraged partnerships between academia, policymakers, and commercial providers. – stressing that this was critical to design and implement research that is relevant to policy and industry with the potential to affect the development of agent networks at the last mile.
With regards to the research focus, the sessions reiterated the Initiative’s focus on the supply-side perspective of agency network development. Applicants were encouraged to read the ReFinD Framework Paper for further insights on the research objectives and questions.
The sessions also encouraged commercial providers to access the grants for the following interventions;
- Design innovative interventions to extend agent networks to hard-to-reach communities.
- Develop evidence/undertake research to inform the design and roll-out of service/product innovation.
- Test innovations on a pilot/experimental basis.
- Purchase technology to facilitate the rollout of agent networks to the last mile.
- Facilitate partnerships between service providers to advance agent networks to the last mile.
- Undertake specialized training to build the capacity of field staff to advance agent networks.
Participants were thankful for the opportunity to receive first-hand information from the ReFinD team and learn from the insights of other participants.
“I urge everyone to apply for an opportunity to develop your technical expertise or technical product whiles contributing to the development of agent networks in LMICs, ”said Prof. Peter Quartey, the Executive Director of ReFinD.
Applications for the second ReFinD RFP close on March 31, 2023. Apply now.