Letter from the Global Executive Director:
Today, in the midst of a pandemic that has imposed untold suffering on millions worldwide, there are signs of hope on the horizon. Although the vaccine is rolling out worldwide in the coming months, the pandemic will still alter the course of the next decade, particularly for the world's poorest. J-PAL worked with many new and existing partners in creative ways in 2020 to meet the needs of a changing world.
Launching J-PAL MENA
We launched our newest regional research center, J-PAL Middle East and North Africa (MENA), in collaboration with our longtime partner Community Jameel. Based at the American University in Cairo, J-PAL MENA builds on more than a decade of research and policy partnerships in the region led by our affiliates and staff. As our seventh regional office, J-PAL MENA works with innovative regional academics, policymakers, and development practitioners to co-design, evaluate, and scale effective approaches to reduce poverty and improve the lives of the region’s most vulnerable.
Innovative Research: Pivoting to Pandemic Response
Now more than ever, investing in rigorous research is essential to finding solutions to the world’s greatest challenges. Our growing network of 225 affiliated researchers and 300+ invited researchers work with local partners across the globe to conduct randomized evaluations that help us understand which approaches are most effective in the fight against poverty.
The King Climate Action Initiative (K-CAI)
Climate change disproportionately affects people living in poverty and threatens to reverse decades of progress in global poverty alleviation. In partnership with King Philanthropies, we launched the King Climate Action Initiative (K-CAI) to design, pilot, evaluate, and scale policy solutions at the nexus of climate change and poverty alleviation, aiming to inform the scale-up of effective climate policies that reach at least 25 million people in the next ten years.
Policy Engagement: Informing Pandemic Response and Recovery
J-PAL works to identify policy lessons emerging from randomized evaluations, conduct outreach to share those lessons broadly, and build partnerships to inform high-level decision-making. This work is especially critical in times of global crisis, when decisions must be made quickly and confidently with millions of lives at stake.
Capacity Building: Expanding the Reach of Online Learning
With a focus on learning and innovation, J-PAL works to build the capacity of researchers who produce evidence, policymakers and donors who use it, and advocates of evidence-informed policy. Even before Covid-19 forced millions of learners online, J-PAL worked for more than five years to make top-quality trainings and courses offerings available virtually. As the pandemic took hold, we suspended all in-person events and moved many more of our trainings and courses online.
Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
J-PAL fundamentally seeks to reduce human suffering in all its forms. Promoting the dignity and agency of all people is a very important part of this mission. We are working toward increasing the diversity of our research network, staff, and the places in which we conduct research; and are prioritizing equity and inclusion in our work.