Talking in tongues: From crypto currencies to breaking blockchains

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Filed under: Development 2.0 Social innovation


Bitcoin accepted in a Dutch café in 2013 (Photo: Wikipedia)

Lately, the language of funding has gotten very strange.

From equity-based crowfunding and person-to-person lending, to crypto currencies and mobile money; entirely new players are disrupting the field of financing for development and public policy.

So, what does this alternative finance space look like? Who are the new players and what are they up to?

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With a little help from my friends: Crowdfunding Academy in Croatia

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Filed under: Development 2.0 Social innovation

We tried it once, and it worked out pretty well.

Thirteen teams have now successfully graduated from our Crowdfunding Academy.

The first campaign debuted from the Academy – Lighten the Load of Syrian Mothers raised over 500 percent of its original target funding – with Taste of Home and STEMI are heading in the same direction.

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Innovate Yemen? Mafi mushkela


Filed under: Development 2.0 Guest posts Social innovation


All hands on deck: A town hall meeting in Khadir, Yemen (Photos: Chikako Kodama)

You may wonder how can innovation in development can work for Yemen.

Yemen is ranked 137 out of 141 in the 2015 Global Innovation Index, with a mobile subscription rate of 68 percent, and internet usage at just 23 percent in 2014.

What I’ve learned, though, is that technology is not the heart of innovation; rather it is about involving and empowering citizens to realize their own ideas as solutions.

And you’d be surprised by Yemeni people’s openness, interest and wealth of ideas.

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Gender equality: Sky’s the limit


Filed under: Gender equality

dance troop in london

The Voala team “altering our reality to bring about something incredible” in London (Photo: The author)

It was an over a year ago when a piece of the London sky was transformed into a stage.

I was immersed in the beauty of the aerial performance of Voalá art group. Moving just above our heads, they transported the audience to a different world.

Why do I mention this performance here? How is a performance in the sky connected to achieving gender equality?

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Feast or famine in rural Kazakhstan


Filed under: Central Asia Climate change Development


A new crop: Testing out drought resistant watermelons in Kyzylorda

Rice grows best in moist conditions.

It can’t grow in arid areas unless the field is properly irrigated. This is why 90 percent of the land in the dry region of Kyzylorda, is kept irrigated.

The only problem is that this area has also always been Kazakhstan’s biggest rice producer and provider for the other Central Asian countries, with the bulk of its economy relying on it.

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As the world turns: How a Kyrgyz soap opera is standing up for women

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Filed under: Development Development 2.0 Gender equality


A scene from the “TV channel 10”: disputes on women’s representation in the Parliament (Photo: Bakai Egen/UNDP in Kyrgyzstan)

The decorations in the room look very familiar to me.

I recognize the scene from one of my favourite sitcoms on  TV channel 10.

It resembles a ‘battlefield’, where, according to the script, women are trying to raise their voices and stand up for themselves.

Sometimes they win, sometimes they lose.

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Why do the Global Goals matter to Kosovo*?


Filed under: Development Poverty


During the post 2015 consultations Kosovo youth were asked to share their ideas about how to solve some of Kosovo’s most important development issues.

This year not only marks the UN’s 70th anniversary, but also a new chapter in the development agenda: the launching of the Sustainable Development Goals.

These 17 goals will guide development for the next 15 years.

This past Saturday, 24 October, we joined together to celebrate the launching of these new goals.

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