How to organize a planet


Filed under: Social innovation


King of the hill? Check out previous blogposts from the Kolba crew

How do seven billion men, women, and children organize themselves?

As the world becomes more globalized and interconnected, do we increasingly resemble an ant colony, acting on instructions from our ant queen?

Or are we are becoming more leaderless, acting horizontally by harnessing the power of crowds?

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Four things I learned from a room full of anti-corruption experts


Filed under: Anticorruption Central Asia


Anticorruption experts gather in Berlin in July for the #VirtuousCircles event (Photo: @paullagunes)

In July, I sat in a room with some of the leading academics in the corruption studies field.

In 2012, some of them had embarked on a five-year adventure aimed at identifying patterns in the successes and failures of anti-corruption efforts.

Three years on, they invited their peers to Berlin to provide feedback, and allowed for some outsiders – like me – to join in.

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Beyond the blintz: Belarus hacks the tourist trade


Filed under: Development Development 2.0 Social inclusion


Teams help each other find solutions.

It’s hard to believe it was only a month ago that we finished our second hackathon for social good.

Around 30 young people came together to shake up Belarus’ nascent tourism industry.

A diverse group with equally diverse ideas – from a map of unique national recipes (beyond traditional potato pancakes) to virtual reality glasses that take you on a tour around the country – from your couch.

All ideas had one thing in common: the desire to show Belarus to the world and make it a better place – not only for tourists – but for Belarusians themselves.

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Another dimension: Going virtual in Prizren

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Filed under: Development 2.0 Social innovation


A panel discussion on the role of media in fighting corruption (Photo: Mustafa Tughan Anit)

This summer marks the 14th year of Dokufest, an international documentary and short film festival that takes place in the historic town of Prizren.

It’s an event that’s becoming increasingly popular for audiences both local and international.

And it’s no surprise.

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Going from an idea box to out-of-the-box in Georgia

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Filed under: Development 2.0 Social inclusion Social innovation

a person with a disability at work

Mobile service delivery in action in Georgia (Photo: Giorgi Meurnishvili)

Fresh off Nesta’s LabWorks 2015, we at the Public Service Development Agency of the Ministry of Justice of Georgia’s innovation lab are teeming with new ideas.

This London event was yet another landmark for our lab, as we strive to position ourselves as the agency changing how we do public policy design and delivery across the Government of Georgia.

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Beyond a day: Ending conflict-related sexual violence once and for all


Filed under: Gender equality

Psychosocial workers with International Rescue Committee (IRC) help rape survivors in the Democratic Republic of Congo access the services they need to begin to restore their physical and mental health. Photo Credit: Angela Rucker/USAID.

I have been researching conflict-related sexual violence for a few years now.

Having written a bachelor’s thesis on how rape was used as a weapon of war in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the early 90’s,  I am now looking at prevention methods, with Bosnia and Herzegovina again as my case study, for my master’s thesis.

The year 2015 marks an important year in the fight to eliminate sexual violence in conflict, with the 15th anniversary of the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1325 and the 20th anniversary of the creation of The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

The UN has now approved a new resolution to commemorate 19 June as the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict. I think this is a bold step forward. But at the same time, I have to ask:

“Will this day make a difference?”

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Moldova: Small country, big data?


Filed under: Anticorruption Development 2.0 Social innovation


Most people don’t know a lot about Moldova.

One prominent story to make international news recently, was a widespread scandal involving the theft of US $1 billion from three of the country’s leading banks.

Thus, few might realize that the small country between Romania and Ukraine also happens to be at the forefront of the data revolution – having moved towards open data at a much faster pace than any of its neighbours.

It’s been only five years since Moldova began to take steps towards reforming its public service.

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Call for applications: Corruption fighters, time to ACT up!


Filed under: Anticorruption


The author (left) with anti-corruption experts from three continents learning about ACTing at the local level in Vienna last month

Working with local authorities can be frustrating.

Anti-corruption activists often find the reforms they support undermined by administrative inefficiency and encumbered by bureaucratic malaise.

Municipalities are easily overtaken by corrupt systems. Citizens do not get access to basic services and businesses operate in a predatory environment.

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Unexpected connections: Interning with UNDP


Filed under: Guest posts HIV Other

"I have been fortunate to be surrounded by a truly eclectic group."  The author and her fellow interns at work  (Photo: H.I. Cagatay Ozdemir)

“I have been fortunate to be surrounded by a truly eclectic group.” The author and her fellow interns at work (Photo: H.I. Cagatay Ozdemir)

Since my first day at the Istanbul Regional Hub, many people have been struck that I came all the way from Canada for an internship.

What was a Canadian student like me going to pull from an experience in Istanbul?

What people do not perhaps realize from a first glance is that this opportunity did in fact provide many unique and crucial connections for my professional development. And after discussing with my fellow interns, I see that I am not the only one who found such unexpected connections.

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Next stop Athens: Kyrgyz agro-innovations on the move

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Filed under: Development Social innovation

Tilek Toktogaziev, the winner of Future Agro Challenge Kyrgyzstan 2015 competition

Tilek Toktogaziev, the winner of Future Agro Challenge Kyrgyzstan 2015 competition (Photo: Limon.KG Internet publication)

Congratulations! Kyrgyzstan’s trip to the future continues in Greece.

Do you remember our first blog about the Future Agro Challenge contest in Bishkek?

Kyrgyzstan’s inaugural Future Agro Challenge Kyrgyzstan 2015 competition culminated with a bang on 21 June. UNDP in Kyrgyzstan and KG Labs embarked on the very first steps in bringing together thought leaders and experts in Kyrgyzstan’s agricultural sector under one roof to discuss Central Asian agricultural innovations.

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