The University of California, Davis has announced the launch of a research program aimed at developing and testing approaches to lifting rural families out of poverty.
Established with up to $30 million over five years from USAID, the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Markets, Risk, and Resilience (MRR) initiative will study the root causes of poverty and food insecurity in the developing world, with an emphasis on risks from natural and man-made disasters such as drought, flood, and conflict. While disasters and conflict are leading drivers of poverty, they also keep families in poverty by discouraging investments in potentially profitable crops and businesses.
The MRR team at UC Davis will manage a portfolio of projects that field-test potential solutions to the complex challenges of rural poverty and will work to establish scalable programs and proven approaches that national governments and development agencies such as USAID can use to keep more families from falling into poverty and lift up those who are already poor. According to USAID, the approach is focused on building resilience — the ability of people and systems to mitigate, adapt to, and recover from economic shocks and stresses — which, following a reorganization of its work, has become a primary focus within the agency.
"The MRR Innovation Lab will test new and promising ways to take agricultural and financial innovations from the lab to the field," said MRR Innovation Lab associate director Tara Chiu. "Every family should have the ability to take control of their future."