Build it yourself: Welcome to the tech for citizen engagement challenge

18 Feb 2015 by Nilgun Arif , Harry Gibbs and Nadine Abou Elgheit

It’s called the IKEA effect.
You value something more when you’ve helped build it. Surely anyone who’s ever suffered through a harrowing afternoon assembling that pernickety SVÄRTA loft bed frame can recall the swell of pride and accomplishment after finally figuring it out. Might not a similar thing be the case when it comes to the various institutions of governance? If you are able to participate in the institutions making the decisions that affect your life, you are more likely to associate pride, trust and responsibility with them. Going a step further, recent research out of Cyprus has revealed that greater trust in institutions makes people more willing to try to overcome sources of conflict with people from communities outside their own. … Read more

You may ask yourself, how did I get here? Let’s #TalkInequality

15 Jan 2015 by Elena Danilova-Cross, Programme Specialist, Poverty and Inequality, UNDP Europe and Central Asia

Just how bad is global inequality today? Upon the launch of UNDP’s Humanity Divided report last year, Helen Clark noted that the richest eight per cent of the world’s population earns half of the world’s total income. She continued: Not only do 1.2 billion people continue to live on under US $1.25 dollars a day, but inequalities in income and wealth are often compounded by inequalities in access to power, and disparities in health and education. Reports like these beckon questions. They also demand answers. … Read more

A child’s guide to corruption in Kyrgyzstan

03 Nov 2014 by Lucio Valerio Sarandrea, Chief Technical Advisor on Rule of Law, UNDP Kyrgyzstan

Photo: UNDP Kyrgyzstan
There is nothing that gives me more energy, enthusiasm, and excitement for the future than talking with children. Over past few days, I had the opportunity to visit several schools in Bishkek to talk about my work with UNDP in Kyrgyzstan and the Rule of Law team. I spoke with children between the ages of five and 17, and I have to be honest: I learned a great deal about both this country and my work. One of the topics I talked about was corruption and the damages it wreaks on a society. I started by asking the students how they would feel if a classmate was paying the teacher to get higher grades. Almost everybody raised his or her hands, crying out that this was wrong. … Read more

Reinventing public services has to start with the user

21 Oct 2014 by Nana Tsiklauri and Sesili Verdzadze, UNDP Georgia

Only by incremental experiments, with an eye on effectiveness and putting the end-users at the heart of the design process, can we truly hope to transform public services to meet our citizens’ needs. Transforming public services to meet the true expectations of the citizens and create public value is indisputably a challenge. The question is how to prototype, test, and scale up public services in response to this challenge? … Read more

Volatility and the ‘new normal’: A discussion with Helen Clark

25 Jun 2014 by Ariel Rubin, Communication Specialist, UNDP Europe and Central Asia

Helen Clark in Zadar, Croatia. Photo: UNDP
Last week, at the International Development Conference for South-South Cooperation, I was lucky enough to have a conversation with my boss: former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Forbes’ 23rd most powerful woman in the world, and (to my delight) Blood on the Tracks-era Bob Dylan fan, Helen Clark. Ms. Clark is presiding over the UNDP at a time when great change is underway both within the organization and beyond. Among all the things I wanted to know, one theme seemed to tie it together: How is UNDP preparing for a future that seems to be more and more difficult to predict? … Read more


09 Jun 2014 by Vasko Popovski, Disaster Risk Management, Social Innovation & Development Specialist, UNDP Europe and Central Asia

Volunteers would really bolster the amount of big data for development. Photo: Zaven Khachikyan/UNDP in Armenia
In preparing for the upcoming research and development event ‘Foresight for Development – Shaping the New Future’, one of my tasks was to compile an essential reading list for the participants. This is easier said than done. There are gigabytes and terabytes of publications, books, and blogs out there. How was I to synthesize this into two pages? Since many of the participants - and in the development sector in general - are quite new to foresight for development I have tried to pare down an essential list of that provides a good basis not only for preparing for the event, but also for learning more about these sometimes nebulous concepts. Okay, ready? Here we go. … Read more

A ‘bad girl’ no longer: Tackling gender inequality in Azerbaijan

17 Apr 2014 by Ruslan Ismayil-zada, Communication Officer, UNDP Azerbaijan

After completing a course in entrepreneurship at the UNDP-supported Women’s Resource Centre, Rena Mehraliyeva opened a successful wedding and event-planning business. Photo: UNDP Azerbaijan
In Azerbaijan, especially in rural areas, there exists a very powerful term for women who don’t follow the rules: ‘pis giz’, which translates to ‘bad girl’. For an Azerbaijani woman, being called a “pis giz” is more than just a gender slur. It can mean the total loss of respect in her community, ineligibility for marriage, and the end of a once-bright future. Unfortunately, it is very easy to become a target for this derogatory term: the simple act of being seen in an internet cafe or participating in public events is all it takes. As a consequence, access to public places for many rural women is limited. However, things are starting to change. In the small rural city of Sabirabad, the region’s first women’s resource centre has recently opened its doors. A joint project between UNDP in Azerbaijan and local government, the centre offers a safe public space so many rural Azerbaijani women have long been denied. … Read more

The future is now (and here’s how we’re planning to catch up)

04 Apr 2014 by Vasko Popovski, UNDP in Europe and Central Asia.

Photo: UNDP Armenia
There’s no shortage of guidelines these days on how to ‘prepare for the future.’ From Nesta’s defense of futurology to our colleagues at the Global Pulse, who look at how big data can help us better prepare for and protect citizens from sudden shocks. But that’s not all. Private sector companies are working to gamifying and crowdsource geopolitical problems, while countries such as Singapore are investing in units for Strategic Planning and Research. Entirely new jobs such Chief Resilience Officers are being created to oversee the future-proofing of 100 cities. As if that isn’t enough, foresight engines are pulling in thousands of citizens to reimagine the future of governance, cities, peacebulding, and generating over 1,800 paths out of poverty. … Read more

Croatia: How crowdfunding helped us go green

17 Mar 2014 by Tanja Medic, Mak Dukan and Robert Pasicko

Hooray! We have officially completed the first big step towards making a school in Croatia energy independent. A few months ago, with US$15,000 of seed funding from the UNDP in Bratislava Regional Centre, we launched a campaign dedicated to helping Ostrog elementary school (in Croatian) in Kaštela become the first energy independent school in Croatia. Another $10,000 was collected through crowdfunding on Indiegogo but that only accounts for part of the total amount we received. … Read more

Roma women: Exposing inequality

19 Feb 2014 by Jaroslav Kling, Roma Inclusion Policy Analyst, UNDP Europe and Central Asia

Photo: Dorin Goian/UNDP Moldova
Since its early days, the Decade of Roma Inclusion has focused primarily on four priority areas: employment, education, health and housing. Even though gender equality is a cross-cutting issue, attention to this area has been significantly smaller throughout the years. Usually, gender equality is treated as an isolated category, rather than a social factor that is a part of all social categories and issues. In recent years, the interest in interaction between ethnicity and gender has grown. All regional surveys that UNDP conducted in Central and Eastern Europe targeting marginalized Roma (2002, 2004, 2011) produced data which allow for basic disaggregation by sex - allowing for analyzing how ethnicity interacts with gender. … Read more