We began to support research in Cuba in 1974, and have engaged with Cuban researchers since then, focusing primarily on health and agriculture, but more recently on climate change and water management.
Improving food security
We provided funds to various research projects that successfully contributed to improving agriculture methods and fight food insecurity.
For example, the country’s shortages of food and medicine that began in the 1990s spurred researchers to explore non-traditional approaches to these issues, including urban agriculture and the use of medicinal plants. Drawing on research findings, Cuba’s Ministry of Health recognized a basic list of medicinal plants for use in primary health care.
In the early 2000s, Cuban researchers improved crops by putting farmers at the heart of the plant-breeding process. Local farmers worked with researchers and government to develop new bean varieties that increased yields by 15 to 36% in test areas. Some 7,000 farmers in 51 communities in Cuba benefited from these and other innovations. In 2007, the research team received Cuba's highest scientific award for its achievements.
Knowledge to fight disease
IDRC-supported research also contributed to identify risk factors for contracting dengue fever in Havana. Researchers developed a way for community members to track mosquito infestations and share this information systematically with health bureaus and local community organizations.
At the turn of the century, researchers have analyzed public-private partnerships to deliver essential services. In Cuba, they studied the country’s health system, which operates with high levels of community participation, and the private organizations’ role in managing Havana’s water supply. This worldwide research provided policymakers with solutions that can help more people receive essential services.
Advancing knowledge, spurring innovations
We build the leaders of today and tomorrow. By enabling Cuban leaders in research, government, and business, they bring concrete and innovative development ideas to address some of the pressing challenges of the country, and beyond.
Cuba is renowned for its contribution to advance knowledge in areas such as maternal and child health, and sustainable water management. Deepening collaboration with Cuban researchers can bring locally adapted solutions in these areas of expertise and others, such as sustainable economic growth, and improve the lives of large populations in the region.
35 activities worth CA$4.5 million since 1974
IDRC support is helping:
- local leaders develop home grown solutions
- small island states adapt to climate change
- To harness the power of open data to fuel economic growth