Impact Stories from 2019

Putting local expertise at the forefront of national and international development policy debates

PEP trains and supports developing-country researchers to produce high-quality scientific evidence while successfully engaging with national policy stakeholders.

The statistics and stories below testify to the success of this unique, dual-support mechanism.

“PEP has raised research capacity-building to a fine art"

— IDRC Canada (2018) 

2019 impact statistics


“As a result of our PEP project, the government now consults directly with our team members, and recognizes our university as a credible source of expertise."

— Joel Mmasa, Tanzania (2019)


2019 impact stories

PEP has developed a sophisticated, web-based monitoring system to collect detailed information on the progress and outcomes of project activities at the country level. The following accounts are reports from project teams supported by PEP between 2017 and 2019. Impact stories from previous initiatives are available here.

The impacts of PEP projects at the country level are manifold. The stories below are grouped into three categories:

  1. The uptake of research findings to inform policy decisions or governance practice in:

    Argentina     Benin      Kenya      Macedonia      Serbia      Togo      Uganda

  2. Official statements from policymakers who committed to use findings to inform policy processes in:

    Burkina Faso     Ghana      Niger     Senegal     
  3. The promotion of PEP researchers’ expertise for their increased and longer-term policy influence in:

    Kenya      Liberia      Senegal      Tanzania      Uruguay      and more


Informing Policy

Serving food in Argentina


Argentina used PEP findings to reformulate its national social benefits program. The PEP study identified reasons why many eligible beneficiaries do not participate in Argentina's VAT refund program.

Through regular consultations with the research team, the Ministry of the Treasury and the National Social Security Department integrated the PEP findings into the policymaking process. The team’s evidence led to the original program being discontinued and informed the design of new features for the revised program. Find out more

Female electrical apprentice in Benin


Findings that students who work during school holidays have shorter school-to-work transitions have informed the revision of the national policy on “Technical Education and Vocational Training” in Benin.

Following his interactions with the team, the Minister for SMEs and Employment Promotion created a policy discussion group. The group allowed the PEP researchers to discuss their progress and results with the relevant government ministries and agencies. During these sessions, the team provided evidence and advisory support, including to help technical advisors from the Ministry of Secondary, Technical and Vocational Education revise the national policy. Find out more

Women fetching water


The National Irrigation Authority and the County Government of Murang’a are using poverty maps generated by a PEP team to make sure that the most water-scarce areas of the county will receive irrigation water. Furthermore, the Murang’a Government’s Ministry of Planning has adopted the team’s Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS) approach to support local governance and inform policy design. 

A PEP-supported project team in Kenya used the CBMS to track poverty and SDG indicators in Murang’a County. They also generated evidence on the effects of social capital on women’s empowerment in the area. 

The team consulted and engaged with local stakeholders and policymakers to discuss their results and recommendations through private meetings and a knowledge-sharing event. They advocated for a reliable irrigation water supply to facilitate food security and sustainable agriculture in a semi-arid region that faces frequent droughts and famines. Soon after the event, the Chief Officer of the Murang’a Ministry of Youth and Gender Affairs announced the ministry’s commitment to implement the projects, programmes and policy proposals discussed. Later, it was confirmed that the research team’s maps will inform the design of the new Mirira Irrigation Development Project.

Young woman working in Macedonia


Macedonia’s Minister of Labour and Social Policy has assimilated PEP recommendations on mitigating the negative effects of underemployment on youth wellbeing to inform policy changes. In particular, the PEP team’s findings have informed changes to the national law on volunteering, as well as in the design and implementation of a “Youth Guarantee” pilot program.

The team organized a national policy conference that brought together more than 60 stakeholders. The event also benefited from broad media coverage via eight media outlets. During the event, the head of the regional ILO office asked to collaborate with the research team to identify mechanisms that can ease underemployment in Macedonia.

Women working in a Serbian office


Serbia’s law restricting the maximum number of public sector employees was abolished at the end of 2019. A local PEP research team found that Serbia’s austerity measures exacerbate gender inequality, including that women are the hardest hit by the public sector restriction. Their findings were included in the Commissioner for the Protection of Citizens’ annual equality report to Parliament in 2019. Informed by the team, she recommended abolishing or amending the law.

In disseminating their findings, the research team generated an emotive debate on the behaviour of the public sector and implementation of austerity measures. During the PEP team’s national policy conference, the Assistant Minister for the Ministry of Labour agreed with the necessity to conduct gender analysis before public policy implementation. She announced that, starting the following month, public enterprises would have to submit reports on the number of employees by gender.

