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Teaming up to improve public services in Moldova

For 20 years, basic water, sewer and garbage services were a rare luxury for most people in Telenesti, Moldova. The town of 9,000 used to be one of the country’s poorest. Decaying infrastructure languished without repairs. For residents like Mihai Druta, 76, that meant struggling to carry water overmore

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Egypt: ID cards help women proclaim their existence

At 28, Nesma is the principal provider for her children and husband, who is living with a disability. Like many others in Egypt, her family is struggling for food, shelter and education due to the challenging economic situation. So when Nesma heard about the Citizenship Initiative, a project aimed more

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Afghan youth vote in historic elections

Despite rain and security challenges in many parts of the country, Afghans went to the polls on 5 April in Presidential and Provincial Council elections. The election marks the first time in Afghanistan’s history that power is handed from one democratically-elected government to another. Young Afghamore

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In Somaliland, local communities benefit from decentralization

For Fosia Ahmed Ismail, a returnee to the Somaliland district of Hargeisa, life was hard. Many basic services were inadequately delivered, and access to authorities was limited and sometimes even unthinkable. “The local government resettled us here,” said Fosia. But infrastructure in local districtmore

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Timor-Leste: Convictions boost state justice system

Sitting on the verandah of his home, Camilio dos Santos, the chief of the village of Galitas in East Timor reflects on how conflicts used to be resolved in Timor-Leste. “Before independence we relied only on traditional justice to resolve any disputes in communities. It is good that now we have our more

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Through village courts,
justice for all in Bangladesh

When Jahanara Begum’s sons stole mangoes from a neighbour’s garden, what should have been a petty incident of children’s mischief escalated into a violent confrontation between Jahanara and her neighbour. Angry at Jahanara, her neighbour assaulted her and injured her eye, which then required expensimore

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Afghanistan: Bringing the police closer to the people

Farza, Kabul Province—Colonel Noor Aqa Ibrahimkhail, the district Chief of Police for Farza, located 45 kilometres north of Kabul, is a veteran officer who has experienced many brushes with violence and unrest throughout his career. But compared to his previous postings, he says, Farza is a haven ofmore

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Paralegals bring justice to women in South Sudan

In a young democracy like South Sudan, most disputes are still resolved through traditional, customary structures and institutions. Alice Adye witnessed how breakdowns within state institutions, including police as well as statutory and customary courts, undermined and victimized women in rural areamore

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Cambodian councils cooperate to provide community with school

Several years ago, Soy Pheap, a 39 year-old mother of seven, was forced to make a tough decision; send her daughter away, or forfeit the young girl’s education. Until recently, Pheap’s village, part of the Tuol Pongro commune in Banteay Meanchey Province in northwest Cambodia, lacked an adequate secmore

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Local governance paves way for poverty reduction in Lao PDR

The rainy season used to mean a loss of revenue for Timchai, a farmer in the southern Lao province of Saravene. Rainfall during this five-month period would often make the road running from her village to the nearest market impassible, causing her produce to rot before she had an opportunity to sellmore

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Local governance in Rwanda

Murengerantwari Syldio is a farmer in Rwanda’s Rulindo district. Until recently, had no way of selling his crops because poor roads restricted his access to neighbouring districts.  Fortunately, however, a United Nations (UN) initiative, supported in part by the United Nations Development Progmore

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More than 50,000 Timorese finally land property rights

Teresa de Jesus clutched her land papers and gave a shy grin. The 60-year old woman from Liquica, an hour east of the capital Dili, was one of 16 landowners who earlier this month received the first land certificates ever issued in independent Timor-Leste. “I’m very happy,” she said.  “And I wamore

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Guaranteeing equal protection to vulnerable communities in Iraq

Laila, a mother of two, was physically abused for years by her husband, and even forced to seek treatment for injuries on a number of occasions. The 28-year-old did not want to denounce her husband to the authorities out of fear he would take away or hurt their children. In cooperation with the Kurmore

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Nicaragua: Victims of sexual violence advocate on behalf of other victims

Ligia Canales, a mother of three living in Managua, was once a victim of domestic violence:   "My former companion used to get drunk, beat me up, kick me out of the house and threaten to kill me. I was really scared, and yet I decided seek help: One day I reported him to the police,"more

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Somaliland’s first female deputy prosecutor

