2022 PEP Annual Conference – virtual event

Over 200 international participants meet online for the 2022 PEP Annual Conference
May 24-June 10 

More than 200 people from around the world participated in the 2022 PEP Annual Conference. They included researchers, practitioners, international experts, representatives of donor and international organizations, and policy actors. 

Committed to providing training and peer-review opportunities while conscious of ongoing travel restrictions and the environmental impact of an in-person event, PEP held the Annual Conference online. Activities took place as half-day sessions between May 24 and June 10.

Three weeks of invite-only activities concluded with the public 2022 Symposium on PEP’s “20 years of promoting Southern-driven development: Impact, lessons and next steps” (see below). 

The 2022 Conference benefitted members of 23 teams of local researchers in 18 developing countries who are currently receiving PEP support under five ongoing research initiatives: 

The event was also possible thanks to ongoing support from the International Development Research Centre of Canada for the initiatives to Improve Women's Labour Market Outcomes in Kenya and provide Covid-19 Responses for Equity (CORE). 

Activities for PEP project teams

Institutionalization of Impact Evaluation and Evidence-Informed Policymaking

May 24-26 

The two teams supported under the FALIEP initiative (in Benin and Guinea Bissau) benefitted from a new type of workshop to discuss country-specific strategies for institutionalizing the use of experimental impact evaluations to assess and advise policy in government.  

Best Practices for Stakeholder Engagement

May 31-June 2 

This three-part training workshop aimed to set up teams in the early stages of the research cycle to undertake research that will inform policy decisions. The teams learned about key principles and best practices for engaging with policy stakeholders and designing research that directly addresses existing policy needs. 

Members of 18 teams supported under the Youth Employment in Africa, FALIEP, SIECD, and Women’s Decent Work initiatives benefitted from this training. 

Best Practices for Evidence-Informed Policy Briefing (communication)

June 6-8 

This training workshop was for the five teams supported under the Climate Change in Africa initiative as they have completed the research and are preparing to disseminate their findings and policy recommendations. 

During the three sessions, the teams learned about and discussed strategies and tools to share their findings effectively in their respective countries. 

Research Presentations

June 8-9 – Interim Report/Desk Review Presentations 

The seven teams supported under the Youth Employment in Africa initiative presented and discussed the progress and preliminary findings of their projects with an audience of their peers and PEP-affiliated international experts. These sessions provided valuable feedback to the teams to improve their research work and outcomes.

June 9 – Presentations of Research Findings 

The five Climate Change in Africa project teams presented and discussed the outcomes and results of their projects with an audience of their peers and PEP-affiliated international experts. The teams will use the feedback received during this session to improve their final research reports and publications. 

2022 PEP Symposium

20 years of promoting Southern-driven development:
Impact, lessons and next steps 

More than 80 people from around the world—including researchers, international experts, stakeholders, donors, and policy advisors—joined PEP on June 10 for the organisation’s 20-year milestone celebrations. The discussions concentrated on PEP’s achievements over the past two decades, the existing challenges in development and how PEP can continue to support Southern-driven development.


The first session focused on the past, with an overview of the impacts achieved to date, as well as key lessons drawn from PEP's extensive experience in supporting locally-led research and evidence-informed policymaking in developing countries.

Presentations by PEP leaders were followed by short videos featuring: 

  • Testimonials from alumni on the value of working with PEP – watch 
  • The founders and builders of PEP, and their outstanding contributions to the organisation – watch


The second session looked forward, with a panel discussion on PEP’s “Next Steps in Promoting Southern-Driven Development”

Fred Carden, Chair, PEP Board of Directors, moderated the discussion between the panellists, who represented the organisation, our researchers, and our donors:

  • Arjan de Haan, Sustainable Inclusive Economies, International Development Research Centre (IDRC)


Researchers in the Global North are still overrepresented in national and international development debates.  

Many leading development journals study problems in developing countries, but most of the authors are from Northern countries, who don't have all the necessary knowledge to solve local problems and influence policy.

Ana Lucia Kassouf 

As well as the low levels of Southern representation in development journals and conferences, current research funding systems continue to regard low- and middle-income country (LMIC) collaborators as passive recipients or data collectors. As such, they have very little representation and voice at the decision-making level.  

By the time that LMIC partners are brought into decision making, the priority areas for research are already determined, the funds already divided, the research questions have already been developed, and the strategy has already been set.

Christopher Chibwana

These obstacles make it very difficult for researchers from the Global South to take an active role and share the agenda around research and investigation, and contribute to “brain drain.” Human resources are scarce, and extremely expensive human capital is lost from developing countries because talented people move North to seek better opportunities. 

Yet the challenges the world faces today render the standard economic research models less important, and open the door for innovative thinking from local researchers. 

The global issues of the world today require developing new kinds of research, and researchers in developing countries are well positioned to take the lead in tackling some of those issues.” 

Mustapha K. Nabli

PEP works hard to promote the work of Southern researchers, but more needs to be done to increase their level of representation in global debates, which has not increased in over 20 years. Donor support is crucial to making this possible. As the resources for development research are finite, donors can dedicate funding to create an environment supporting locally-generated research. 

Investment in capacities is essential to the development model and donors play an important role there.

Arjan de Haan

…and next steps 

PEP's next step should be to encourage new approaches to development research. PEP's capacity building and research support have focused primarily on enabling researchers in Southern countries to learn best practices and master top research methodologies to assess mainstream development policy issues. PEP should now build on these achievements to help Southern researchers take the lead of development policy and research debates.

Instead of trying only to help Southern researchers catch up [with Northern-led development research trends]PEP should focus its efforts also on positioning them at the frontier of research on global development.” 

Mustapha K. Nabli

With the resources developed over the past two decades, PEP should also collaborate more closely with similar organizations in the Global South. PEP can create a strong platform for Southern-led development by leveraging its expertise to build strong local partnerships.

PEP can use its expertise to inform and strengthen the work of other development-driven organizations doing similar work in the Global South.

Christopher Chibwana 



Organized in collaboration with


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Global Education Analytics Institute