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The GSDI Launches in Fall 2017

The Global Social Development Innovations (GSDI) is launching the opening of its research center this fall, 2017. The center will focus on enhancing the lives of marginalized populations around the world by creating innovative social development interventions, building knowledge, generating new evidence, and impacting policies that ensure economic justice for the poor.
The UNC Board of Trustees voted to approve its establishment at the university level in January of this year. Associate Professor Gina Chowa is the founder of the center and she will serve as the center’s Director. GSDI is housed at UNC’s School of Social Work and will bring together a team of interdisciplinary scholars focused on social change in communities with limited economic, social, and health resources, said Chowa. The center will also work with researchers and partners from across the globe to collaborate and leverage local expertise, while also offering an environment for junior scholars to learn the techniques and skills of impactful research.
GSDI will focus on the following core research areas, each of which Chowa and her team members have been exploring for years: economic security, workforce development, financial inclusion, social protection, health and mental health, and education. The team also intends to collaborate with national and international partners that members have worked closely with, including the UNC Center for AIDS Research Social and Behavioral Science Research Core; the Centre for Social Development in Africa at the University of Johannesburg; the Institute for Statistical, Social and Economic Research at the University of Ghana; the Center for Studies in Rural Development, University of Pune, Ahmednegar; and the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis.
“We’re not just bringing all of these people together to collect data and research for the sake of it,” Chowa said. “We want to bring about social change. Our mission is to collaborate and build capacity for our partners and for scholars so that we’re improving opportunities for rolling out services, based on evidence, to ultra-poor people who need them.”
In conjunction with the center’s launch, GSDI will be hosting a symposium this fall that brings together thought leaders and practitioners from across the globe to engage in discussion and idea building around the driving forces of economic security in resource-limited communities. The launch will be held October 11-13, 2017 and the GSDI website will provide updates as the event draws near.