Breaking the silence in Kosovo*: If not now, when?


Filed under: Gender equality Peace and security Social inclusion


A new tribute in Pristina, aptly named “Thinking of You”, displays thousands of dresses hung up on washing lines symbolizing the hidden and silent survivors of sexual violence. Photo: Visar Kryeziu / Associated Press.

This month marked the 16th year anniversary of the conflict in Kosovo, but the silence on the sexual violence that took place has yet to be broken.

The topic itself is still a social taboo. Rape is treated as though it were a death sentence and those who have experienced sexual violence are often shunned and discriminated against by their families, spouses, and communities.

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A school powered by the sun: Shining example from Croatia

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Filed under: Development 2.0 Environment Social inclusion Social innovation

A group of students around a table

A new academy in Croatia is teaching the tricks of the trade when it comes to crowdfunding.

We all want the best for our children. A good school is often at the top of that list.

Unfortunately, for many schools in Croatia today, the high cost of energy bills poses a challenge.

The Ostrog Primary School, located in sunny Dalmatia, is changing that narrative.  A 25 kW solar energy plant, mounted on the roof of the school, helps it to produce all the energy it needs.

And the best part? It happened without state support or any burden on the tiny school budget.

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8 ways to make innovation the norm in a UNDP Country Office

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Filed under: Development 2.0

"I want you to innovate"

We at UNDP in Armenia recently invited the brilliant folks over at Futuregov to come to Yerevan and see if they could quantify the progress in our own innovation work to date.

They made an assessment of the work of our innovation lab Kolba, and gave us recommendations to help us expand the innovation mind-set throughout the office.

We hope that sharing some of the highlights may help those of you on a similar journey.

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All Aboard the Big Data Express!


Filed under: Development 2.0 Social innovation

Srbia (3)

Visualization of geo-located tweets, Serbia floods, May 2014, UNDP.

The world is changing fast—and so must our approaches to persistent development issues.

An ever-increasing number of people and devices and objects now generate data – social networks, mass media, transportation, mobile phones, credit cards, etc.

What matters now is not how much data we have, but rather what can we do with all of it.

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Going to scale: A green economy project in the SILab makes good

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Filed under: Development 2.0 Environment

Map of recycling points in Minsk

Minsk on the Greenmap: See all the recycling points, places where one can donate/exchange their unwanted stuff.

This journey began during the first Social Innovation Lab organized by UNDP in Belarus back in September 2014.

Local NGO ‘Center for Environmental Solutions’ winning idea back then was called – an online resource and mobile app providing information on available recycling points in a number of cities around the country..

Since then – with UNDP’s support – the project was introduced in two pilot cities and a promotion campaign featuring our friend Grandpa Trofim was launched  to encourage environmentally friendly behaviour.

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From design to access: MiLab goes on safari

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Filed under: Development 2.0 Social inclusion Social innovation

a woman reads the sign in braille

Ludmila, one of the participants, checks the sign posts for accessibility (Photos: Victoria Puiu)

We often consider the buildings we’re constructing as comfortable and accessible for all.

How often do we remember what a challenge they can be for those living with disabilities?

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Uncovering hidden Belarus: Hacking tourism

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Filed under: Development 2.0 Social innovation

nature in belarus

Yelnya Swamp – one of the beautiful nature trails in Belarus (Photos: UNDP in Belarus)

Did you know that Belovezhskaya Pushcha is the largest ancient forest in all of Europe?

Herodotus wrote about this UNESCO World Heritage Listed site way back in the  the 5th century B.C.

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Kyrgyzstan: What does it take to make the invisible visible?


Filed under: Central Asia Social inclusion

Person with disabilities

And justice for all? Read the author’s previous blog post on rebranding justice

A friend in Kyrgyzstan recently told me about the first time she saw a person with disabilities: She had just turned 19 and left the country to study abroad.

Day-to-day life makes it easy to forget the people with disabilities who live among us. There are few accessible ramps in Bishkek.

A recent trip to the northern part of Kyrgyzstan drove this point home even more.

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