2015 PEP Best Practice Awards
The ultimate objective of PEP activities - both in terms of building/promoting local capacities AND producing high quality research - is for the evidence produced and the new expertise built to serve to inform policy decisions in favour of inclusive growth, poverty reduction and sustainable development in beneficiary countries. See the PEP impact stories.
As most researchers are, by vocation, not naturally inclined to engage in activities related to communications or policy engagement, PEP has made it both a fixed component and selection requirement for the project teams it supports to undertake initiatives that will maximize chances for their findings to be acknowledged and taken-up by relevant policy makers or advisors.
In the context of the PAGE initiative, PEP launched a new "Best Practice Award scheme" to reward (on an annual basis) those research teams who would most actively engage in the implementation of a successful “policy outreach” strategy - i.e. to link their PEP research findings to policy action at the national level - while achieving high-quality research.
Selection of awardees
Among the criteria or indicators used to assess the performance of each team in terms of communications and policy outreach, are:
- the targeting and engagement of relevant policy makers and stakeholders
- the incorporation of their inputs in the project design
- the frequency of consultations held with these stakeholders throughout the project cycle, including to validate the preliminary findings
- the Initiatives taken, independently, by the research teams to disseminate information about their PEP research work and findings– incl. use of media – throughout the project cycle
The progress and achievements of the research teams in all these activities are closely monitored by PEP staff through the PEP “Monitoring and Evaluation” system – a series of computerized technical report forms that the teams must fill out and update on a periodic basis throughout the project cycle.
Those criteria used to assess performance in terms of research conduct and quality include:
- The quality and relevance of research design and data collection methods
- The respect of timetable/deadlines and timely response to comments from mentors/evaluators
- The significant involvement of junior researchers in the conduct of research work
- The quality, soundness and relevance of the data analysis and results
- The scientific quality of outputs (such as progress reports and presentations)
A pre-selection of 8 project teams, out of the 25 contending this year, was made based on each team’s performance in the criteria of the first category (i.e. research communications and policy outreach). The teams’ mentors and program coordinators where then asked to evaluate these 8 finalists according to the quality of their research work. The final ranking is determined, based on these ratings and information provided on each project, by a neutral selection committee, which selects the winners.
2015 PEP award winners
The three winners of the 2015 Awards have achieved especially outstanding results in both categories (policy outreach and research quality), and were presented during the closing dinner of the 2015 PEP Annual Conference, held in Nairobi (Kenya) on May 7, 2015. Each project and related outcomes are summarized below:
Compared to other countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan is one of the poorest country with half of its population living with less than 2.50$ per day and 36,8% living under the absolute poverty line. Kyrgyzstan was ranked the 2nd among the top ten recipients of remittances as a share of GPD (32%) in 2013.
Follow this link to find more information on the research project - team members, research method and objectives, etc).
The objective of this project is to analyze the impact of remittances from international migration on the occupational choice and working hours of left-behind youth in Kyrgyzstan. The researchers’ analysis of existing data from 2011 provide evidence that, in order to replace the labor of the migrant member, young people facing difficulties in finding jobs are more inclined to contribute to the household through daily chores or agricultural work. The analysis also shows that although remittances do not promote unemployment nor generate dependency amongst left-behind households, they are primarily used to finance current consumption expenditures rather than business or entrepreneurial activities.
While designing their research project proposal, the team elaborated a clear policy outreach strategy focused on three different groups: government institutions, NGOs and international donor organizations. For each group, they identified the most relevant institutions and contacts to target for consultation. These included high-officials and key advisors of the Ministry of Labor, Migration and Youth, the Ministry of Finance, ICCO, GIZ, the Foundation for Progressive Initiatives and the National Institute for Strategic Studies.
The team held several meetings with these stakeholders, including one with the Minister of Labor himself who expressed great interest in the project, and noted how scarce and yet necessary are such locally-led empirical analyses to assist government institutions in the development of effective migration and youth policy in Kyrgyzstan.
As a result of these consultations, the team members were invited by :
- The Eurasian Foundation of Central Asia to present their project and preliminary findings during the “Youth Participation in Local Community Development” conference (February 2015), with the objective to produce recommendations on development of cooperation between government agencies and youth organizations.
- The Ministry of Labour, Youth and Migration to participate in the 18th Grand Public Council (BOS, March 2015), where the team had the opportunity to discuss migration issues with representatives of several ministries and civil society organizations working closely on migration- and remittance-related policies in Kyrgyzstan.
- The President of the “Foundation for Progressive Initiatives”, to participate in a meeting between government and academia (May 2015), to assist in preparing the National Strategic Plan.
- ICCO, founders of the civil platform “Central Asia in Movement” (a platform for the Central Asian civil organizations focused specifically on migration issues), to present their findings during the Semi-Annual meeting (July 2015). ICCO representatives and partners expressed their commitment to disseminate the findings among their networks of NGOs.
Also as a result of these consultations, the team’s findings were used by the National Institute for Strategic Studies (NISS) to inform their own assessment of the efficiency of the national migration policy. Moreover, two of the team members were invited to participate, as permanent expert advisors, in joint consultation meetings and roundtables involving government institutions, international donor organizations and NGOs, and focused on migration issues and policy.
Finally, the team leader was recruited by the European Commission to join a team of experts mandated to develop a program budgeting approach for the Kyrgyz Ministry of Social Development, while another team member was recruited as a Policy Analyst by the NISS.
