by , and

Filed under: Development Governance Peace and security Social innovation


It’s called the IKEA effect.

You value something more when you’ve helped build it.

Surely anyone who’s ever suffered through a harrowing afternoon assembling that pernickety SVÄRTA loft bed frame can recall the swell of pride and accomplishment after finally figuring it out.

Might not a similar thing be the case when it comes to the various institutions of governance?

If you are able to participate in the institutions making the decisions that affect your life, you are more likely to associate pride, trust and responsibility with them.

Going a step further, recent research out of Cyprus has revealed that greater trust in institutions makes people more willing to try to overcome sources of conflict with people from communities outside their own.

So, how can UNDP find new ways to get citizens to co-construct solutions to some of their communities most pressing social problems?

We think we have a pretty cool answer:

We are excited to announce the launch of a TECHNOLOGY FOR CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT CHALLENGE using our Mahallae platform!

Tech for what?

For past few years, UNDP has been busy supporting the smart use of technologies to help narrow the gap between citizens and decision makers.

  • In Georgia,  ELVA uses mobile phones to facilitate rapid responses to incidences has led to a restoration of community safety and security in often volatile circumstances.
  • In Cyprus, Hands on Famagusta brings together Greek and Turkish Cypriot architects who use new technology to create a future vision for the divided city of Famagusta.
  • In conflict-torn East Ukraine, we’re using a mobile app to crowdsource reports of structural damage, which will in turn, help us plan how to best rebuild.

Now we’re looking for applicants from Europe, Central Asia and the Arab world to take the lead.

On offer are grants of up to US $10,000 each to support a selection of the best new ideas in citizen engagement for development.

In addition, grant winners will have the chance to join us in Nicosia for this year’s Build Peace conference on 24-26 April.

Here they will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to present their proposals and get advice and support from some of the world’s preeminent tech-for-peace experts.

So what are we looking for?

You are an activist, a socially minded entrepreneur, a tech geek, a nonprofit company, an NGO and/or a rabble-rouser looking to shake things up.

You have a bold and brilliant idea that fits under one of the following categories:

1. Common Vision for the Future – How can we use technology to bring together different groups to imagine a common vision for the future?

Submit your ideas for how to embrace differing views to find common ground by sharing a vision for the future.

2. Inclusion through Diversity – How can technology help to diversify the voices that inform policy by embracing more inclusive decision-making processes?

Submit your ideas for how to increase dialogue between citizens and decision makers so that a multitude of voices are represented in public policy, including those of women and youth.

3. Improve access to public services and data – How can we utilize technology to improve access to public services and/or data?

Submit your ideas for how better access to services and data can strengthen trust in institutions and encourage greater public participation in decision-making.

Want more info?

DOWNLOAD: Guidelines for applicants
CONTACT: and/or for more info.
FOLLOW: @UNDPEurasia, @UNDPArabStates and @mahallae for updates!

Deadline for the submission of ideas is Thursday 5th March – Apply today!


  • Glad to see UNDP’s work is still getting closer and closer to citizens’ needs! Is it also open for Slovakia? Should I share with my friends?

    • admin

      Hi Nicolas, thanks for your email. Unfortunately Slovakia is not one of the eligible countries.

      Eligible countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo [1], Kyrgyzstan, Montenegro, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Tajikistan, fYR Macedonia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, UAE, and Yemen

      [1] All references to Kosovo in context of UNSCR 1244 (1999)

  • Peter Nsubi Sarpong

    Are Ghanaians not eligible?

  • Peter Nsubi Sarpong

    Are Ghanaians not eligible?

    • admin

      Hi Peter, I’m afraid not for this one. Just people from countries mentioned below.