Our Stories

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Creating a culture of leadership and results for Palestinian civil servants

By: Dania Darwish Picture this:  Groups of students huddle around large pieces of paper. The papers are adorned with bright colours and complex diagrams. One teacher praises the students’ work. Another teacher tears it up. The students, all senior members of the Palestinian civil service - are more

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Tackling poverty through adaptation in Bangladesh

From sky to sea, Bangladesh is highly vulnerable to climate change. Changing rainfall patterns, melting glaciers in the Himalayas, increased floods and storms, rising sea levels, all have an impact on Bangladesh, and in particular, on the poorest communities. Abdul Mazid, who lives in the flood-pro more

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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 more

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Survivors of Pakistan's floods lay foundations for new homes

Struggling to help her husband with a long-term respiratory illness when their wooden house was swept away by catastrophic flooding in the north of Pakistan, Gul Numa, over 80 years old, survived the initial weeks of August in a makeshift camp. Numa and her husband, Sayed Qalandar Shah, 90, were more

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Kazakhstan: Preserving wetlands boosts the economy

For years, Valentina Zhakupbekova’s family depended upon illegal poaching for its survival in Kazakhstan’s vast wetlands, thousands of square kilometres of rich soil and abundant lakes, caviar-bearing fish, unique birds and aquatic flora. “My husband had no employment, the fish he caught in the lak more

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In Nigeria, farm training yields fuller harvests for rural women

For Mama Nsedu, a young widow in Northern Nigeria, feeding her family was becoming harder every day. Like thousands of women in the rural communities of Nanka, Kyado and Yauri, Mama Nsedu faced poor crop yields due to harsh, dry weather, low rainfall, poor soil nutrients and overdependence on expens more

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Peru: Rebuilding communities through volunteerism

Sebastiàn Escajadillo Saire, a resident of Santa Barbara’s village south of Lima, Peru, lost everything when his house was destroyed by a magnitude 8 earthquake in 2007, which left tens of thousands homeless across the region. In October 2011, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, the Frenc more

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Young indigenous and disabled people gear up for election in Cambodia

When local elections were held in the province of Mondulkiri, eastern Cambodia, Bunthoeun Tola, a 20-year-old indigenous person and first-time voter, was turned away at the polling station because his name on the voter list did not match with his identification card. “It was spelled incorrectly and more

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Helping the victims of Colombia's conflict

Luz Dary Santiesteban stands by the Pacific Ocean in a small Colombian town. “If that sea could talk, it would tell us all about the victims,” she says, pointing to the water. “They all were made to disappear.” Santiesteban is one of thousands of people in the country whose relatives were murdered d more

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Tajikistan: Putting environmental resources in local hands

Tajikistan’s Vakhsh River valley is crucial to the livelihoods and food security of millions of people, but the degradation of natural resources has been persistent and extensive over the past 100 years. The tugai forests, reservoirs of biodiversity and source of income for local communities, have b more

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Farming communities in India improve soil fertility and earn higher income

High school drop-out Atula, a woman farmer from India’s northeastern state of Nagaland, is today an expert on improving crop cultivation and soil fertility, two subjects that come in handy as she works the small piece of land she has leased from a local landowner. For generations Atula’s family and more

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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 t more

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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 in more

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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 fl more

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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, s more

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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 i more

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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 women more

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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 unbalanced more

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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

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.