Student-initiated projects

The Weiser Diplomacy Center (WDC) and International Policy Center (IPC) offer funding to Ford School undergraduate and graduate students to design and carry out student-initiated projects (SIPs). These projects must have an international affairs/policy focus.

Some examples of recent SIPs include:

  • Presenting research at an international policy conference;
  • Participating in an international affairs/policy simulation;
  • Conducting relevant short-term research or work-studies over break.

Typical awards range from approximately $1,500 for a single student to $6,000 for initiatives involving several Ford School students.

WDC/IPC typically offer two SIP award cycles per academic year (during fall and winter terms).


  • Ford School undergraduate and graduate students.

How to apply

For more information about SIP opportunities, including application requirements and deadlines, please visit this program's M-Compass brochure: $ Ford: Student Initiated Project Award.


If you have any questions regarding this funding opportunity, please contact Dan Ellis, global engagement program manager (



Victor Rateng MPP'21

Pandemic Assistance Is Not Meeting Needs of the Most Vulnerable In Nairobi

Victor Rateng MPP'21

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to slow down economic activity around the world, governments have initiated interventions to help mitigate economic hardships to peoples’ livelihoods. Since June, I have been exploring the Kenyan Government’s Covid-19 policy approaches to the social welfare needs of Nairobi’s informal economy, making up 2.6 million of the city’s 4.4 million residents. Article 43 of Kenya’s Constitution states that “the State shall provide appropriate social security to persons who are unable to support themselves and their dependants.” Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the government, relatives and friends, religious institutions and private companies have all taken steps to help those in the informal economy. Based on my research, however, government cash assistance for the city’s poor has only reached about 7%, while assistance from NGOs has reached 12%.