The Ford Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity is dedicated to research, teaching, and service that promotes Integral Human Development, a holistic model of flourishing rooted in a person's dignity and full potential.

How can we best integrate refugees?

Humanitarian Corridor Initiative

Thousands of refugees and migrants risk their lives each year crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe. A “humanitarian corridor” initiative, started following an agreement signed by the Italian government and several religious and non-governmental organizations, is providing a small number of refugees with safe travel and visas to Italy, along with housing and resettlement assistance upon arrival. (more...)

How does religion affect the integration of migrants and refugees?

Religion, Church, and the Integration of Migrants in Europe

Europeans vary greatly with respect to their attitudes toward the million-plus migrants who have entered Europe or have sought to enter Europe in recent years. In collaboration with researchers at partner institutions in Europe this project seeks to determine whether, how, religious identity, beliefs, and practices affect the attitudes that European citizens across three countries (Italy, Germany, and Austria) have toward migrants and the appropriateness or possibility of their integration into European societies. (more...)

How does emigration affect communities of origin?

Remitting Belief to the Global South: An Interdisciplinary Study of Migration through Fieldwork and Big Data

Nearly a quarter of a billion people worldwide are international migrants. The Ford Program is studying how this unprecedented movement of peoples has influenced norms in the source countries of Sri Lanka and Mali, particularly in the context of human development in the areas of religion, society and culture. (more...)

How can we promote greater access to maternal health?

Measuring the Value of Insurance and Maternal Care: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Dandora, Kenya

Residents of Dandora, a sprawling section of Nairobi dominated by a massive garbage dump, contend with high unemployment, food insecurity, violence, poor health, and environmental issues.  (more...)

How can we promote the inclusion of youth?

Kenyan Youth Scenarios Workshops

In 2010 and 2011, several hundred Kenyan youth leaders and activists took part in a series of weeklong workshops designed to help them envision how young people could shape the country 20 years in the future. (more...)

How do women overcome abusive relationships?

Empowering Pregnant Women in Lima, Peru

Many Peruvian women report experiencing physical or sexual violence in long-term romantic relationships, and studies have identified pregnancy as a time of particularly high risk for victimization. That violence carries risks for both mother and child during pregnancy and postpartum. (more...)

How can savings groups benefit the whole community?

SEP Project in Uganda

Small-scale rural entrepreneurs in Uganda have had little access to formal microfinance, but a program growing out of Ford Program supported savings and internal lending communities – or SILC groups – in Nnindye is trying to change that by investing in an innovative effort to meet community needs through the power of supportive relationships, as well as funding. (more...)

How do schools promote good citizens?

Education and Citizenship in Kenya

Education is thought to contribute to citizenship formation by inculcating a sense of nationalism, but also by spurring citizen engagement through the diffusion of political knowledge, the contribution to internal efficacy, and the encouragement of political participation. In an ideal world, education can build trust towards fellow citizens. (more...)

Completed Projects

We seek to understand:

  • The pathways and determinants of integral human development
  • How improving individual or community recognition of human dignity and other holistic components of development can influence economic growth and social change
  • How community engagement can instill self-confidence, individual responsibility, reciprocity, and community awareness

To ensure lessons learned inform future research projects and practical efforts to promote human flourishing, we share such lessons with our community partners as well as development scholars and practitioners. These products can include:

  • Case studies of community change processes
  • Program evaluations that measure progress toward integral human development
  • Pilot projects that identify effective approaches for leveraging community perspectives and resources to promote development and improve long-term socioeconomic outcomes

Research Opportunities for Faculty and Students

The Ford Program provides grants and organizational support to Notre Dame faculty members and students to conduct research with our field partners. We connect students and faculty members to counterparts at universities and other institutions in areas where we work in order to maximize local knowledge and increase the efficiency of research in the field.

Interested in exploring research opportunities?

Write to Ford Program Director Rev. Robert Dowd, CSC.

Promoting the dignity of every person and the common good of all people

The Ford Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity is dedicated to research, teaching, and service that increase the effectiveness of efforts to promote Integral Human Development, a holistic model of flourishing rooted in the dignity and full potential of the human person.

With the goal of understanding the challenges and aspirations of people living in extreme poverty around the developing world, we conduct research that grows out of engagement with local communities.

We learn from community members, working with partner organizations that directly implement programs to provide quality education, enhance health, foster livelihoods, and promote accountable and responsive government.

We assist development practitioners, policy makers, and people grappling with poverty in their own communities to increase the effectiveness of their efforts to promote integral human development, a holistic model of flourishing rooted in the dignity and full potential of each person.

We work with partner organizations and community members to identify key concerns and invite researchers to investigate such challenges with the aim of offering sustainable solutions. The Ford Program works with a variety of implementing organizations, maintaining a special relationship with the Congregation of Holy Cross, which founded Notre Dame, and the communities Holy Cross serves around the world.

Interested in exploring a partnership with the Ford Program? Please contact Director Rev. Robert Dowd, CSC.


Caritas Kenya
Catholic Relief Services
Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA), Kenya
Congregation of Holy Cross
Faculty of Business Administration and Management, Uganda Martyrs University
Holy Cross Parish, Dandora, Kenya
Institute for Educational Initiatives, University of Notre Dame
Luigi Giussani Institute for Higher Education (LGIHE)
Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development
Strathmore University, Nairobi, Kenya
UGAFODE Microfinance Limited (MDI), Uganda
Uganda Martyrs University (UMU)
UPFORD (University Partnership For Outreach, Research and Development), Uganda
Verizon Foundation

Ford Program Newsletters


The Ford Family Notre Dame Award for International Development and Solidarity

Bestowed by the Kellogg Institute’s Ford Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity, the Ford Family Notre Dame Award for International Development and Solidarity recognizes individuals or organizations that stand in solidarity with those in deepest need. Awardees learn from those they serve, working together with them as they become agents of their own change.

Ford Family Notre Dame Award recipients are honored for substantial contribution to the promotion of international human development through research, practice, public service, or philanthropy.

Click here for award recipients.

Ford Program Highlights

The Ford Program strives to reach people's lives making positive impacts across multiple facets of social, economic, political, cultural, personal and spiritual life.

People of Ford