During the "awards ceremony", in Kenya, the award was presented to Kamalbek Karymshakov (see top right-side photo, along with Bekele Shiferaw, PEP Executive Director and Mustapha Nabli, Chair of PEP board). Mr. Karymshakov is the research team leader and representative who had been invited to present the project's final report during the PEP conference.
Macroeconomic implications of female entrepreneurs facing financial frictions to access credit: a DSGE Model approach in Cameroon
The objective of this project is to assess the effects of financial frictions faced by female entrepreneurs to access credit on macroeconomic performance in Cameroon, as well as to identify policies most likely to waive those frictions. Through their analysis, the researchers find that, when female-owned firms are granted loans to the same extent as their male counterparts, they perform better in terms of value-added in GDP. During the award ceremony, the team was represented by Ms. Adele Micheline Ngo Bilong (see top right-side photo, along with Bekele Shiferaw, PEP Executive Director and Mustapha Nabli, Chair of PEP board). Follow this link to find more information on the research project - research objectives, methods, findings, publications, team members, etc.).
Early in the research cycle, the team had the opportunity to consult with the Chief Economist of the World Bank Mission in Cameroon. Soon after, they were asked to meet with a delegation of World Bank officials from Washington (and other high-level Cameroonian officials) to present and discuss their project, and show how their expected findings may inform structural transformation in Cameroon. Their presentation raised keen interest and the team was asked to provide periodic updates on the progress of their research and findings.
A second meeting was organized in March 2015 with the same representatives, during which the team was asked to provide input using their PEP findings and resulting recommendations to directly assist in the preparation of the World Bank’s Memorandum of the Cameroon Economy. This Memorandum was then submitted officially by the World Bank to the Higher Cameroonian Authority.
On July 8 2015, the team organized a PEP national policy conference to communicate their findings to the institutions and stakeholders who had not attended the previous meetings. These included representatives from the Ministries of Economy, of Higher Education, and of Employment and Social Welfare. National experts from academia, the private sector and civil society also participated in the discussion, which provided the team with very useful insights and comments. The news of the event and findings also benefited from significant media coverage during a number of Radio France International broadcasts.
Soon after, the researchers were the only local experts invited to participate in a special high-level advisory meeting, co-organized by the World Bank Mission in Central Africa and Cameroon Authorities, to discuss the adoption of policies and measures to promote development in Cameroon and achieve the country’s emergence by 2035. In addition to the World Bank, this meeting included representatives from several Ministries (Finance, Economy, Public Service, Social Affairs, Environment, Higher Education), the CEMAC (Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa States), the private sector (GICAM), the National Institute of Statistic, and civil society.
In addition to policy advisory meetings, the team was also invited to present the project and related outcomes during high-level conferences such as the African Economic Conference (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) organized by the Economic Commission of Africa, and the African Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (PSIA) International Learning Event (Cape Town, South Africa) sponsored by the World Bank Group where the team participated along with officials from the Ministry of Economy.
Finally, the team leader was selected as Laureate of the 2014 International Workshop of the Social Sciences Research in Africa, organized by the CODESRIA in Yaoundé. He was also the only Southern expert (and sole African) invited to present at the 11th DYNARE Conference, in Brussels in September 2015.
Led by Sebastian Auguste, the CBMS team in Argentina is working to expand the Community-based Poverty Monitoring System (initially implemented in 2011) to several towns in the municipality of Olavarria in the province of Buenos Aires. The team, having a successful pilot CBMS implementation even got a financial support, to cover more households, from Loma Negro - the leading cement manufacturer in the country. In return, Loma Negro will use the results from the census to align their local development fund to be used in policies and programs that they are extending to the communities in which their factories are located.
A total of seven consultation meetings were conducted by the team with the Municipality of Olavarria during the period, 2013-2014. These included orientation of the CBMS methodology to the local authorities, presentation of draft questionnaires to be used, inclusion of questions needed by the local authorities and plan of census activities. The involvement and participation of the local government in the entire process was very important to increase empowerment. Focal persons from the local government were involved since the start of the project. They provided assistance in the training of the enumerators, the monitoring of the census and are continuously helping in the validation and dissemination of the results of the study. Just last January 16, 2015, dissemination of the CBMS Census results has been done to the members of the local government and to the board members of Loma Negro.
The CBMS data in Olavarria is being used in three different ways. First, it will be used to establish quantitative indicators for the establishment of their quantitative goals in 2015-2020. They have already linked the indicators generated to goals, budget and programs. Second, the CBMS results show that localities have different needs, and to fulfill these needs different programs will be needed. For instance, data on education-related indicators helped them identify who are drop-outs, repeaters and who are not attending school. This allows the municipality to propose a program on social assistance to these households. Lastly, the data on CBMS - having questions related to current programs being implemented in the locality, helped them know who were not eligible for a certain program and who were not able to access but were eligible to access. An example of this is their health insurance program. CBMS data showed that many households using the public health system (which is free of charge) are in fact paying for a private health Insurance, but not using the latter.
The team is represented here by Mr. Alejandro Ernosto Bricker. (see top right-side photo, along with Bekele Shiferaw, PEP Executive Director and Mustapha Nabli, Chair of PEP board) who is the research team representative who had been invited to present the project's final report during the PEP conference.