The SI-Lab in Belarus: We were hacking, we were learning

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Filed under: Development Development 2.0 Social innovation

the winners circle

We have a winner…Read about what’s brewing at UNDP’s social innovation lab in Belarus

On 20-21 September, as part of the global SHIFT Week, I was hacking for social change with some energetic young men and women who are trying to make this world a better place.

Why a hackathon?

We wanted to try something different: to source ideas from some “unusual suspects” – as opposed to the same old voices.

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On violence: A new approach in Serbia with the New School

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Filed under: Gender equality Human rights Social innovation

the women of 16 days serbia

Sixteen Days: Serbia stands up to violence against women (Photos: Djordje Novakovic)

Recent statistics reveals the alarming prevalence of violence against women in Serbia:

54 percent of women were exposed to some form of violence during their lifetime, while only 10 percent contacted services for assistance.

This violence presents a complex social problem. It is both a root cause of gender inequality as well as an extreme consequence of social norms that condone this type of discrimination.

Life in fear impedes women to fully realize their own capacities, competencies, and goals for the future.

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LIVE 29 October: Jens Martens on the end of the donor-recipient era

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Filed under: Development Poverty Social inclusion


Old development strategies which starkly divided the world into rich and poor are slowly fading away.

Middle-income countries are a good example of this trend – often acting as both donors and recipients of development aid at the same time.

Does the traditional division of the world into ‘developed’ and ‘developing countries’ at all reflect the political and economic realities of today’s world?

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Moldova: How we’re capturing the balance

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Filed under: Development 2.0 Governance Social innovation

prototype police board re-design in moldovoa

Oliver Marlow, director of London’s Studio TILT,  presents a prototype of an information board (Photos: Cristina Lisii)

In early September, our partners from FutureGov and Studio TILT came to Moldova to meet the police.

They spent a full week at the station, sitting side by side with officers, collaborating on some design thinking in the UNDP-supported refurbishing of one community’s police station.

I sat down with the consultants, Simone Carrier and Oliver Marlow, to hear their reflections on how the process unfolded and what insights were gleaned.

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Meet Hapide: How we’re supporting young entrepreneurs in Albania

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Filed under: Development Poverty Social inclusion

screengrab from website

We asked and they answered: Read what kind of future young Albanians want

Less than one year ago, we embarked on an initiative to support youth entrepreneurship.

We wanted to build on the experience of the Future we Want campaign and nurture the spirit of entrepreneurship among young Albanians – a spirit dampened by lack of visible opportunities, support, and professional services.

So we partnered with Yunus Social business (YSBA) to build a platform that would help us promote socially-minded business creation in Albania.

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Come co-design with Georgia’s new Innovative Service Lab!

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Filed under: Development Governance Guest posts Social innovation

team innovation

Co-designing in action with UNDP and FutureGov (Photos: Public Service Development Agency)

Reinventing public services has to start with the user.

Only by incremental experiments, with an eye on effectiveness and putting the end-users at the heart of the design process, can we truly hope to transform public services to meet our citizens’ needs.

Transforming public services to meet the true expectations of the citizens and create public value is indisputably a challenge.

The question is how to prototype, test, and scale up public services in response to this challenge?

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Georgia: Capturing the story

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Filed under: Other Social innovation

irina presents an infographic

New things emerge: The author (center) talks about going visual (Photo: David Khizanishvili)

I work on reconciliation issues in Georgia, on the kinds of things that affect people’s lives directly.

It’s a job I love and more often than not, one that comes home with me.

I remember when I first heard the buzz around “innovation” at UNDP – I was unimpressed. It sounded like a shiny, new thing: all talk and no substance. It was hard for me to relate it back to the sensitive issues that I work on every day.

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Migration as a force for development

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Filed under: Development Poverty Social inclusion

attendants at the HDR launch

Zakiya Pirani, Iris Duri, and Erëblina Elezaj at last month’s local HDR launch (Photo: Lirak Mulliqi)

Human development is about the expanding people’s freedom and opportunities.

Mobility and the ability to migrate are fundamental elements of human freedom and development.

Unfortunately, this freedom is not applicable to Kosovo* and all its citizens.

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Volunteering the future: A call to arms

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Filed under: Development Social inclusion Social innovation

youth looking up at camera

(Photo: Zaven Khachikyan/UNDP in Armenia)

How does volunteering make a difference?

These days, we are trying to do development differently: to partner with less usual suspects for outside insights, and tap into local energy and initiatives.

The ethos of volunteerism is exactly the same – it is not a supplement to the work we do; it is a natural component within it.

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Moldova’s innovation hub: Changing the way we police

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Filed under: Development 2.0 Social innovation

It all started with the renovation of a police station in Chișinău.

The question: Why don’t we redesign the space from the perspective of both provider (police) and user (community)?

At that moment, neither we, nor our partners from the municipal police department, could have imagined what that would entail.

We soon realized that changing the dynamics of a space is more than just constructing a room and moving around some furniture.

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