Our Stories

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Syria: Restoring Roman wells to bring relief

In Syria's rural areas, long-abandoned Roman wells have become more than a relic of a bygone civilization. For communities struggling to cope with the disastrous ongoing conflict, these ancient wells, dug more than 2,000 years ago, have now become a means of survival. Fighting is now entering its th more

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In Armenia, energy efficiency is heating homes and warming lives

Arev Shirikchyan used to come home to a cold and dark apartment after working two shifts to support her family. In winter, getting proper heat was an ongoing battle for the residents of Avan, the Yerevan neighborhood where she lives. Two decades ago, the boiler house supplying heat and hot water to more

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In Nepal, ex-combatants start over

Shobha Raymajhi is a friendly spice merchant living on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal. However, the smiling mother and market-stall owner used to live a less affable existence. Less than a decade ago she carried a gun for the Maoist People's Liberation Army during Nepal’s 10-year civil conflict. more

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Sudan: Youth volunteers train for a better future for Darfur

Yusra, a young woman from East Darfur, had always wanted to work with her community to help people improve their lives. “Because of the conflict, we have so many problems such as poverty, low-income and lack of quality education. I didn’t know how and where I could start,” she says.   For more

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In Cambodia, piped water offers villagers a fresh start

There is virtually no free space left in Kri Ven’s backyard. After his home in Cambodia was connected to a pipe water system, his 300-square metres of land now host rows and rows of plants such as cabbage, radish and sugar cane. “I am quite happy to have my own farm to grow vegetables for a living, more

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Promoting self-empowerment of HIV-positive women in Congo

Léocadie, a widow and a mother of four children, is unable to forget the night when her life was torn apart. "A group of armed men entered our home and raped me in front of my family," she relates between sobs. After an initial test, Léocadie found out that she was HIV positive and fell in more

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Timor-Leste breaks down barriers to justice for victims of domestic violence

An estimated 30 to 50 percent of Timorese women suffer abuse from their partners at some point in their relationship. This is in spite of the country’s 2010 Law Against Domestic Violence, which defines it a public crime that requires the state to respond whether a victim files a criminal complaint o more

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Chad: Micro-finance networks boost business initiatives by women

"Let’s get up and get to work — the slogan of a new savings cooperative for women in the village of Balimba, in the south of Chad — bears witness to their motivation and entrepreneurial spirit. "With our modest capital investment, we weren't getting very far," Florence, a member of th more

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DRC: Nobody is above the law, not even the military

The atmosphere is tense in Bweremana, Goma, in war-torn North Kivu. A large crowd has gathered outside a tent, serving as an impromptu military court. They wait impatiently for the verdict to be announced. When the announcement finally comes, there are gasps of shock and relief from the crowd. Eight more

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Bringing light to Afghanistan's villages

At night, apart from the occasional flickering light of a kerosene lamp, Amir Hussain's village used to be shrouded in darkness. Until recently, the 150 families living in Sarasyab Shekhani, in Afghanistan’s remote mountainous northern Samangan Province, didn't have access to electricity. "My more

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For day-to-day life in Georgia,
a return to normality

Nana Tskharozia is a school teacher in Chuburkhinji, in Georgia’s Abkhazia region. Keeping school premises tidy hasn’t always been easy, with the building deteriorating and in need of repair. But this year the Chubukhinji School is greeting children with freshly painted walls, a fixed roof and refur more

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Communities adapt to extreme weather conditions in India

For people living in the floodplains of the Mahanadi river delta in the Indian state of Odisha, life is full of extremes. For six months of the year, from July to December, miles of paddy fields, roads and homes are flooded with water. But three months later, water is in short supply, affecting ever more

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Haiti's rebuilding continues, one year after Hurricane Sandy

"I could hear the wind howling in the street and debris flying away,” says Marie Alta Jean-Baptiste, speaking of the terrifying night one year ago when Hurricane Sandy hit Haiti, killing 60 people and affected 1.8 million. Marie Alta Jean-Baptiste, who is director of the National Civil Protecti more

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Reviving Iran's drylands

Zari Sa’adati, a 35-year-old woman living in Eastern Iran, used to fear she could not support her family in the barren environment of Hossein Abad valley. “My family was about to migrate to the city nearby in search of a living,” she says. Degraded by over-grazing, wood-cutting for fuel, and severe more

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One year after Sandy, solidarity and preparedness help Cuba rebuild

“I am one of the lucky ones. The damages to my own home were minimal; I have neighbors who lost everything,” says Maria Elena Valle Ortega, a resident of ‘30 de noviembre’, a neighborhood in Santiago de Cuba province in the south-east of the island, reflecting on the night Hurricane Sandy lashed the more

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In FYR Macedonia, supporting entrepreneurs to build new lives

As soon as she completed her dentistry studies, Arta Alija applied for as many jobs as she could at state clinics. But the 30-year-old from Tetovo, Macedonia, had no luck. Although the number of people enrolling in undergraduate and graduate programs has risen in recent years, the percentage of unem more

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In Egypt, small farmers embrace the entrepreneurial spirit

When the Arab Spring blew over Egypt in early 2011, most investors predicted chaos and fled, pushing already massive unemployment even higher and plunging the economy into profound uncertainty. But Mohamed Embarak, a farmer in Upper Egypt, saw only opportunity. With four others, Embarak invested h more

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In Belize, teaching youth life-skills to prepare for workplace

For Diangelo Ramos, a young man living in Belize, surviving after he was thrown out of his house at 13 took determination and courage. “I was drinking at school, missing classes,” he recalled. ”My teacher said she would not give up on me because she knew I could change.” Diangelo participated in a more

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In Bhutan, cooperatives help villagers turn chores into profit

Ten years ago, 44-year-old Karma Choeni Dema, a divorcee and mother of seven children in Bhutan, may not have imagined herself as the breadwinner of the family. She survived on the little that was harvested from the land that they owned. Today, Karma is the chairwoman of the Shershong Cooperative in more

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In Niger, women living with HIV build businesses and fresh starts

The daily life of S.O.* resembles that of many other women in Niger. But this 46-year-old HIV-positive woman and mother of six has come a long way. In 2004, she discovered she was HIV positive. “It was as if the sky had fallen on my head,” she recounts, her voice full of emotion. “It was like a deat 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.