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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

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New bridge improves links, livelihoods for Cambodian villages

When 26-year-old So Phorn gave birth to her first child three years ago it took her two strenuous hours on a motorbike, a ferry and a rickshaw to get to the nearest health centre in the neighbouring commune of Beoung Preav, in south-western Cambodia. Following completion six months ago of a joint inmore

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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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Riding a radio wave in Lao PDR

At sunset in the village of Houay Jaek, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, a group of villagers are performing a dialogue about the importance of good hygiene. Recording their voices is 30 year-old Khamboun, a fellow villager and volunteer with the local Khoun Community Radio station. Khoun Radio wasmore

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Improving the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS in the Pacific

J.* learned she was HIV-positive when she was tested during an antenatal care visit. She returned to her village in Fiji and disclosed her status to her mother. Because of stigma associated with HIV and AIDS, her mother rejected her and she was ultimately forced to leave her community and home. She more

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India: Social protection for people living with HIV

Thirty-five year old Harihar Babu had a comfortable job as a taxi driver earning Rupees 10,000-12,000 every month. He travelled frequently, driving passengers all over his home state of Chhattisgarh in central India. But all this changed in 2007 when he and his wife tested HIV positive. “I thought tmore

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Nepal census recognizes third gender for the first time

Nepal has just completed its first national census that officially includes a third option in the gender categories that citizens can select, opening the way for stronger recognition of sexual and gender minority rights in provision of public services. Official recognition of third gender rights folmore

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In Burkina Faso women help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS

27-year old Assiétou was pregnant with her third child when she discovered that she is HIV positive. “I thought it was the end of the world,” she recalls. “I immediately thought about my husband and I was very worried about his reaction. In the end, I summoned up all my courage and went to talk tomore

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HIV-positive women weavers team up with fashion designer

Internationally renowned fashion designer and former supermodel Bibi Russell has joined hands with the ethnic Bodo women of the northeastern Indian state of Assam. Together they are creating a new line of lifestyle products that will blend traditional Bodo culture with high fashion. The collaborativmore

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18-year-old recovers from tuberculosis

With a bright smile on her face 18-year-old Mouniratou, of Bobo-Dioulassou, Burkina Faso, is the embodiment of happiness itself. Two weeks ago she took the last of her Tuberculosis (TB) medication, putting an end to a six-month long treatment for the disease.  “I was so ill that I could not evemore

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From sex worker to HIV counsellor

Jennifer was just 16 years old when poverty forced her out of her native Nigeria, leaving her family and many young sisters behind. She thought she was heading for a better future as a house maid in Europe, but instead, she ended up in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, where she has been a sex worker for tmore

Tackling the deadly legacy of war in Lao PDR

Rice planting season is a nerve-wracking time for 49 year-old farmer Vongphone of Xieng Khouang province, in northern Lao. He was disabled five years ago when he accidentally set off an unexploded cluster bomb. Vongphone, who lost his left hand, is one of hundreds maimed or killed each year by explomore

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DRC: Former combatants gain skills and income

For 32-year old Wathum Ukecha, life has taken a turn for the better since he volunteered to be demobilized after four years as a fighter in the forests of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Wathum is one of 160 people – mainly ex-combatants, vulnerable women and school drop-outs– who were tramore

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Exhuming the stories of Guatemala’s lost

By Héctor Morales Delgado After 36 years of internal armed conflict in Guatemala, thousands of confidential facts about the actions of the State have been registered by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. They include serious violations of human rights and attacks directed at the civilian popumore

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Bangladesh: Disaster Risk Reduction as Development

A country of exceptional vulnerability to natural hazards Bangladesh has a long history of natural disasters. Between 1980 and 2008, it experienced 219 natural disasters, causing over US$16 billion in total damage. The predicted effects of climate change will only compound these impacts. UNDP has more

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Solar power changes families’ lives in Botswana

Until recently, the Mokgatlhe family in Kgope, a remote village situated 50 kilometres west of Botswana’s capital, had been using firewood to light and heat their home.  This practice, used by 80 percent of Botswana’s rural population, has led to the destruction of countless acres of forest.&nbmore

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Reviving rare mangroves in Senegal

A few kilometres outside of Saint-Louis, the capital city of the Saint-Louis Region in northern Senegal, there is a strip of land covered with the northernmost stand of mangroves in all of western Africa. The stand is genetically isolated, making its preservation an urgent matter for both the peoplemore

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Building a brighter future for rice farmers in Cambodia

Farmers in the small community of Tuol Sdey, in the Svay Rieng province of southeastern Cambodia, have reason to be happy.  For the first time in decades they can rejoice in having two harvests in one season. This is largely due to the construction of a new water dam which stores rain in a nearmore