Khadra Hussein Mohammad, 28, made history by becoming Somaliland’s first female National Deputy Prosecutor, dealing with a range of cases including theft, gang-related violence, and even terrorism. “You meet all kinds of people in this job. We see new cases almost every day. It’s good that people armore

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Uganda: Women's collectives fight for land rights, against corruption

In 2003, Joyce Nangobi was about to lose her home. In Jinja, Uganda, the land that she lived on was going to be put up for sale to low-wage manufacturing companies, leaving Joyce and the other residents out in the cold.  The women in her town had neither the resources to purchase the land, nor more

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In Gaza, first female mukhtarah mediates legal disputes

Um Mohammed broke the conservative tribal traditions of her community when she became one of Gaza strip’s first “Mukhtarah” – the female equivalent of Mukhtar, one who peacefully settles disputes without need to resort to formal judicial systems. “I once found myself having to intervene to resolve amore

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In Panama, land deeds help farmers protect forests

Melquiades Jaén, a farmer in the Capira district of Panama, has spent 45 years living and working on his 130 hectares: cultivating the land, taking care of it, grazing cattle there. But has hasn’t been able to hold in his own hands the title deeds for his farm – until now. The Capira district west omore

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South Sudan: Strengthening civil service to continue vital support

For most people, moving to a new country to work can be full of surprises. But for Yenew Azale, a trained nurse from Ethiopia working in South Sudan, adjusting to a new job has included being evacuated because of intense fighting. “Not everything is as I had expected,” he says. “But I feel a great smore

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Colombia participates in the peace process

Uffyunu, a Wayuu indigenous woman, has witnessed two massacres in her life, when paramilitary groups invaded her village, killed dozens of people and left hundreds without a home in 2001 and 2004. "It was terrible," says Uffyunu, who lives with her 5-year-old son in the southern part of Lamore

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Guatemala: Laying a mother to rest after 31 years

In Guatemala, UNDP is helping some of the family members of more than 45,000 victims of the country’s “disappeared” to finally find out what happened to their loved ones. The murmur of chanting and the smell of incense fill the air in a small house in Rabinal, about 50 km from Guatemala City. A Maymore

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Mobile courts bring justice to rural Pakistan

In a remote village in the outskirts of Peshawar, Pakistan, court is in session. The stenographer is typing away, the judge is listening intently and the air conditioner strains to keep the room cool as two property dealers from Hayatabad argue over US $6,000. But this is no ordinary courtroom. Thismore

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Legal Aid Clinics in Gaza help people get protection of the law

Asma* lived in Jabalia Camp in the Gaza Strip where she attempted to raise a family whilst trapped within a violent marriage. Aggression and attacks were part of her daily life; bruises and physical scars a recurring reminder of her predicament. Her husband often prevented Asma from seeing her childmore

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Fighting sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Gisèle* sits in the relative safety of a clinic for victims of sexual violence in the district of Ituri. The mother of three, whose husband was killed in combat, tells a harrowing but sadly typical story about her experience in the conflict in this part of eastern DRC. “I took refuge in a camp for dmore

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El Salvador: Sowing the seeds of peace

Giovanni’s face softens beneath the otherwise fearsome ink of his gang tattoos. As the 23-year-old bends over a row of pepper plants, his fingers dart carefully between them, plucking stray weeds in the greenhouse. “Before, my life was a mess,” Giovanni confesses quietly. “Now I have a lot to do—themore

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Tackling women’s unemployment in Bosnia and Herzegovina

With an unemployment rate of close to 45 percent, finding a job in Bosnia and Herzegovina is hard, particularly for women over 40. Borka Karalic is one of them. After she lost her job as an administrative assistant in Banja Luka, she spent nine years trying to find another opportunity. “We are a jobmore

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Building a sustainable democracy in Libya

A year ago, Khadija Baba would not have considered engaging in any independent civil society or political activities in her home town of Tripoli. Not only was such activity forbidden under the former regime in Libya, but it would have likely landed the university student in prison. Now, with supportmore

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Indonesia: Fighting for Social Justice

Three years ago, Indonesian housewife Ibu Odah had little knowledge of legal affairs. Now, the mother of two is at the forefront of a legal fight against domestic violence in the remote island of Ternate, in the North Moluccas province of Indonesia. With the knowledge and expertise that she has acqumore

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