Outreach & impact in 2020

Bridging research and policy

PEP support facilitates collaboration between local researchers and stakeholders to produce contextualized, policy-relevant evidence. We foster best practices in policy engagement and communication while supporting research teams to promote evidence use within local institutions and through public engagement via national events and the media.

As a result, most PEP projects inform policymaking and lead to increased visibility and career advancement for local researchers.

The statistics and stories below (updated in December 2020) testify to the effectiveness of our approach.
N.B. All conferences referred to below were held up to March 2020 - i.e. before the pandemic.

Impact statistics 2020

Jump to:

Benin     Bolivia     Ethiopia     Ghana      Malawi

Nepal     Nigeria     Peru      Sierra Leone

Informing institutional practices for policymaking


Between 2017 and 2019, a team of local researchers in Benin conducted an experimental impact evaluation of the “Project to Support Food Production and Build Resilience in the Alibori, Borgou, and Col-lines departments” (PAPVIRE-ABC), implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture since 2016, and supervised by the African Development Bank. Their results show that providing free agricultural inputs and close advisory services to farmers can increase maize production by 24% and thus enhance Benin’s food security

These findings led the research team to call for policies to ensure that farmers can purchase agricultural inputs when they are needed, including 1) providing financial help and making the inputs available close to the farmers, and 2) increasing the number of advisory agents specialized in maize production.

High-level officials in the Ministry of Agriculture were impressed by the team’s results and expressed the wish to obtain similar evidence for other crops. The findings and recommendations were later used to inform the mid-term evaluation of the PAPVIRE-ABC. Meanwhile, the Director-General of National Development Policy Planning committed to using the team’s project to improve new policy design at the Ministry of Planning and Development. 

Furthermore, this project benefitted from broad national media coverage in late 2019 when five newspapers (Le Progrès, Le Matinal, Fraternité, La Nation, and Matin Libre) reported the team’s findings and policy recommendations. 

Policymakers in Benin making agreement


Bolivia national policy conference

In February 2020, a team of local PEP researchers held a national policy conference to share their recommendations for how currency devaluation can increase growth and employment in Bolivia. The event attracted 119 attendees, including representatives of several government institutions, national and international NGOs – ILO, IMF and the US Embassy – academic institutions and the media. The Página Siete and El Diario newspapers reported the event and the findings.

The presentation generated a lively discussion around the country’s exchange rate policy. The Vice-Minister of the Treasury and Public Credit congratulated the team for their work and contribution to the debate, stating that, while there are currently no plans to do so, the “study provides a basis for discussions on modifying the exchange rate”. 

Soon after, the project team leader was invited to present and discuss the findings in two different meetings organized, respectively, by the Bolivian Exports Chamber and the Bolivian-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Both audiences expressed keen interest in the team’s results and policy recommendations.


Based on their PEP findings that urbanization (measured by night light intensity) is improving household welfare in Ethiopia, a team of local researchers called for policies to regulate and monitor urban expansion. 

The team engaged with several government agencies to share their recommendations so that more of the population can benefit from urbanization. The stakeholders received the call favourably. 

The State Minister of Urban Development and Housing (MUDH), in particular, praised the project’s efforts to come up with new methods to measure and assess the impact of urban development. He also stressed the government’s commitment to implement the team’s recommendations to ensure sustainable cities and secondary towns. The team was later informed that the MUDH is using their findings to transform the urban development monitoring methodologies and techniques.

Night over Addis Ababa


National Policy Conference in Ghana

During a national policy conference held in Accra in January 2020, a team of local PEP researchers presented findings that revealed the important benefits of the “Planting for Food and Jobs” (PFJ) fertilizer subsidy program for Ghana’s economy. They called for policymakers to maintain or even extend the program to at least 2024.

Several policymakers were among the 80 attendees and responded positively, especially those representing the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MFA). The representative of the MFA stated that the team’s findings would feed into the Ministry’s policy discussion through 2020. The Director of Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation expressed her excitement at the prospect of using the study to provide a sense of direction to the PFJ programme. She requested a summary of the findings to share immediately with the Presidency and soon began circulating the findings to the relevant government departments. 

The Ghana News Agency and the Daily Graphic (national daily newspaper) also reported the national policy conference.


Following the easing of Covid-19 pandemic response restrictions in Malawi, a team of local PEP researchers was able to reschedule their national policy conference. The team brought together a group of target stakeholders to discuss how training and text messages can promote mobile money use and increase financial inclusion in Malawi. Attendees included representatives of the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development, banks, telecoms and mobile money service providers, national and international NGOs, and research and academic institutions.

The Principal Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development highlighted the timeliness of the research, referring to the growing importance of digital payments in the context of the pandemic, and stated that the findings would be used to develop the next Malawi Financial Sector Development Strategy, for implementation from 2021. He also requested for the Reserve Bank of Malawi to use the findings to inform the design of the financial literacy programmes.

Meanwhile, representatives from the Reserve Bank of Malawi stated that the team’s work highlighted the need to include the academia in the National Taskforce on Electronic Payments, to enhance the analytical capacity of the committee. Therefore, the Department of Economics at the University of Malawi (where the PEP researchers work) will join the taskforce.

