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HomeRESEARCH GRANTS UPDATESEmpowering African Youth: AFWASA-USAID Research Grants for Sustainable Water Solutions

Empowering African Youth: AFWASA-USAID Research Grants for Sustainable Water Solutions

In collaboration with USAID, the African Water and Sanitation Association (AFWASA) is proud to announce research grants tailored for Young Water and Sanitation Professionals. These grants aim to bolster capacity within the African water-sanitation-hygiene sector (Africap) by fostering research initiatives among master’s level students and engineers nearing completion of their training. Each grant, valued at a maximum of $1,000 USD, supports research endeavors resulting in a comprehensive scientific report addressing themes pertinent to the Water, Hygiene, and Sanitation sector.

Throughout the academic years spanning 2016-2019, AFWASA allocated sixty scholarships to students hailing from eleven countries across West and Central Africa. Building on this initiative, additional scholarships will be disbursed across the African continent over a three-year period (2021-2024). Notably, for the 2022-2023 academic year, USAID contributed fifteen scholarships, aligning with Africap’s mission, while the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through SAO CWIS awarded five scholarships to young women to bridge the gender gap in water, sanitation, and hygiene research.

Research Themes

For the academic year 2023-2024, the following themes have been identified for scholarship recipients:

  1. Approaches to reducing Unrevenue Water in water companies
  2. Improvement of Water Quality
  3. Water services in low-income urban areas
  4. Improvement of urban & peri-urban sanitation
  5. Use of ICT (digital tools) in water and sanitation services
  6. Water Resource Management
  7. Water, Sanitation, and Gender
  8. Circular economy
  9. Climate change


Each scholarship recipient is entitled to a maximum of $1,000 USD. Sixty percent (60%) of this amount is disbursed upon finalization and approval of the detailed research plan, endorsed by the research supervisor and submitted to the AFWASA Research and Capacity Building Program. The remaining forty percent (40%) is released upon submission of the electronic copy of the final research report.

Application Process

Prospective candidates are required to formulate their research topics based on one of the themes outlined in the call for applications. To be eligible, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Citizenship of a sub-Saharan African country eligible for USAID funding
  • Good academic standing with their institution
  • Submission of an application file including:
    • Copy of student card or registration receipt for the current year (Master 2)
    • Bachelor’s degree
    • Curriculum vitae (maximum 3 pages)
    • Three letters of recommendation (one from the academic supervisor) certifying enrollment in Master 2
    • The project sheet, available for download on the official webpage

Application Deadline: April 15, 2024

AFWASA-USAID Research Grants: Empowering African Youth for Sustainable Water Solutions

The research grants provided by AFWASA in collaboration with USAID hold significant importance for young Africans in several ways:

  1. Capacity Building: The grants aim to bolster the capacity of young professionals in the water-sanitation-hygiene sector in Africa. By providing financial support for research initiatives, the program helps students and engineers near the completion of their training to gain practical experience and expertise in addressing critical issues within the sector.
  2. Empowerment: The grants empower young Africans to conduct research on topics that are pertinent to the development and sustainability of water, hygiene, and sanitation services in their respective communities and countries. This empowerment is crucial for fostering local expertise and ownership in addressing the unique challenges faced by African nations in the water and sanitation sector.
  3. Knowledge Creation and Innovation: Through research, scholarship recipients have the opportunity to contribute new knowledge, innovative solutions, and best practices to the field of water, hygiene, and sanitation. By exploring themes such as water quality improvement, sanitation in urban areas, and the use of digital tools in service delivery, scholars can generate insights that inform policy, practice, and technology development.
  4. Addressing Gender Disparities: The grants also address gender disparities by providing specific scholarships to young women. By encouraging female participation in water, sanitation, and hygiene research, the program helps bridge the gender gap in STEM fields and promotes gender equality in the sector.
  5. Partnerships and Collaboration: The collaboration between AFWASA, USAID, and other organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation demonstrates the importance of partnerships in addressing complex development challenges. By leveraging resources and expertise from multiple stakeholders, the program can achieve greater impact and sustainability in its efforts to improve water and sanitation services across Africa.

In conclusion, the AFWASA-USAID Research Grants represent a pivotal opportunity for African youth to drive sustainable change in the water, hygiene, and sanitation sector. Through capacity building, empowerment, and collaboration, these grants not only address critical challenges but also foster innovation and gender equality. As we look forward, the impact of these initiatives promises to shape a more resilient and inclusive future for communities across the African continent.

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the USAID Research Grants.

Cite this article as (APA format):

AR Managing Editor (2024). Empowering African Youth: AFWASA-USAID Research Grants for Sustainable Water Solutions. Retrieved from https://www.africanresearchers.org/empowering-african-youth-afwasa-usaid-research-grants-for-sustainable-water-solutions/


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