Our Stories

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Solar power in Mali: A miracle for women

Less than one percent of rural communes in Mali have electricity. But in Sirakorola, the administrative centre of a commune located 120 kilometers outside the capital city of Bamako, solar power is synonymous with economic boom. "Ever since we had the solar panels installed, women haven't been more

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Rain water harvesting improves lives of Tanzanian farmers

In recent years, residents of Tanzania's Kilimanjaro region have seen their livelihoods threatened by climate change-induced water shortages. The Kilimanjaro region has always been one of the driest in Tanzania, receiving less than 400 mm of rainfall annually. The average annual rainfall for the cou more

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Strengthening education in Bangladesh

It is 8:30 a.m. in the village of Matiranga, in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. School is about to begin and, unlike in years past, the children arriving for their preschool and primary school classes know they will have no trouble understanding what is said in their lessons. The Hill Trac more

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Georgia: Microloans offer new starts in war-torn regions

Dali Chilachava and her family fled their home village in Abkhazia, Georgia, after separatist conflict broke out in the region in 1993. For 12 years they endured extreme poverty, until a microfinance programme helped them to start a small business growing and selling lillies. In regions of Georgia more

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Wounaan women lead recovery from deadly floods

Torrential rains ravaged much of Colombia in 2011, killing hundreds and making thousands homeless. But the women of the indigenous Wounaan people on the Pacific coast of Colombia have overcome adversity: with their werregue handicrafts, they are rebuilding their lives and securing their families’ li more

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India: Transforming poor rural women into successful business managers

Ten years ago Pushpa Devi Maurya joined a self-help group to make ends meet in the village of Chak Padri in the state of Uttar Pradesh, northern India. Today this 35-year-old mother of two manages the bulk milk chilling centre set up by the milk producers’ company near her village. The centre collec more

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Timor-Leste: Bringing out the rural woman vote

By John Fenech, third place of UNDP's storytelling contest Senora Mendonça Côrte-Real, a grandmother from the capital city of Dili in Timor-Leste, is now the country’s oldest registered voter after having finally been given the chance to exercise a democratic vote for the first time at the ripe old more

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Bangladeshi micro-credit model helps empower Zambian women

Just two years ago, Elizabeth Sakala-Banda, a mother of seven in Zambia’s eastern Petauke district, was unemployed and had no way of knowing that an Asian micro-credit scheme could turn her life around, and help put her children through school.  During 2010, Elizabeth and some 829 other women j more

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Women play major role in building Liberia's peace

Nearly 1.7 million Liberians, almost half of them women, had a chance to vote in the October 11th elections in 2011, the first organized nationally since the end of the country’s civil conflict in 2003. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) worked with UN and other partners to support Libe more

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Reducing maternal death in Eritrea

In the market town of Senafe, in southern Eritrea, Fethawi Berhane has just undergone three days of painful labor and complications during childbirth that resulted in the death of her baby, despite the best efforts of a traditional birth attendant. Fethawi herself is lucky to have survived, given th more

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Gender-based violence awareness program opens eyes in Rwanda

Emmanuel, a pastor in northern Rwanda, had always considered himself a model husband. That is, until he attended a gender-based violence awareness programme in his community that showed him he had been violent to his wife to a degree that is considered illegal. “When I learned that my behavior was n more

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Chor Vichara, Cambodia, weaves a better future for herself

The eldest child of a local school teacher and a homemaker, Chor Vichara, 22, dropped out of school at 16 so that her two brothers could pursue their studies. She then went to work at a garment factory in Phnom Penh, 40 kilometres from her home. At the factory she earned about US$70 a month sewing s more

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Veterinary skills help empower women in rural Pakistan

Muhammad Bibi’s life in the Punjab province of Tehsil Mian Channu, northeastern Pakistan, took a sudden turn when her husband had a heart attack and was unable to work. Without warning, she became the sole provider for her six children and her spouse. At the time, the few goats that Bibi's family ow more

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Mangoes in mali: Changing lives and a nation's economy

On a spring day in southwest Mali, a group of Malian women holding corners of a blue and turquoise cloth turn their heads to the sky. In seconds, the green mangoes that hang from the tree branches above will be prodded by a stick, knocking them into the colorful cloth. Anyone who has tried a Malia more

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UNDP-IKEA partnership helps women change rules in India

For most of her life, Shiela Devi had few options. Growing up in an impoverished village in India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh, she ate her brothers' leftovers, did chores at home while they went to school, and married at age 15. At 35, Shiela was completely illiterate, had no source of income, more

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Burundi: Returning to a normal life after war

Some mornings Espérance Nibigira, 35, wonders how she will find the energy to begin the day. As a combatant in the north-west of Burundi during the civil war that raged between 1993 and 2005, resulting in 300,000 deaths, she suffered an accident on the battlefield that left her disabled and sufferin more

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Breaking the glass ceiling in Pakistan

Pakistan has a relatively high proportion of women in Parliament compared to other countries in South Asia, with women accounting for 19 percent of representatives in the upper and lower houses. Nonetheless, women in Pakistan still face many difficulties in accessing decision-making positions at the more

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Multi-use engines drive women's empowerment in 1,000 Mali villages

Before the installation of a diesel-fueled engine, Koumantou village in southern Mali would to fall into near total darkness each night. The only light would be cast from the restaurant of local businesswoman, Kadia Kone.  This scene is repeated throughout rural Sub-Saharan Africa, where 9 more

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From unemployment to entrepreneurship

“Light is coming out of my city,” says 20-year old Abonesh Dejene, referring to the success of a UNDP training and business development initiative in southern Ethiopia. Dejene, of Wolyta Sodo town, is the sole female in a group of young people who were once unemployed after dropping out of school, b more

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Coffee-flavoured success in Ethiopia

Wearing white jackets usually reserved for doctors, men in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital city, taste coffee with a seriousness that verges on academic. These taste-testers ensure that the coffee grown by Ethiopian farmers meets the highest standards before it is put up for sale at the Ethiopian more

Video: One Day on Earth

UNDP staff members in more than 100 countries worldwide took part in a collaborative film project to document the work of UNDP. The result of their collaborative efforts is an eight-minute film highlighting the breadth of UNDP’s impact.