Research Grants: "Learning from Peace in Sub-Saharan Africa"

Practitioners and policymakers in the peacebuilding field often focus on studying the causes and consequences of conflict at the expense of examining the causes of peace. To help societies to become more peaceful, it is necessary to have a better understanding of why some regions, countries, states or communities are able to prevent, mitigate and resolve violent conflict, while others are not. This requires a deeper and evidence-based analysis of what governing processes, social institutions, contextual factors and other practices work to enhance resilience, contribute to a sustainable peace and decrease fragility.


USIP’s Africa team is seeking concept notes that examine a specific example of learning from peace, drawing examples from sub-Saharan Africa. In particular, the Africa team is interested in understanding a range of phenomena, including resilience to violence in conflict situations (violent extremism, inter-ethnic violence, sexual and gender based violence, election and politically-motivated violence), effective practices for prevention and successful mechanisms for reconciliation and sustainable peacebuilding. The methodology may be quantitative or qualitative through comparative analysis, surveys, focus group research, key informant interviews or other forms of action research.

The USIP call for concept notes on “Learning from Peace in sub-Saharan Africa” falls under the grantmaking program of USIP’s Middle East and Africa Center (MEA). It is designed to support research in Africa. Priority will be given to local organizations, though U.S. and international organizations and universities with a strong history of work in the region may also apply.

Eligibility and Guidance

  • In their concept notes, applicants should make clear why the case or cases they propose are priorities when considering the topic of learning from peace.
  • All U.S. and foreign non-profit organizations and universities are eligible to apply for funding, although preference will be given to local organizations in the region. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have personnel and organizational capacity in the area where the project would be implemented.
  • Support cannot be provided to government agencies or to individuals working for government agencies.
  • The Institute of Peace does not provide funds for the creation of a new organization, for the construction or maintenance of an office, for direct social services, or for microenterprise projects.
  • Funding is not available for degree work (payment of tuition fees or support for M.A. of Ph.D.-related work). Requests for dissertation research support should be directed to USIP’s Jennings Randolph Peace Scholar Dissertation Program.

Proposal Guidance

Stronger project proposals will include or reflect:

  • A clearly articulated link to USIP’s conflict resolution and peacebuilding mandate.
  • A demonstrated-awareness of previous and current related work being implemented by other organizations, and an explanation of how the proposed project offers a unique contribution.
  • A well-developed project logic, with clearly-defined objectives aligning with the problem to be addressed, and clearly-defined activities that relate to the objectives.
  • A demonstrated- organizational capacity and, where relevant, personnel based in the countries where the grant funds are being applied.
  • A demonstrated- awareness of possible risks and security challenges, as well as strategies to mitigate them.
  • A thoughtful monitoring and evaluation plan that will provide evidence on whether the project achieved its objectives.
  • A demonstrated- ability to engage men and women equally in their programing as appropriate to the scope of the project.


Subject to available funding, current plans for this solicitation are as follows:

Total funding Allocation: $200,000

Number of projects funded: 2 - 3

Grant range: $25,000 (minimum) to $100,000 (maximum)

Application date
9 Nov 2015
America United States Mid-Atlantic
Social sciences Business and Administrative Sciences Communication Sciences Demography Economics Environmental Sciences Gender Studies Geography International Relations Law Pedagogic & Education Research Political science Psychology & Cognitive Sciences Social Anthropology Sociology
Required post-doc experience: 
between 0 and 99 years
Grants available
Award granted
US$ 100.000