New Year's Message from PEP's leadership team

January, 2020

PEP's Chair of the Board and Executive Director reflect on the accomplishments of 2019 and look forward to the opportunities 2020 will bring for PEP and PEP researchers.

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The incoming Chair of the PEP Board of Directors, Dr. Fred Carden, and PEP's Executive Director, Prof. Jane Mariara, look back on the achievements of 2019 and look forward to 2020 and forthcoming opportunities for PEP and PEP researchers.

As we move into this new decade, PEP does so with a new Board of Directors. On behalf of PEP and the Board, I wish to express enormous gratitude to the outgoing members: Mustapha Nabli, Marie-Claude Martin and Pramila Krishnan. They have contributed immensely to the institution since the founding of this Board and no doubt will contribute in other ways in the future. I also warmly welcome the three new Board members: Hanan Morsy, Carol Newman, and Dominique van de Walle, and thank Haroon Bhorat, Santiago Levy, and Xiaobo Zhang for their continued service to PEP.

In 2019, for the first time, initiatives involving mixed government-research teams got underway. They are on track to establishing a new benchmark for policy-engaged research. Indeed, PEP’s innovation helped secure renewed funding from IDRC and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. We look forward to building upon these foundations over the coming months and years. 

On behalf of the PEP Board of Directors, I thank PEP, its management, staff, partners and donors for their continued dedication to fulfilling our mission. Most importantly, I thank the large number of PEP researchers in developing countries who go further to both provide an evidence base of the highest quality and bring that evidence to strategic stakeholders and decision-makers. Together, we are making a difference and I look forward to seeing our achievements in 2020 as we work towards building a better world.

Dr. Fred Carden
Chair of the Board of Directors


I am proud to say that 2019 was another successful year for PEP. We have diversified the project teams while focusing on sub-Saharan Africa to dramatically expand the evidence base and promote Southern voices. Multiple publications in peer-reviewed journals by PEP researchers continue to raise our profile, and our expertise in capacity building for evidence-informed decision-making is recognised internationally. In close collaboration with our stakeholders, we will continue to develop and build upon the hard work of this past year in 2020.

I am excited to work closely with PEP’s new Board of Directors as we look to make an even greater impact on sustainable development policy. I wish to make special recognition of the enormous contribution the outgoing Board members, Mustapha Nabli, Marie-Claude Martin and Pramila Krishnan, have made to PEP during their tenure. I also personally thank Mustapha for his excellent leadership and mentorship over the past three years.

I take this opportunity to wish our donors, the PEP Board, management and staff, including those from partner and collaborating institutions, resource persons, researchers and all other stakeholders a very productive and collaborative new year. 

Prof. Jane Mariara
Executive Director

PEP’s innovation and diversification in 2019 lay the foundations for long-term impact

Over the past 12 months PEP project members, resource persons, board members and staff have been busy implementing new funding initiatives and research projects, introducing new training courses and producing new findings and outputs to share nationally, regionally and worldwide.

Informing policy

PEP’s ceaseless efforts to develop local capacity and provide relevant, timely policy analysis continued to bear fruit. PEP findings from Benin, Burkina Faso, and Kenya informed policy decisions. Decision-makers in a further eight countries (in Africa, South America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe) stated their intention to use PEP findings to inform policy.

Promoting Southern voices

Meanwhile, almost 100 researchers supported under the PAGE II initiative have reported that their PEP project work has directly contributed to advancing their careers. Almost 80 of these researchers are now more involved in policy processes. 

Mixed government-research teams

In 2019, the nature and extent of PEP’s pioneering capacity building program grew to encompass policymakers and their advisors, as well as researchers. For the first time in PEP’s history, two programmes that directly involve government officers within the project teams got underway:

Supporting gender-sensitive policymaking

PEP introduced intensive training from gender analysis specialists and has developed a full-semester graduate online course on gender analysis. By requiring project teams to produce gender-sensitive research, PEP is supporting gender-sensitive policymaking as a step towards gender equality.


Read more about PEP’s activities and achievements over the past year in Volume 15 of our PEP-talk newsletter for 2019.

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