Children picking through litter with bags on their backs in Togo


Evidence from a project to fill the information gaps on the extent, nature and determinants of rural poverty in Togo is informing local development planning and supporting the monitoring and mapping of SDGs in vulnerable areas. 

The PEP project team created and used a Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS). While conducting their project, the team engaged continuously and successfully with a vast number of local, regional and national stakeholders in Togo. The stakeholders included representatives of government ministries, NGOs, community leaders and national media. Their work, findings, and the usefulness of CBMS data have been widely acknowledged.

In particular, CBMS data informed national-level policymaking within the Ministry of Planning, Development and Cooperation. It also informed decisions by the local government of Gblainvi County. Representatives of the Ministry of Grassroot Development approached the team to advise on using the CBMS for poverty and SDG mapping. The CBMS will be incorporated into the design of a monitoring and evaluation system for an ongoing program to support youth entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector.

Youth in Uganda


The local government unit for general planning and governance in the Katakwi District, Uganda, has adopted the Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS) following the success of a PEP project. The PEP research team used the CBMS to fill specific information gaps on youth employment in the area.

Government officers are being trained to use CBMS tools and collect and interpret data. The Chief Administrative Officer of the Katakwi District Government also stated that his staff would use the evidence generated through the PEP project to improve delivery of youth employment services.

Engaging Policymakers

Watering plots in Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso

Findings from two PEP studies showing the economic benefits of subsidising women's access to agricultural capital and resources have generated keen interest from policymakers in Burkina Faso.

High-level officers in the Ministries of Agriculture and of Women and National Solidarity stated they would use the research teams' evidence. The evidence will support recommendations for orienting agricultural policies. The officials also committed to promoting the findings widely, including through their interactions with other government agencies. They are also setting up meetings where the researchers will brief the ministers.

The teams organised national policy conferences that benefitted from significant national media coverage. Find out more about project 1 and project 2

Market in Ghana


High-level representatives from the Ministries of Labor and of Special Development Initiatives used PEP findings to inform their respective ministers that promoting non-farm work can increase agricultural market participation and commercialization in Ghana.

Through their continual outreach efforts, the team also met with the Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, who suggested that the findings could inform the ongoing review of the National Agriculture Investment Plan/3rd Medium Term Agriculture Sector Investment Plan (2018-2021).

During the PEP team’s policy conference in Accra, their findings were received positively and they generated an interesting discussion with different stakeholders and the media.

Women watering crops in Niger


Findings on how surface water can be better used to help achieve the 3N (Nigeriens Nourishing Nigeriens) Initiative’s “Zero Hunger” objective have been readily accepted by officers at the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock. 

The Secretary General of the High Commission for the 3N Initiative stated the PEP team’s recommendations would inform the program’s strategies and interventions related to the management of agricultural water. The Director General of the National Board of Hydro-Agriculture also stated that the evidence would inform the agency’s work and resource allocations. 

The team’s national policy conference generated enthusiastic reactions from a high-level audience in response to the policy implications of the team’s findings. The event boosted the reasearchers’ visibility through national media coverage.

Senegalese women weaving


The Head of the General Directorate for Planning and Economic Policy (DGPPE) in Senegal committed to integrating evidence from a PEP project into DGPPE decisions. He made this commitment at the PEP team’s national policy conference where the researchers presented their findings on the negative impact on women’s employment of West Africa’s Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union. He stated that he would form a committee of national stakeholders (policy, NGOs, academia) to monitor the implementation the team’s recommendations. He spoke of the importance of and the need to expand the type of research conducted by the local PEP team, in terms of rigour and local perspective. He also praised their efforts to engage with policy actors from the start. He promised that the DGPPE would dedicate funding to support initiatives that promote greater collaboration between researchers and policymakers.

Promoting local expertise

Kenyan team members stand by a PEP banner


The experience and exposure that 28-year-old Faith Mariera gained through her PEP-supported project have boosted her career. She is now much more involved in Kenya’s policy processes. The Business Advocacy Fund recruited her to help member associations advocate for public policy reforms. The Agriculture Industry Network (AIN, an advocacy organization representing famers) contracted her to evaluate the sugar industry value chain. Through her work for the AIN, she developed a policy position paper for the Ministry of Agriculture taskforce responsible for reforming policy in the sector. She was also appointed to the subcommittee working group for reviewing policy and legislative matters in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation.

