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

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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.

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

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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?

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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?

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Filed under: Environment

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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.

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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.

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The hard facts: How do we prevent violent extremism in Europe and Central Asia?


Filed under: Development Human rights and rule of law Peace and security

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The threat of violent extremism and terrorist attacks is of increasing concern within the Europe and Central Asia region.

Since 1992, the region has seen a total of 6,125 attacks in 1800 locations.

At 519 incidents, Turkey’s Istanbul has faced the most attacks – more than twice the next location on the list – Grozny, Russian Federation with 219 attacks.

In Istanbul, most attacks came during the 1990’s, but both locations saw spikes in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In both cases, the high rates of terror attacks were the result of conflicts between the state and separatists.

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How do we combat environmental myths and misperceptions?


Filed under: Central Asia Environment Health Peace and security

Around 15,000 people live near or around the "yellow hill" in Taboshar, Tajikistan. Photo: European Commission

In Central Asia, after the Soviet Union’s collapse, uranium enrichment largely stopped in former Soviet countries like Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

This left behind “yellow hill” tailing sites storing huge amount of low grade processed uranium ore.

Water, soil, and air pollution due to tailings have had critical impact on everyday life for years in this region. Read more »

Crowdfunding for a warmer school in Tajikistan

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Filed under: Development 2.0 Environment

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70 percent of the population in Tajikistan lives in rural and mountainous areas, where electricity is available only for up to three hours a day.

At the same time, the country enjoys 280-330 sunny days a year.

It’s not rocket science figuring out that solar energy might be the perfect answer to Tajikistan’s energy challenges. 

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Reflecting on our experience, Part 2: The DON’Ts of Anti-Corruption

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Filed under: Anticorruption Development


Recently, we blogged some lessons learned from our 20+ year work on anti-corruption: The question was, what to DO?

This time we continue where we left off but with a few things we need to reframe in the work against corruption. Think of these as the DON’Ts!

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Can we build a social innovation ecosystem in FYR Macedonia?

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Filed under: Development Social innovation

Participants in the Design Thinking Course in Skopje, FRY Macedonia

Inspired by Cari Keller’s exciting coaching, we all agreed that ‘design thinking’ could be a powerful approach to tackling development problems.

To spread our enthusiasm, we established the country’s first ever winter design thinking course*.

Young people can benefit from adopting a fresh, design thinking approach. New start-ups tend to simply replicate ideas that have worked abroad—a strategy which often fails because local conditions are not fully taken into account.

When we invited students to apply for the new design thinking course, the school received over a hundred applications in less than ten days – an extremely encouraging result! We were thrilled to find there was so much interest amongst young people in social innovation. Read more »