“I’m Not Afraid to Tell”: How Kazakh women are breaking the silence on gender-based violence


Filed under: Gender equality


Over the past few months, I’ve witnessed as women in Kazakhstan break their silence on sexual violence.

A campaign titled #ЯнеБоюсьСказать (I’m not afraid to tell) и НеМолчи (Don’t keep Quiet) has led to many women sharing their stories. One of them is Dina Tansari (pictured), a well-known TV producer.

“…I was unconscious. They left me in front of my flat, rang the bell, and ran away. In the morning I couldn’t remember anything, except for my mum’s screams when she found me…,” she wrote on her Facebook wall.

Read more »

A calm soul in a shaking body

by and

Filed under: Social inclusion


We here at UN Moldova recently challenged ourselves to practice what we preach.

We asked ourselves: How do we take solid steps to embrace diversity?

That’s how we ended up with our very first UN-wide internship program in Moldova designed for persons from vulnerable groups. People who may otherwise have a hard time receving internships, not because they do not have the skills, but due to limited life opportunities they have faced.

13 interns are now working with UN in Moldova, nine of them in our offices at UNDP.

Read more »

What can young people bring to development? An intern’s ode to youth and inexperience


Filed under: Other

HDD team (2) copy

One of the things that strikes me about today’s working culture is how little youth and inexperience are valued.

When I was beginning my Master’s degree, I did not question the centrality of experience in our professional world. I had resigned myself to go through the journey from low-skilled, low-responsibility positions to higher-responsibility, more interesting ones.

But after finishing two internships in a row – at the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), followed by a placement at the UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub – I’m left wondering whether experience really is the best way to assess the value of a professional.

In fact, I wonder if youth and inexperience may not be just as valuable as the latter.

Read more »

Drip, drop. Can innovations save water in Kazakhstan?


Filed under: Central Asia Environment Social innovation


Frankly speaking, I had never given much thought to how and where my water comes from until I moved to Astana.

The quality of water in Astana is far worse than in Almaty, where I came from, and suddenly water became an issue in my life. For instance, although tap water here is considered suitable for drinking, many residents prefer to buy bottled water or install filters.

The outlook for Kazakhstan shows that the country might experience a 50% water shortage by 2040. Outdated facilities, a focus on modernization rather than saving, lack of water specialists capable of taking accurate stock of water use and consumption, and poor coordination among ministries responsible for water management all contribute to this risk.

Read more »

A few degrees doesn’t really make a difference… right?


Filed under: Disaster response Environment

9_IMG_0197_coppice forest copy

Temperatures around the world are rising.

The average increase globally stands at 0.850C but in Armenia, that figure is higher still – 1.10C.

Rainfall and other precipitation have also gone down in Armenia by 10% between 1935 and 2012.

According to a study by the World Bank, Armenia, out of 28 countries in Europe and Central Asia, is the fourth most likely to experience an increase in extreme weather conditions. Out of the same group, it is the fifth most sensitive country to climate change.

Read more »

We need more women in politics. Here’s how to make sure quotas don’t fail

by and

Filed under: Development Gender equality Governance

Gender infographic 1

The low representation of women in politics remains one of the most obvious obstacles preventing us from achieving gender equality in the world.

In the Republic of Moldova, a medium income country in Eastern Europe that ranks 50th in the most recent Gender Inequality Index, we want to increase the pace of change and ensure that more women are getting involved in elections as candidates, voters, and electoral staff.

In a context where gender inequality is constantly dismissed as a non-issue, we had to have data to back up our claims and push for change. So we partnered up with the Moldovan Central Electoral Commission, and developed the first ever national set of statistics related to the participation of women and men in elections.

To our surprise, the first thing we learned was that women in Moldova do get involved in politics.

Read more »

Healthy beginnings: How Ukrainians joined forces to drive out corruption for good

by and

Filed under: Governance Health


The level of corruption in the health sector in the Eastern European and Central Asian region is alarming.

A recent survey by EBRD shows one in three respondents making informal payments or gifts to receive treatment in public healthcare facilities.

We know corruption affects governance negatively. Estimates also show that the cost of corruption equals more than 5 percent of global GDP with over US$ 1 trillion paid in bribes each year.

But did you know corruption also damages people’s health and well-being?

Read more »

How do we avoid taking two steps back?


Filed under: Disaster response Human rights and rule of law Migration and remittances Peace and security

Refugees board trains in FYR Macedonia.

Our region has seen countless examples of how development brings a country one step forward, only to have disasters, conflicts and other crises take it two steps back.

Whether the armed conflict in Ukraine, the floods in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, or the migration and refugee crisis that has hit Southeast Europe, it’s evident that humanitarian and development action are two ends of the same spectrum. Read more »

Can we save the snow leopard?

by and

Filed under: Environment

Photo_Kan Achuu_2

The newly established park in the the Toguz-Toro region of Kyrgyzstan is a place of incredible beauty.

But beyond its rich landscape and abundance of endangered species, it is also home to countless mysterious legends.

The mystical and enigmatic stories of Kan-Achu, well known to its locals, have a fairly consistent message: All species in nature play a role.

Read more »

When it comes to law reform, think long-term: Plan ahead, plan better


Filed under: Human rights and rule of law


In the Kyrgyz Republic, there are 172,800 people with disabilities – corresponding to 2.9 percent of the population.

Out of these, 28,200 are children living in orphanages.

The average amount of the monthly benefit is of US$ 35 and represents a significant financial burden on the state.

Read more »