Investing in early childhood care and preschool education pays off

by , and

Filed under: Development Gender equality Guest posts


“Investment in childcare and education not only creates more jobs, but better jobs” (Photo: UNDP in Turkey)

High quality early childhood care and preschool education is a profitable investment, shaping the minds of children to become productive citizens in the future.

In Turkey, however, the enrollment rate in preschools and other educational childcare programmes remains far behind the OECD average. To catch up, more than 3 million children will need to enroll.

This will involve hiring 600,000 teachers and staff, and securing the necessary material and services to run the facilities.

Read more »

Gearing up for the Good

by and

Filed under: Other Development Social inclusion Central Asia Social innovation

sgs 1

This year’s Social Good Summit is shaping up to be the most globally connected yet.

And it’s very, very exciting because this isn’t just any Social Good Summit: This year, with meet ups scheduled for over 100 countries (and counting) it is the biggest ever, and we’re bringing together activists, artists, leaders and everyday citizens to make the Global Goals famous.

The Global what, you ask?

Read more »

How do we measure the unmeasurable? Talking inequality in Croatia


Filed under: Development Poverty Social inclusion

street scene in Zagreb

Zagreb by day: UNDP is here continuing its regional Dialogue on Inequalities (Photo: Ariel Rubin)

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”

This basic bit of common sense is one of the most difficult aspects of trying to better understand trends and drivers of inequalities in the economies of Europe and Central Asia.

Of course attempts to measure inequalities face certain conceptual challenges in all countries.

Should we focus on inequalities of outcomes or opportunities?

Read more »

Constructive destructions or: Why I’m musing over a manhole cover


Filed under: Development Peace and security

gun destruction

See SEESAC in action. Follow their work on Twitter and Facebook

Sparks fly. A distinct smell fills the air. Twisted metal, slowly morphs into liquid.

Under the watchful eyes of police officers, metal workers, and other observers, sawed up rifles and tagged guns are moved into the furnace, ceasing to exist as we know them – threatening, powerful, lethal.

I’m at a gun destruction event somewhere in the Western Balkans.

Read more »

From neglect to respect: Changing Georgia’s mental health approach


Filed under: Development Social inclusion


These reforms seek to address numerous problems inherited from the Soviet healthcare system (Photos: Melissa Stonehill/UNDP)

Visiting a psychiatric clinic can leave a lasting impression.

Last month, I had the opportunity to visit a psychiatric hospital in Tbilisi to meet the doctors and experts taking part in designing a national reform of mental healthcare in Georgia.

This co-design work is largely supported by UNDP, the Government of Sweden, and civil society organizations.

The first thing I noticed was the hospital’s size.

Read more »

Closing the Gap: Delivering impact for gender equality in Europe and Central Asia


Filed under: Development Gender equality

women constructing a solar panel in tajikistan

In Namangan in Uzbekistan, a long-standing dream for a crafts centre came true.

In Misi village in Turkey, a silk unit for niche products, another dream child of a group of women, is having a fourth year of success, against all odds. In Jilkul village in Tajikistan, another group of women have gained more income and more time for their families by learning to set up solar water heaters.

These are some ways in which UNDP is supporting gender equality and women’s empowerment in the Europe and Central Asia region.

Read more »

Free legal aid comes to Kyrgyzstan


Filed under: Development Social inclusion

a lawyer providing free legal aid in Kyrgyzstan

Read the author’s previous post on rebranding justice

I sit in front of a woman with a wet handkerchief in her hands.

She slowly recounts the story of her suffering upon the condition that I not reveal any substantial detail of her case. She still hopes that some sort of miracle will solve everything, that she can avoid the judges and court proceedings.

Read more »

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?

Read more »

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.

Read more »

Beyond the blintz: Belarus hacks the tourist trade


Filed under: Development Social inclusion Development 2.0


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.

Read more »