Laura Barasa, the team leader of the same project, also benefitted from career advancement. She was invited to present her research work at two major international events: the Working Group for African Political Economy (WGAPE) conference, held at the University of California in May 2018, and the 2019 Conference of the Center for the Study of African Economies (CSAE). International and regional research funding organizations also awarded her two new research grants.

PEP researcher from Liberia presents at the 2019 PEP annual conference


The achievements of Aisha Nansamba while leading a PEP-supported impact evaluation project have raised her profile in Liberia. She was appointed as the first female Acting Country Representative for BRAC Liberia. She was also involved in the World Bank’s impact evaluation of Performance Management Systems within 32 national ministries and government agencies.

PEP researchers discussing with their mentor at the 2017 PEP annual conference


In 2018 at the age of 30, Sokhna Diarra Mboup was selected as a lead consultant for the Senegalese government’s National Climate Change Adaptation Program. Her work focuses on designing adaptation strategies that are aligned with socioeconomic vulnerabilities. Her selection was directly linked to the extensive expertise that she developed in CGE modelling techniques during two PEP-supported projects.

Tanzanian research team


The continual engagement and dissemination efforts of a PEP research team in Tanzania significantly increased their visibility and credibility, and that of the University of Dodoma where the team is based.

The team’s use of the CGE methodology generated keen interest among policy advisors. Country-level coverage of their PEP national policy conference, also boosted the team members’ reputations. A few days after the conference, the National Task Force on Tax Reform (a Ministry of Finance and Planning advisory body) invited team member Joel Mmasa to present the project, contributing to recommendations for the 2019/20 budget. It was the first time a member of the University’s faculty had been called upon to directly advise the government budget. Three months after the conference, the Tanzania Standard Newspaper Head Office interviewed Dr. Mmasa to provide predictions as an expert on the expected 2019/20 budget. The interview was also a first in the history of the faculty. It was published on the front page of the Daily News.

The team members have been awarded several new research grants and contracts to use their PEP-gained expertise in CGE modelling. The Global Environmental Facility has engaged the team to use their methodology to assess the sustainability of the Tanzanian fishery policy. Additionally, the PEP team leader, Dr Asiya Maskaeva, will contribute to a Tanzanian Deep Sea Fish Authority and SWIOFish project using the team’s microsimulation model to inform the sustainable management of Tanzania’s Exclusive Economic Zone fisheries.

PEP researchers from Uruguay


As a result of their PEP-supported study, a team of young, female researchers found themselves at the heart of an important policy debate related to minimum wage and labour regulations for domestic workers in Uruguay. Following the team’s initial outreach efforts, several national government agencies and other organizations engaged them in a continual consultation process. They were invited to present and discuss their findings at high-level national policy advisory meetings. They were also invited to speak at the Regional Meeting of Domestic Workers Rights in MERCOSUR, attended by policymakers, trade unions and civil society representatives from the four member states. The UNDP Country office and the Tripartite Commission for Equal Opportunity and Treatment in Employment (responsible for domestic labor policy) co-sponsored the team’s PEP national policy conference. Many high-level policy actors attended the event, including the Minister of Labor as guest speaker. 

Four of the five team members received new research funding from various organizations. The ILO contracted the team leader to conduct a study examining horizontal gender discrimination in eight Latin American countries.

And more....

Other noteworthy examples of career advancement, leading to greater policy influence, for PEP researchers supported between 2017 and 2019:

  • Benin: 3ie recruited 27-year-old Dislene Sossou to be part of the West Africa Capacity building and Impact Evaluation (WACIE) programme, to promote and strengthen capacities for the institutionalisation of evaluation in government systems across eight francophone WAEMU countries in West Africa.

  • Kyrgyzstan: Kamalbek Karymshakov consulted to advise the 2019-2022 Action Plan for Reduction of the Shadow Economy in Kyrgyzstan.

  • Macedonia: Blagica Petreski recruited to join a team of experts in charge of monitoring and evaluating the Government Plan for Economic Growth, as a member/independent observer of the Sector Working Group for Public Finance Management Reform Implementation, in the Ministry of Finance.

  • Mongolia: The National Development Agency contracted Ragchaasuren Galindev to develop a CGE model for national policy analysis and become a permanent advisor. 

  • Palestine: Bilal Falah was appointed as the Director of the Palestine Policy Research Institute-MAS, in charge of preparing policy briefs for the Prime Minister. 

  • Togo: Esso Hanam Atake was appointed as a focal person for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Togo

PEP researcher in Cameroon speaking to journalists


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