New Year's message from PEP's leadership team

January 2024

PEP's Chair of the Board, Prof. Carol Newman, and Executive Director, Prof. Jane Mariara, look back on PEP’s achievements in 2023 and look forward to the opportunities 2024 will bring for PEP and PEP researchers to inform national and international development policy.

After a busy 2023, we asked PEP's Chair of the Board, Prof. Carol Newman, and Executive Director, Prof. Jane Mariara to reflect on PEP's achievements over the past year and where the organisation is headed in 2024.

Carol NewmanHaving completed my first year as the Chair of the PEP Board of Directors, I am very pleased by the work PEP has undertaken in the past year to amplify the voices of researchers from the Global South. PEP has done this by representing our cause at important public forums, by extending critical training to young researchers from the region, and by ensuring the continued uptake of locally-generated evidence in policy solutions that benefit Southern populations.

PEP’s focus on issues of relevance to the Global South will shape outcomes for generations to come. Priority issues in 2023, and looking forward to 2024, include youth employment, women’s economic empowerment, green transitions, modernizing agriculture, and providing training in rigorous research, which integrates gender equality and inclusion.

I hope to see PEP strengthen its network, reach and influence over the coming year with a renewed focus on dissemination and policy communications so that Southern researchers—who are deeply embedded in their contexts and bear critical knowledge—can play a significant role in defining research agendas.

Over the past two decades, the commitment and vision of the leadership at PEP has led it to grow from strength to strength and I am privileged to support PEP in scaling new heights going forward.

I also take this opportunity to warmly welcome Antoni Estevadeordal and Ingrid Woolard who joined the PEP Board of Directors on the 1st November 2023.

On behalf of the PEP Board of Directors, I thank PEP’s donors, management, staff, and partners for their continued dedication to driving positive change in the economic policy landscape of the Global South.

Most importantly, I thank the large number of PEP team members in developing countries. Despite facing many and varied challenges, you work so hard to produce evidence of the highest quality and share that evidence with strategic stakeholders and decision-makers for a more equitable and sustainable future.

Together, we are making a difference. I look forward to our achievements in 2024.

Prof. Carol Newman
Chair, PEP Board of Directors


Jane MariaraI am proud of what PEP accomplished in 2023. We have made major strides in demonstrating that local researchers are able to conduct rigorous, policy-engaged and policy-relevant research, that is firmly grounded in their thorough understanding of local context and policy frameworks.

As three major programs came to a close, I’m sure the findings will drive positive changes for many vulnerable populations, and particularly women, in the Global South. These programs provide evidence on how gender- and country-specific policies (particularly providing access to essential resources) are vital for addressing the ways that climate change disproportionately impacts women farmers in sub-Saharan Africa; on how sexist gender norms limit women’s access to decent work, overriding recent efforts to improve gender equality in six Global South countries; and on the lessons from 11 developing countries’ economic responses to the Covid-19 crisis to promote inclusive recovery.We are continuing to build on these programs, reaffirming our commitment to advancing gender equality; particularly in the face of climate change as well as other important international crises.

A new collaboration with Environment for Development, supported by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), will see PEP researchers produce evidence to inform gender-sensitive policy reforms that promote sustainable agriculture in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Uganda, and Vietnam. Going beyond recent PEP research on the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on food security in low-income countries, PEP experts are investigating the gender dimension of this issue.

2023 was an especially busy year for PEP as multiple new programs got underway thanks to support from new and long-term donors, including the European Union’s Horizon Europe Programme, Fonds d’Innovation pour le Développement, and IDRC. PEP also launched the Africa Fellows in Education Program in partnership with the Global Education Analytics Institute. Ongoing support from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Co-Impact, Global Affairs Canada, Hewlett Foundation, and Mastercard Foundation played an essential role in allowing PEP to define country-relevant policy solutions to critical development issues.

In line with PEP’s focus on boosting the voices of Southern researchers, PEP added eight talented researchers to our Research Fellows cohort and welcomed Dr Nisha Arunatilake as a new Research Fellow Co-Representative to PEP’s Corporate Membership. PEP also participated in multiple international events that help to shape international development debates.

As part of our efforts to strengthen the capacities of young scholars in particular, PEP is supporting multiple international Fellowships going into 2024. Further and with support from IDRC, PEP is working on a project to launch an interactive bilingual online training course in Gender Equality and Inclusion this year.

As we call in 2024, I take this opportunity to wish our funding partners, collaborating and partner institutions, the PEP Board, mentors, researchers, management and staff and all other stakeholders a productive, collaborative and healthy new year.

Prof. Jane Mariara
Executive Director


PEP’s highlights from 2023

New research initiatives get underway


The voices of Southern researchers are heard, among others, at the:


Logo global affairs canada
Logo Hewlett Foundation
Logo Co-Impact
Logo IDRC - CRDI Canada
Logo Mastercard Foundation