Happy 15th Anniversary PEP

October 1, 2017

PEP celebrates 15 years of building local capacity to provide contextualized policy solutions in developing countries.

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October 1, 2017, marks 15 years since PEP was established to build and promote the participation of local experts in development policy debates.

PEP's scope and impact, 2002-2017 (click to expand)

Since 2002, PEP has supported 950 developing country researchers in 61 countries to produce 287 policy analysis studies. As for participating in development policy debates, 95% of research teams discuss their findings in person with decision makers. Furthermore, findings from more than a third of these projects have already informed policy decisions, see PEP Impact Stories.

“PEP has a lot to celebrate and be proud of,” says Professor Jane Mariara, Executive Director of PEP. “It has established itself as a hub of expertise, innovation, and knowledge in capacity building for development and economic policy analysis .”

PEP targets low-income economies (LIEs) and fragile or conflict-affected states (FCs). These countries tend to be most in need of reliable evidence for policymaking while also being the most difficult for researchers to work within. To date, 36% of PEP projects were carried out by local researchers in LIEs and FCs.

PEP also endeavors to address imbalances in the global economics research community by promoting the contributions of female researchers. Nearly half (47%) of PEP researchers are women, and 36% of project leaders have been women. More than a quarter of PEP research projects have focused on issues of gender equity and women’s economic empowerment. The high level of female representation on the side of the researchers helps take gender issues and disparities into account.

  Policy outreach training at the 2017 PEP Annual Conference
in Nairobi, Kenya (click to expand)
Empowering researchers and increasing policy outreach

When PEP was first established, its mission was to “build the capacity and expertise of local researchers in developing countries in applying cutting-edge methods to analyze policy issues related to poverty and social and economic development in their home countries.” While the original mission is still at the heart of the organization, PEP also works to make sure the research findings are seen by decision-makers.

Researchers and policymakers rarely move in the same circles. To foster the connections between research and policy, needed to promote evidence-based policymaking for sustainable development, PEP has developed a unique Grant Plus support program. The program provides research teams with mentoring, training, and evaluation, as well as funding. PEP provides support throughout the research cycle, from project design to the publication and dissemination of results. Through this system, PEP empowers developing country researchers to achieve the highest international standards of scientific research while also nurturing working relationships with local decision-makers.

Expanding the scope

The first round of the new Policy Analysis on Growth and Employment (PAGE II) initiative is underway. And in the summer of 2017, PEP launched a call for proposals for the second round. Building on the success of the PAGE I program (2012-2015), the United Kingdom’s DFID and Canada’s IDRC granted PEP funds to support about 50 research teams. These teams will investigate country-relevant policy issues within priority themes for 2016-2020, as identified by international development economics experts.

“PEP has grown from an informal network of researchers and research institutions into truly a leading global organization in the field of development economics research,” says Dr Mustapha Nabli, the Chair of the PEP Board of Directors, “With its unique open network structure and methodologies for supporting capacity building and research, it has supported researchers in almost every developing country.”

Professor Mariara is excited about PEP’s next steps. “We want to see PEP become more vibrant as we go forward, bringing in more researchers and stakeholders,” she says. She also recognizes the joint effort it has taken to make PEP the organization it is today, saying: “We thank our donors and collaborators for their enormous contribution to PEP’s growth. I also thank the PEP Board of Directors, staff, resource persons, and researchers for continuing to build this outstanding organization. We at PEP look forward to continuing to work with all our esteemed stakeholders to take PEP to even greater heights in the future.”

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