News of the team’s findings and their conference was published in The Nation, a daily national newspaper.

National policy conference in Malawi


National policy conference in Nepal

In January 2020, a team of local researchers in Nepal organized a conference to share findings from their PEP study. They showed that people receiving remittances from migrant family members work fewer hours and demand higher pay than those not receiving remittances, which is also linked to a decrease in gross revenues for household-operated enterprises. The team thus called for policymakers to channel remittances to productive uses through multi-sectoral efforts.

Following their presentation, the Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies acknowledged that the findings stressed the need for the Ministry to look into its current approach to supporting micro-entrepreneurship and explore other potential modalities for intervention. Likewise, the Vice-Chair of the National Planning Commission stated that his institution would include the researchers’ suggestions into its 15th periodic plan, in which the productive use of remittances is a priority issue. He concluded by stressing the need for such rigorous, research-based evidence to aid the policy process. 

In addition to government officials and academia, the event was attended by representatives from MSME associations, financial institutions, as well as CSOs for entrepreneurship development, migrant worker welfare, etc. The attendees participated in the discussion and shared their views on the policy implications of the team’s findings. The conference also benefited from significant national media coverage, including two televised news reports (Kantipur Television and News24) and an article in The Himalayan Times

Later on, one team member was invited to participate in a panel discussion at the Model UN (IMF Committee) to talk about the PEP study: officials from the Ministry of Finance who attended the event expressed the wish to organize a follow-up meeting to find out more. 


In March 2020, PEP researchers in Nigeria held a national policy conference to discuss how a production subsidy for the renewable energy sector can promote renewable electricity development in Nigeria. The event targeted high-level officials from various government agencies, national and international NGOs, academic institutions, and the media. 

In the discussion following the team’s presentation, the Deputy Director of the Department for Renewable Energy and Rural Power Access at the Ministry of Power said: “The Ministry will further collaborate with the research team to revise and update the National Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Policy, using their findings as a key input.” The team was previously invited to a private meeting with the department heads and contracted to provide advisory support to the work of the Ministry. 

Additionally, the representative from the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS, advising the National Assembly) said: “The Institute will use the team’s findings to make policy recommendations to the relevant committees in the National Assembly,” and requested the team produce a brief customized to this end. The team leader was later invited to organize training sessions for the NILDS research staff on CGE modelling (the method applied in the PEP project).

National policy conference Nigeria

Furthermore, the team’s conference and findings were reported in daily national newspapers, including The Punch and ThisDay


A group of Peruvian people eating outside

Since 2015, the Peruvian government has focused on promoting mobile banking to address low financial inclusion rates in the country. In 2018-2019 a team of local PEP researchers conducted an experiment to assess the impact of using trusted community members, rather than the banks’ external agents, to promote digital financial services among financially excluded rural and peri-urban communities.

These “local ambassadors” were selected from the Fellows of the Beca18 program, a program that facilitates access to post-secondary studies for impoverished high school graduates. The results show that using Beca18 Fellows as ambassadors is significantly more effective for engaging communities and disseminating technologies (compared to external agents) and may be the key to increasing financial inclusion in the target areas.

As a result, the Executive Director of the National Program of Academic Awards and Student Loans (PROBANEC) committed to using findings to inform the ongoing “redesign” of the Beca18 program.

Sierra Leone

The presentation of PEP findings showing how young adults exposed to civil war as children suffer on the labour market today re-ignited a national debate around the socio-economic consequences of civil conflicts in Sierra Leone. 

In addition to reports in the national press (Success and Awoko newspapers) and televised media (African Young Voices), the local PEP team’s findings were referred to in official statements and reports made by: 

  • the Senior Labour Commissioner of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, in a ministerial press briefing at which many other Ministry officials were present;

  • the National Youth Commissioner, during a meeting with the country’s development partners - incl. DFID, USAID and World Bank, among others;

  • the Institute for Governance Reform, in charge of monitoring socio-economic indicators communicated by government officials and reports and involved in engaging Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) with the country’s development partners.

Children in Sierra Leone

PEP Research Influences Institutional Practices for Evidence-Informed Policymaking

National policy conference consultation

In 2019, PEP introduced new requirements as part of its research support mechanism, including: 

  • coproduction of research with intended users (i.e. target government institutions), and

  • the development of a policy paper to position findings into the broader national policy contexts and strategies

In 2020, a few teams reported how the experience of their PEP project has contributed to informing and improving practices for evidence-informed policymaking amidst the engaged institutions. For example: 

  • In Nigeria, representatives of government agencies and local research institutions created a new collaborative communication framework based on the PEP project's example. This framework will encourage knowledge exchange, integration and coproduction.

  • In Senegal, two institutions (one ministry and one research institute, each linked to a different project team) have adopted the practice of developing policy papers to communicate policy advice. The ministry has also provided training to its staff in this area.

These examples show how PEP support empowers local leaders to foster changes that improve evidence use in policy decisions. 


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