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Zimbabwe: Turning the tide in the fight against HIV and AIDS

Working as a volunteer at the Kuwadzana Polyclinic, a public health centre in Harare, Timothy Sandramu, 35, painfully recalls his distress in 2005 when he tested HIV-positive. “I was brought here in a wheelchair by my mother,” Timothy says, noting that he had been ailing for some time, culminating more

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Justice and atoning for Guatemala's past

It took 29 years for Alfredo to find out the truth about who he really is. The 31-year-old, originally from Guatemala, now lives in the US. He always thought that his name was Oscar, and that Lieutenant Oscar Ovidio Ramírez Ramos, the father he loved, was a military hero in his native country. But tmore

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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 during recent fighting, tells a harrowing but sadly typical story about her experience in the conflict in this part of eastern DRC. “I took refuge inmore

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Reducing the risk of disaster in Armenia

Hovhannes Arakelyan has witnessed hundreds of floods in his remote village of Sipanik, in Western Armenia. "I have seen smashed roads, houses, and crops, and disasters used to diminish our hope for a better life," says the 72-year-old. Sipanik’s regular inundation when the Hrazdan River flmore

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Bangladesh: Women emerge from poverty

On her 18th birthday Mussamat Baby Parveen wed the man her parents had chosen for her. By her 19th birthday she was pregnant and had run away from her husband’s home. His drug addiction had spiraled out of control, he was beating her, and she worried he would eventually kill both mother and child, smore

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Nepal: Bamboo keeps villagers dry

“When my village floods, which it does almost annually, we never know how bad it will get. Some people lose their whole house, most will lose some crops and everyone will be affected in some way,” says 32 year-old Ms. Sita Gaire, of Shivamandir village in Southern Nepal. Mother of two Gaire lives imore

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Nigeria: A boost for women's participation in politics

For Anthonia Bashorun and millions of other Nigerian women, taking part in elective politics is not easy. Women often do not receive the support and mentoring they need to compete with their male counterparts. In turn, many voters do not fully appreciate the benefits of having a mix of men and womenmore

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Georgia: Building a culture of informed voters

As October’s parliamentary elections near in Georgia, 18-year old Alex Shatberashvili wants his first vote to be educated and informed. "I feel responsible for my vote and want to have a clear picture before I make a decision,” said Alex. However, news coverage and reporting is often unbalancedmore

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A future for young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina

At 25, Aleksandar Vrhovac, a resident of Banja Luka in Bosnia and Herzegovina, had no previous work experience. He knew nothing about how to prepare a resume, look for a job or present himself in an interview—until he went to one of the new centres for information, counselling and education opening more

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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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Vulnerable people get free legal aid in Ethiopia

Abebe Ayalew, who is blind, couldn’t afford a lawyer to represent him when a dispute arose over inheritance of his father’s house in September 2011, so he turned to a UNDP-supported Free Legal Aid Centre for help. “I came to this Legal Aid Centre and Andualem, a lawyer and instructor in Hawassa Univmore

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Kenya: Preparing women for leadership

As Kenya prepares for the general election in March 2013, UNDP is equipping women with critical skills to help them run for office. Women remain underrepresented in political leadership positions in Kenya despite Constitutional quotas, with women’s political representation standing at 9.8 percent vemore

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Lao PDR: Revamped market creates brighter future for local vendors

Soutsady, a 48-year-old mother of six who prefers to be addressed by her first name, has always depended on her meagre income from selling fried bananas at Khangkhai village market in the central Lao PDR province of Xiengkhouang. But the small, poorly-equipped community market did not provide enougmore

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Libya's historic elections: Youth activists pave way for future role

When Ayman Ramdan, a student at the University of Tripoli in Libya, left his home early on 28 June, he had a long day ahead of him. With just over a week before the country’s first free multi-party elections in six decades, he was joining 15 other student activists for the Open Day to Encourage Elecmore

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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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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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Croatia: Witness support offices help to deliver justice

By Sunčica Pleština Vukovar, Croatia – “As an employee of a retail chain, to my greatest regret, I was the witness of an armed robbery. It was an extremely traumatic experience that forced me to change my job,” writes M. K., who requested anonymity in her letter to the President of the Vukovar Courtmore

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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