From welfare as a cost to welfare as investment: social impact bonds and the case of Sitra


Filed under: Development



Funding the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be a daunting challenge. By some estimates, it will take nearly 20 times last year’s official international aid or the combined GDP of Africa’s 30 biggest economies in additional funds each year to keep on track.

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3 things I learned about development from giving a TEDx Talk


Filed under: Guest posts


I cringe every time I think of my TEDx talk.

What those on stage in California make seem effortless is actually the result of months of work: an incredibly difficult process of condensing thousands of ideas into one simple message.

For me, this was all the more difficult because I am a bureaucrat.

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How do we fight corruption in law? We tried something different in Kyrgyzstan


Filed under: Human rights and rule of law

Youth - lawyers in KG

Despite tangible progress in the justice system, the trust of the Kyrgyz citizens to the court system remains very low.

A recent survey shows that 51% of the population believe judges are “very corrupt”, with another 37% thinking they are “somewhat corrupt.”

It’s the kind of phenomenon that leads to legal nihilism – where people do not have any confidence in the system and consider the existence of any rule of law as an unattainable dream not worth considering.

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People helping people: It’s a new day for public services in Kyrgyzstan

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Filed under: Development 2.0 Social inclusion


With growing internal migration and weakening economic situation in the region, it is no surprise that the isolation is becoming an increasing issue in Kyrgyzstan.

According to the Social Fund, over 38% retirees live below the minimum living wage, with more than 5,000 claiming they feel lonely.

Liudmila is a 77-year-old lady who has been visiting the Balykchy Day Care Centre for Elderly since 2015. The centre was set up by a local non-governmental organization to provide a gathering place for retired and elderly people who don’t have relatives or access to a social network.

“I feel part of a community when I spend time with other retired people here,” she tells us. “We garden, make noodles and just spend time together.”

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How does investing in disaster prevention pay off?

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Filed under: Development Disaster response

EWS story BiH Cash for Work floods 2014

The unprecedented damage Bosnia and Herzegovina saw in the 2014 floods has shown us the devastating effects of deprioritized financing and years of neglect of flood control systems.

Doboj, a northern town in BiH, was among the worst-hit cities. More than 3,500 dwellings were destroyed or damaged by flood water. Urgent rehabilitation of 400 homes conducted under the EU Floods Recovery Programme took several months and cost more than 1.3 million Euro.

Emergency home rehabilitation and its staggering monetary cost may have had been avoided if the 2 kilometer long flood barrier, worth only EUR 300,000, had been put into place before the floods struck the city.

If that were the case, Doboj would surely be a much different community than it is today, and millions of Euros would have been freed for development, rather than the restoration of basic living conditions.

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Accurate accounts: Reflections from a weapons identification workshop


Filed under: Peace and security

24022015 Arms an old problem with new urgency for TPO Magazine online

‘Know what you don’t know,’ said one of the trainers.

I immediately took it as a philosophical cue, conjuring up an amalgamation of words I don’t know – from aardvark (is it an office supply item?) to zyzzyvas (a type of shoe?).

Right. I’m at a workshop for journalists on identification of small arms and light weapons. And what the trainer actually means is that we should be aware of what we don’t know. Only then can we truly ask for help.

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I work for UNDP and I am not a development expert


Filed under: Development


I have to be honest with you.

Four years ago, just before my first day at UNDP in Turkey, I thought I knew everything about development. I was dead wrong.

Doing development is less about having a comfortable office and more about touching people’s hearts. It’s about being open to learning from others.

But that’s just what UNDP has taught me: There is no such thing as a development expert. There are only people who carry a passion for learning from and helping others.

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Growth for all: Some thoughts after #talkinequality


Filed under: Development


How can we ensure that economic growth benefits everyone, not just the privileged elite?

It’s a question often asked these days as the topic of inequality becomes more and more visible.

Simon Kuznets, the Nobel laureate, argued that the relationship between inequality and income is like an inverted U: inequality initially increases with economic growth, but eventually declines. This is also known as the Kuznets curve.

In my recent study, I assessed Kuznets hypothesis against the experiences of 26 ex-socialist East European countries.

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