The right to health care: A myth for illegal migrant workers?

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Filed under: Health Human rights Migration and remittances Poverty Social inclusion

Migrant workers on the move

Our last blog post on Russian quotas for foreign workers started a conversation – in particular with Alexandre Lefebvre, Senior Research Officer with the International Centre for Migration, Health and Development. Mr. Lefebvre posed some questions about the impact of the quota system on the health of migrant workers.

We’d like to open up the discussion.

According to an agreement of countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) to cooperate on labour migration and social protection of migrant workers (from 1994), medical services in the host country are provided to migrant workers at the expense of the employer.

Migrant workers working in the informal sector or those with informal job are not included in this agreement because they don’t have a regular employment contract; employers hire them informally and as a consequence do not pay for their medical insurance. Therefore informally employed migrant workers  don’t have access to healthcare benefits when they are working in Russia or in any other CIS country.

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Women’s work


Filed under: Gender equality Social inclusion

Despite diminishing resistance inside our office towards equality between women and men (See: Confessions of a gender specialist), changing people’s mindsets is still a big part of our work. This kind of change doesn’t happen overnight either.

We can talk and explain, convince and provide rational arguments and proof, but we also decided to harness the power of photography. As they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” (See how the discussion on Facebook took off after we shared a photo of women digging a ditch.)

We wanted to show real women and men working in non-traditional, unusual jobs that break stereotypes and inspire younger generation, and we also wanted to encourage young women to become professional photographers.

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You’re invited: Let’s talk women and politics in Asia Pacific


Filed under: Gender equality Social inclusion

Women in Mongolia

I’ll be in Ulaanbaatar 3 and 4 April and you’re welcome to join me. I’ll be sharing the recommendations of women leaders, specialists and activists in the Asia Pacific region as they formulate plans to improve women’s political participation.

I’ll be tweeting throughout the Asia-Pacific regional conference on women’s political participation – so join the conference online and feel free to ask questions. Follow us on Twitter via @UNDP_AsiaPac or @BarboGalvankova #womeninpolitics or #regconf

Some key topics to be discussed during the conference:

  • National strategies to promote women’s political participation
  • Electoral systems and special measures to enhance women’s political participation
  • The role of political parties in promoting women’s empowerment
  • Alternative pathways to politics for young women leaders

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Let’s play


Filed under: Development 2.0 Poverty Social inclusion Social innovation

Get inspiration from our volunteers and build your own cardboard hostel.

By 2015, more than 50 percent of organizations that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes.

“Gamification” is a new buzzword sweeping the world. It is a method used to increase people’s engagement and inspire desired behaviour through games.

Nongovernmental organizations started appreciating the strength of people’s love for games, too. With our partner, the Association for Prevention and Sociotherapy –  Ad Rem (in Lodz, Poland), we decided to experiment with this approach and create a game that would spread the word about our project and get more people involved.

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HIV in Uzbekistan – Prevention and care


Filed under: Health HIV Social inclusion

I was recently sifting through last year’s pictures and reports of our UNDP-Global Fund HIV project and I was amazed to see the progress we made and the people we were able to help in a short period of time.

And the numbers tell the same story:

  • Over 24,000 people of the most-at-risk populations from all regions benefited from HIV care, prevention, and support services and advocacy aimed at  reducing  high risk behaviour.
  • Over 31,000 young people received HIV prevention services provided by peer educators.
  • More than 3,800 people living with HIV received antiretroviral therapy and 210 specialists received basic and advanced training in antiretroviral therapy
  • 365 health care practitioners received training for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
And this is just part of what we achieved in 2011.

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Live tweeting and streaming from Jan Vandemoortele’s lecture on poverty in Africa


Filed under: Development Governance Poverty

Jan Vandemoortele

Jan Vandemoortele

Will faster economic growth, more foreign aid and better governance guarantee achievement of the Millennium Development Goals?

Jan Vandemoortele, closely involved with the creation of the Millennium Development Goals, will challenge this view at the Kapuscinski lecture “Are the 3Gs enough to reduce poverty in Africa? Is it all about Growth, Grants or Governance?”

You can join me on Twitter, where I’ll be tweeting throughout the lecture in Lisbon, and you’re encouraged to post comments and questions to Jan Vandemoortele. Follow #kapuscinski on Thursday 29 March 2012 at 18:00 WET/19:00 CET (via @UNDP_Europe_CIS or @szczycinski).

We’re also trying something new and will be livestreaming the lecture via Facebook. Hope to see you there!

The lecture is part of the Kapuscinski development lecture series organized across the European Union by the European Commission, UNDP and partner universities.

>> Find out more about the lecture with Jan Vandemoortele

It’s time to include young people in development


Filed under: Development Governance Poverty Social inclusion

Global Model UN Conference 2011, Korea, Uzbekistan delegation

Uzbekistan delegation, Global Model UN Conference 2011, Korea,

This year is very special. Last month United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced youth as a top priority and promised to address the needs of the largest generation of young people the world has ever known.

This includes deepening the youth focus of existing programmes on employment, entrepreneurship, political inclusion, citizenship and protection of rights, and education, including reproductive health.

UN Member States are called upon “to include young people in society, in politics, in the labour market and in business development.”

I just came back from a historic meeting that helped to kick off the global priority. The theme for the first part of the meeting was Building Architecture for Youth Engagement led by UN HABITAT, while the second part was Youth Leadership and Inclusive Governance led by UNDP.

The reason for gathering was not to speak to, but rather broker dialogue with young people.

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Confessions of a gender specialist


Filed under: Gender equality Human rights Social inclusion

Winning entry from staff gender equality photo contest

Winning entry from staff gender equality photo contest

When I first joined UNDP as gender specialist I was convinced that 100 percent of my time would be spent designing projects to reach government, media, and the general public (See: National Media Campaign : Woman. Born to be Happy).

Instead, I spent a lot of time convincing my colleagues why we need to advocate for equality between men and women.

Equality between men and women is the topic of briefings for newcomers, learning hours, trainings, UN days, quizzes, questionnaires, guest lectures, movie sessions, and competitions with prizes.

The first couple years were tough. I confess that sometimes I would eat my sandwich alone, in peace, instead of sitting with everyone at lunch, where sooner or later I would have to face jokes about gender equality, challenging questions, comments and endless debates.

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The day my report became a TV show


Filed under: Development Social inclusion

Video in Montenegrin language

Whenever I organize a focus group for our National Human Development Report survey here in Montenegro, and I watch people, and listen to their stories, I always imagine them on TV.

Wouldn’t they make better content than the boring faces and talk we usually get. People like single moms, students dreaming of their first jobs, lonely pensioners confined to their tiny studio apartments with a TV, or people who are unemployed and abandoned by their friends….

Crazy as it seems, this fantasy has now become reality. I don’t know about other countries, but I have never seen a focus group on TV in Montenegro. And, to be perfectly honest, when I first introduced the idea to colleagues, they didn’t exactly jump for joy.

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What is beauty?


Filed under: Gender equality Human rights Social inclusion

One of the worst parts of my student years was studying photographs of people living with disabilities as one of the methods for their evaluation during medical classes.

The lecturer was showing us all sorts of ‘deviations’ from a ‘normal human appearance,’ and we were taught it was all evidence of mental or physical disease.

It felt like the people in the pictures were from a parallel world. Sometimes you could notice their gender, but never any personal features that could evoke sympathy.

“Where do they even find these pictures?” I thought to myself.

Now I know where: in a hospital, on an early morning, with a twelve-year old girl who lives with a physical disability, the daughter of a friend of mine.

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