Duke Africa Initiative Research Fund Grantees 


Sustainable Development, Energy Access, and Entrepreneurship 

The AI supported several events on energy access, entrepreneurship, the productive use of power, and economic development in Africa. Katherine Lucey (CEO of Solar Sister), Kate Steel (former Director of the Energy Office at Power Africa, and co-founder and COO of Nithio), Matthew Tiedemann (COO of Power for All), and Rotimi Thomas (Co-Founder at Aspire Power Solutions) were all featured speakers. In addition to conversations with faculty and staff researchers, each of the visitors offered a public talk for students, all of which were well attended.

  • Marc Jeuland, Sanford School of Public Policy & Duke Global Health Institute

Research Africa 

The AI funding helped the Research Africa Network purchase materials for reviewers who commit to review books or films for publication in Research Africa Reviews. The AI funds also helped pay a student assistant who monitored, edited, and compiled data and communiqués for Research Africa’s mailing list.

  • Mbaye Lo, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Building the African City: Infrastructure and Mobility in the African Past and Present 

Four scholars studying African cities (Ademide Adelusi-Adeluyi, Caroline Wanjiku Kihato, Loren B. Landau, and Samuel Shearer) came to Duke to build on the conversation happening here and on the continent about the intersections between infrastructure, cities, and mobility. The goal was to foster interdisciplinary dialogue and incubate a potential long-term writing project on how African experiences inform broader ethnographic and historical debates about migration and infrastructure. The participants felt that their own projects had moved substantially forward while also beginning to imagine a possible collaborative writing project. Special thanks to Sam Daly (AAAS) for facilitating the day-long dialogue.

  • Kathryn Mathers and Sam Daly, International Comparative Studies & African and African American Studies

The Value of Love: Global Perspectives on the Economy of Care 

This project, launched in spring 2019, reconsiders the question of the value of care labor from the perspective of the global south. The activities for the semester included a 500-level course that culminated in a two-day workshop on April 11-12 that served as a brainstorming session for framing a larger, multi-year grant for an interdisciplinary, international working group. The AI funds allowed for the inclusion of two participants to travel to Duke from the African continent.

  • Jocelyn Olcott, History

Language Matters II: African Resettlement in Durham, NC 

The AI funds helped to support the creation of the Duke HELLO (Help for English Language Learners Online) website, which is designed to provide transitional support for African refugees living in North Carolina. The website provides videos, guides, and resources on topics ranging from basic greetings in English to how to use an ATM, prepare for a job interview, or find a doctor.

  • Deb Reisinger, Romance Studies


Part sculpture, part light installation and video animation, Cornered is an immersive visual experience that represents the motivation and struggles of immigrants leaving their home country and making an attempt, most often failed, to cross the border from Morocco to the Spanish cities of Melilla and Ceuta, the only European cities on Africa’s mainland. AI funds supported the creation of this project from its inception, a project which was featured as a premier element of the inTransit exhibition on migration in and around Europe.

  • Raquel Salvatella de Prada, Art, Art History and Visual Studies

Health and Economic Growth: Stories from Africa 

In the fall of 2018, four centers at Duke – The Center for Policy Impact in Global Health (CPIGH), the Duke Center for International Development (DCID), the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, and the Duke Global Health Innovations Center (DGHIC), collaborated to host three seminars called Stories from Africa. These seminars examined key development challenges facing the continent, creating an innovative platform for generating ideas, discussing challenges, and proposing solutions

  • Gavin Yamey, Duke Global Health Institute