New Year's Message from PEP's leadership team

January, 2021

PEP's Chair of the Board, Fred Carden, and Executive Director, Jane Mariara, reflect on the achievements of 2020 and look forward to the opportunities 2021 will bring for PEP and PEP researchers.

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PEP's Chair of the Board, Dr. Fred Carden, and Executive Director, Prof. Jane Mariara, look back on PEP’s achievements in 2020 and look forward to the opportunities 2021 will bring for PEP and PEP researchers.

While facing the challenges of the global pandemic, in 2020, PEP worked diligently to provide essential support for our project teams, promote evidence-informed decision-making, and build capacity for policy research in developing countries. Indeed, as two of our initiatives involving mixed government-research teams are nearing completion, we are on track to establishing a new benchmark for policy-engaged research.

PEP’s innovation, commitment to quality, and a locally-focused perspective helped secure new collaborations with Global Affairs Canada, UNICEF and the IDRC in 2020. We look forward to building upon these foundations over the coming months and years. 

In 2021, we are redoubling our efforts to amplify the voices of in-country experts as they are best-placed to inform more sustainable, inclusive and effective policy choices. Over the past 12 months, we have seen how really understanding local needs is essential when responding to a crisis. Unfortunately for countries in the Global South, the vast majority of research about their respective situations is produced by scientists and institutions in Europe and North America. Furthermore, over 99% of funding for philanthropic and humanitarian work in developing countries does not go to locally-based organisations. PEP is proud to be among the organisations working to redress this imbalance.

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 team members 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 our achievements in 2021.

Dr. Fred Carden
Chair, PEP Board of Directors


I am proud to say that PEP rose to the challenges brought by the COVID-19 crisis in 2020. We adapted our activities to keep our project teams, scientific and policy experts, and staff safe while continuing to carry out high-quality research and build capacity.

As our activities moved online, we were able to reach more and more people, further democratizing scientific training and policy research debates. Our first virtual Annual Conference saw dramatically increased attendance, relative to our physical meetings. Applications for the 2021 online training courses surged. And over 1500 people watched our webinars.

We also directly answered the need for rapid yet rigorous evidence to inform economic and social policy as governments around the world responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects. As part of our efforts, we mobilised seven teams of senior PEP-affiliated researchers in developing countries; three of which have already published results.

PEP continues to promote Southern voices. Multiple publications in peer-reviewed journals by PEP researchers further raised 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 2021.

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 productive, collaborative and healthy new year. 

Prof. Jane Mariara
Executive Director

PEP’s highlights from 2020

PEP responds to the COVID-19 crisis

More people benefit as PEP expands online activities

Two new research initiatives get underway

Recognition as a hub of expertise promoting Southern voices

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