Celebrating Roma and Egyptians in Albania

12 Apr 2013 by Nora Kushti, Communication Specialist, UNDP in Albania

Almost every morning as I drive to work, I see a little beautiful Roma girl begging in the street, sitting in the same corner. Sometimes I stop to talk to her. Her name is Violeta and she thinks she is nine years old. She’s never gone to school but “would love to someday.” She seems to envy my son, who is the same age, and nicely dressed as heads to school. She is the oldest of the kids in her family, her parents are divorced, and her mother cleans the street so she can provide food for her children. My son said to me one day: “Too bad her parents did not study hard, get a good education and a good job to provide for their children.” … Read more

Don’t quit – go underground!

06 Mar 2013 by Andrey Ivanov, Human Development Advisor, UNDP Europe and Central Asia

Photo: UNHCR/L. Taylor
This month, Roma activist Valeriu Nicolae posted an explosive blog stating his reasons for quitting Roma inclusion work. The reaction below comes from my own similar experience. Valeriu, your frustration about Roma inclusion work, the missing results and the role of “beggars” imposed on people doing real work is perfectly understandable. However, it does not necessarily mean that you should quit. The experience you describe is illustrative of the Law of Diminishing Funding Opportunities. It states that a project’s chances of getting funded are reversely proportional to the level of its meaningfulness and the successful track record of the applicant. In other words, the better the work, (the more tangible, accountable and cost-efficient results you produce), the lower the chances of getting resources. … Read more

Roma inclusion: building houses does not solve the housing issue

25 Feb 2013 by Jaroslav Kling, Roma Inclusion Policy Analyst, UNDP Europe and Central Asia

Our next batch of Roma analysis is out - this week’s focus is on housing. The latest report is part of the Roma Inclusion Working Papers series, and is based on data from the survey UNDP did together with the World Bank and the European Commission in 2011. When we talk about Roma housing, many of us might imagine substandard shacks in a segregated and poor part of the village. The survey data show that this image is reality for many Roma across Central and Southeastern Europe. Leaking roofs, no access to utilities mainly due to inability to pay bills, and the threat of eviction. Overall poor housing conditions is the everyday reality for a large number of marginalized Roma. But do Roma really have to live in such conditions? Is it primarily their responsibility? Should society leave marginalized people on their own? … Read more

I paid a bribe, so what? An experience from Kosovo*

04 Nov 2012 by Alexis Franke, Programme Analyst at UNDP Kosovo*

Over on the Democracy sport blog, Tiago Peixoto started a thought-provoking conversation about the impact of websites like I paid a bribe that encourage citizens to report cases of corruption (both the blog post and the comments are well worth a read). How can we assess whether these sites make a difference? I thought it might be useful to add my (admittedly, biased!) two cents to the debate based on my experience working on Kallxo.com, a project that encourages citizens to report cases of corruption in Kosovo via a Ushahidi-based platform. Kallxo is still at too early a stage of development for a thorough assessment of its impact, (after four months, over 300 cases reported, more than 36,200 page views, and 3,600 “Likes” on Facebook) but, to Tiago’s point, I like to think that we had a theory of changing mindsets when we set out to develop the project together with our partners … Read more

Unlikely allies: Can social networks help build new business?

18 Jul 2012 by Milica Begovic Radojevic, UNDP Montenegro

It’s a paradox: Montenegro’s poorest citizens live in the northern region endowed with 100 percent of surface water reservoirs and hydro-electric potential, 67 percent of the cultivable land, 71 percent of the timber mass, 70 percent of cattle stock, and immense potential for year-around sustainable tourism. This paradox is most evident in the tourism sector, where out of 1.5 million tourists that visit Montenegro only five to seven percent visit the northern region. Could social network theory provide some ideas as to how to address this problem? … Read more

3 reasons why you should care about good governance

23 May 2012 by Sanja Bojanic, Programme Analyst, UNDP in Montenegro

undp-rbec-community-center-children-smallCommunity centre for kids with special needs. Photo: UNDP
Good governance is such a widely used term that I feel the need to first clarify what I understand by good governance. If governance includes the exercise of authority in managing the resources of a country, then good governance is about making sure that this exercise of power helps improve quality of life enjoyed by all citizens. If your government is not providing the quality of life that you think you and your fellow citizens deserve, it most likely has to do with good governance - or a lack thereof. … Read more