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The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and deepened inequalities worldwide. High-quality, policy-relevant research is being generated through innovative partnerships to meet the needs and reflect the perspectives of vulnerable and marginalized populations. 

IDRC has invested nearly CAD55 million in COVID-19 programming in more than 65 countries. Results so far demonstrate how these initiatives are producing crucial evidence and insights from the Global South that support solutions to the wide-ranging direct and indirect impact of COVID-19. 

These examples offer a sampling of results emerging from IDRC-supported research, with additional results and insights available at the bottom of this page:  

  • Research on COVID-19 and education in Africa documents serious, unexpected social outcomes from school closures, such as pregnancy increases among schoolgirls, and offers recommendations to better respond to future disruptions in education.    

  • Research on the pandemic has also generated recommendations on policies and practical measures that can strengthen food production, livelihoods and social safety nets to ensure greater food security and sustainable food systems in times of crisis.  

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) is playing a pivotal role in pandemic public health decision-making in several countries across Africa. At the centre of predictive modeling and forecasting research is the creation of AI and data-powered dashboards, which display locally relevant information for the public and policymakers in Botswana, Nigeria, Eswatini, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. 

COVID-19 is a global challenge that requires a global response based on knowledge from all parts of the world. Building on our extensive network of researchers from low- and middle-income countries, IDRC’s innovative research programs support an effective COVID-19 response and recovery. We continue to work collaboratively with partners worldwide to identify research priorities that respond to the pandemic and that support a sustainable recovery that benefits everyone, everywhere. 

More than 60 IDRC-supported research projects across six initiatives are studying the impact of the pandemic, and developing and testing effective interventions: 

These rapid-response initiatives address urgent local needs, focus on the most vulnerable people and communities and stay true to our commitment to invest in high-quality research and innovation in developing countries. 

IDRC also partnered with South Africa’s National Research Foundation to launch 80 activities under the COVID-19 Africa Rapid Grant Fund. Through this fund, African researchers, science communicators and science advisers in 17 countries are ensuring that knowledge on COVID-19 in Africa is produced, widely shared and used to make decisions. 

Through the Global Partnership for Education’s Knowledge and Innovation Exchange, we also support learning and information sharing in Africa to meet the education system needs created by COVID-19. The Observatory on COVID-19 responses in Africa’s educational systems tracks information and evidence about policies and practices to support the operation of education systems and the well-being of children whose schooling has been disrupted by the pandemic.  

Results and insights

COVID-19 Impact: Testimonials from the Field

IDRC recipients, spread out over the Global South, are rising above adversity to face many of the unique research challenges posed by the pandemic. IDRC is grateful for their commitment to the important work that IDRC supports around the world, especially during these uncertain times.

COVID-19 Impact: Testimonials from the Field - an interview with Dr. Shadi Saleh​

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An interview with Winnie Bikaako

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An interview with Omotayo Fakinlede

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Sylvain Cherkaoui/Panos Pictures