Case Studies

Grants.Global brings together research experts across the globe--facilitating partnerships and targeting thematically focused funding opportunities. Below are three case studies:


Case Study 1: USAID Burma

Program Description: Developing a Sustainable Seafood Industry Infrastructure in Myanmar (Burma)
USAID Award: $1,728,871
Period of Agreement: September 22, 2014 thru September 21, 2017

Principal Investigator: Kevin Fitzsimmons, Director, International Programs, University of Arizona College of Agriculture & Life Sciences & Professor, Environmental Science
Chief of Party: Soe Tun, President, Myanmar Shrimp Association
Co-Principal Investigator: Dr. Kay Lwin, Marine Biology Specialist, Yangon University
Expert, Myanmar Aquaculture: May Myat Noe Lwin, Ph.D. candidate, Auburn University

Thanks to a 1.7+ million-dollar grant award from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), University of Arizona (UA) researcher, Kevin Fitzsimmons and partners from Yangon University (YU), Pathein University (PU), Auburn University (AU), as well as private partners (Ripple Fish, Regal Springs, Handy Seafoods, DuPont, and Tiran Group) are now working together to restore severely decimated aquaculture related to unsophisticated systems in poverty-ridden Burma--the result of a many-layered problem caused by a combination of un-regulated fish, shrimp, crab and eel farming and harvesting, a lack of government rules enforcing specific seafood harvest weights, mangrove forest decimation, as well as incorrect business techniques, and including discrimination against women.

The idea behind Fitzsimmons’ research stems from a deep commitment to helping Myanmar overhaul a broken system. There is much to be done, and beginning in September, 2014 Fitzsimmons’ well-organized team took-on a grand task of working with Burmese provinces to build capacity and training at several levels: in December, 2014 the Team began implementing structures for a seafood and water quality lab, a service center--which includes a teaching facility, scholarships and internships for students in aquaculture and fisheries--and a training and certificate program for fishers, fish farmers, small and mid-size business owners and managers.  Soon experts from the UA's Southwest Institute for Research on Women (SIROW) will hold several workshops training participants on the role of women in the Myanmar seafood industry--specifically educating women and men with regard to women’s rights under the Myanmar constitution.

University partnerships between the UA, YU, PU, AU and including Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) were successfully designed to explicitly address USAID’s Feed the Future and Millennium Development goals connected to food security, health and transparent governance through collaborative activities: expanding the capacity of higher education institutions in Myanmar to support a strong marine and inland fisheries sector.


Case Study 2: Securing Water for Food

Program Description: USAID Securing Water For Food: A Grand Challenge for Development ~ The Buried Diffuser, Tunisia

USAID and its partners source science, technology, and business model innovations with potential to achieve large-scale development impact. Objective: to enable the production of more food with less water, and/or make more water available for food production, processing and distribution in developing and emerging countries.

Principal Investigator: Joel Cuello, Professor, Agricultural-Biosystems Engineering, University of Arizona
Co-Investigator:  Bellacheb Chahbani, CEO, CHATECH SA

Partner Institutions: Global Institute Strategic Agriculture in Dry Lands (GISAD), College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Arizona; CHAHTECH SA, Djerban, Tunisia; The Arid Regions Institute (ARI) in Medenine, Tunisia and Universidad de las Americas Puebla (UDLAP); Tunisia NGO’s: Association des jeunes de Zammour, Ben Kheddache, Tunisia; Appui aux Initiatives de Développement, Tunisia; Association de Coopération en Tunisie (ACT), and ACT Gabès, Tunisia.

University of Arizona’s, Joel Cuello and Bellacheb Chahbani, CEO of CHAHTECH SA (a Tunisian based company specializing in inventing, manufacturing, and distributing irrigation systems) worked together with UA’s Grants.Global to successfully submit a USAID Concept Paper on The Buried Diffuser (BD); USAID heralded BD worthy for SWFF funding, and in mid-July, 2015 the Team was invited to submit a full proposal.

Innovators, Cuello and Chahbani actively seek ways to implement sustainable irrigation in arid and semi-arid developing and emerging countries. Agriculture is the largest water consumer worldwide, comprising 70 percent of all water withdrawals globally, and in arid land countries like Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, water scarcity is a persistent challenge--made more acute by climate change and rapid urbanization--inducing more and more extreme drought/flood patterns (droughts in these geographical areas last 1 to 3 years).

Simple and intuitive in design, The Buried Diffuser is an easy-to-assemble and easy-to-use underground irrigation invention--transporting water directly to root systems by utilizing gravity and water pressure, BD effectively conserves irrigation water, energy and fertilizers. Further, BD augments ground water during heavy rains by injecting rain water deep into tree plantation soil layers, eliminating negative impacts associated with exceptional drought/flood extremes. Using the same water amount in greenhouses and open fields, BD produces three to five times more yield than drip irrigation: 
Seed germination rates are 85.29 percent for the buried diffuser, compared to 62.85 percent for standard drip irrigation.

Unlike standard drip irrigation, BD reduces soil salinity and weed growth and can be utilized on existing irrigated crops and rain fed crops during rainy season(s) via ‘Water Injection,’ (injected water is conserved in soil depths to be utilized by tree tap root systems--storing and supplementing ground table water), and via ‘Anticipated Irrigation,’ (water emitted via Anticipated Irrigation fulfills crop(s) total water need through hot or dry seasons). Both Chahbani and Cuello are committed to finding cost-effective, efficient irrigation methods that produce higher crop yields. For emerging and developing arid and semi-arid countries suffering famine and desertification, The Buried Diffuser is an innovative technology that will truly transform water savings and food production.


Case Study 3: Building Capacity for Resolving Agrarian and Natural Resource Management Conflicts in Indonesia

Principal Investigator: Larry A. Fisher, Research Professor, University of Arizona’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment
Funding Partners:


Period of Agreement: August 1, 2015 – July 31, 2016

Since the mid 1970’s, UA’s Larry Fisher has worked alongside the Indonesian private sector, NGO’s and ministry officials mediating ways to manage and alieve agrarian and natural resource conflicts. Fisher’s goal is to increase social, economic and environmental awareness impacts stemming from disputes. Recently, with support from Grants.Global, Fisher was awarded $100,000 from the prestigious Ford Foundation and Climate & Land Use Alliance (aka, Climate Works Foundation); these foundation partner gifts mark a crucial commitment to building effective, long-term capacity for environmental conflict resolution reform in Indonesia.

In Indonesia, contradictory, as well as overlapping jurisdictions related to land use and forest management prolong agrarian and natural resource conflicts. Too, Indonesia’s historic emphasis on resource extraction skewed to large-scale corporate investment is uncoordinated (and often illegal). Coupled with illogical permitting and licensing procedures, weak spatial planning processes, and a lack in clarity concerning traditional rights for local communities, Fisher sees conflicts exacerbated by weak law enforcement and accountability: widespread corruption throughout a challenged system.

Fisher’s primary goal is to strengthen capacity for resolving agrarian and natural resource management conflicts--primarily conflicts over forest management and palm oil plantations. Improved strategies for assessing, managing, mitigating and resolving disputes is yet another focus. Fisher’s project deliverables include developing an industry-sponsored clearinghouse, referral services and a resource center on conflict resolution to specifically identify stakeholder engagement opportunities--pinpointing improved approaches for successful dispute resolution.