Born and raised in Uganda, Gracious Diiro has had firsthand experience with some of the major challenges that impede development and growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. Notable examples in his home country include low productivity of subsistence farming, high prevalence of malnutrition, and high fertility rates. In his career, Diiro aims to contribute to research and policy discussions on these issues, with the goal of helping to improve the quality of life among the poor, particularly those in the developing world. It was because of this that Diiro was drawn to pursue a PhD with a concentration in econometrics and development economics at the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics (AEDE) at The Ohio State University.
Advised by Dr. Abdoul Sam and Dr. Dave Kraybill, Diiro's PhD research focuses on development and health in Uganda. His research interests include the application of econometric techniques to understand pertinent issues in the fields of development economics, health economics, environment and demographic economics, as he finds the intersection of these fields particularly interesting and important in the developing world. In his research he has looked at whether rural households in Uganda leverage their non-farm earnings to overcome credit constraints and invest in modern agricultural technologies. He has also investigated whether maternal work participation improves or undermines the health of children. Additionally, he has examined the critical determinants of fertility choices, paying special attention to the affect of family planning interventions.
Diiro studied agricultural economics at Makerere University in Uganda for both his undergraduate and master’s degrees before enrolling at Ohio State. He earned a master's degree in economics from Ohio State prior to enrolling in the AEDE PhD program. Diiro has worked as a staff lecturer and researcher with Makerere University, and as a research associate with an impact assessment project managed by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), which is based in Mexico. The project evaluated the livelihood impacts of Sasakawa Association of Africa's agricultural interventions in Uganda. Diiro has also worked with the World Bank and the International Food Policy Institute through consultancy projects. During his PhD studies at Ohio State, Diiro has worked as a research associate to one of his advisors, Dr. Abdoul Sam. He also currently works as a teaching assistant for AEDE's Dr. Alessandra Fagian.
Diiro notes that during his time at AEDE he has greatly valued the high quality and the flexibility of the coursework of the PhD program. He has benefitted from AEDE’s strong working relationship with the Department of Economics at Ohio State where he has taken several theoretical courses that have enabled him to design a field of specialization for achieving his career goals. He attributes his success in the AEDE program to the commitment and support he has received from his advisors.
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