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In Kazakhstan, increased rights for the disabled improve living standards

By Assel Tleof, finalist in UNDP's second annual storytelling contest Since the age of five, when Ali Amanbayev was diagnosed with a serious spinal injury, life has been a constant struggle. “As a schoolboy, I began using crutches and had to do my homework lying on my back,” he recalls. “As the yearmore

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Mongolia: Better-managed natural resources expand livelihoods

Naranbek Ristan slings his binoculars and notebook around his neck and mounts his horse with graceful ease. He is setting off on a monthly patrol of 6,000 hectares of community land to check on wildlife.   The country he will cover is harsh, magnificent and daunting. But for Ristan, most importmore

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In Burundi, refugees and ex-combatants turn to business

At a busy solar-powered hair salon, 42-year-old Jean-Marie dishes out the latest hair styles to a steady stream of customers, as well as charges mobile phones. Nearby, a collectively owned clothes shop rattles with the sound of eight sewing machines. Co-owner Adrian sits out front smiling. Both Admore

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Restoring hope in the future for Prespa Lake, FYR Macedonia

“We used to do a lot of things without thinking about the effects on the environment,” says Naume Toskovski, an apple farmer in the Prespa Lakes region of Macedonia. “We didn’t know that dumping apples would pollute the water.” The beautiful but environmentally vulnerable region of the Prespa Lake Bmore

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Greening the charcoal sector in Uganda

Since her childhood, Kampala-based Martha Ntabadde has considered charcoal an essential household good. “We’ve used charcoal and firewood for cooking for many decades. Charcoal serves us as a reliable and more convenient source of energy,” says Martha. According to the German Agency for Internationamore

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Unlocking energy efficiency in Kazakhstan

A student at Public School Number 9 in Astana, Kazakhstan, 14-year-old Arman said that a few years ago, the gymnasium in his 63-year-old school was so cold in winter that he and his classmates could see their breath. "We hated going to gym class," he said. The chill hurt students’ health amore

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After Philippines typhoon, clean-up brings recovery

Julius Enriquez sifts through a mountain of rubble, picking out usable wood and other materials in the grounds of what used to be Cateel Central Elementary School, in Mindanao, The Philippines. “These wood scraps can be used to rebuild the damaged school where my child used to go,” he says. The schomore

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Farmers in Ethiopia fight drought and climate change

Throughout most of his 55 years, Mohammed Hassen and his family have suffered  during recurring droughts that have ravaged his district of Kalu, South Wollo Zone, in northeastern Ethiopia. The country, once defined by rural poverty, is developing a strategy to address pockets of extreme povertymore

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In the DRC, community centres help people learn to live again

In 2004, a 34-year-old widow in Congo named Maman Miriam* was raped by three armed men who slashed her genitals with a knife, leaving her with physical and emotional scars. She felt completely abandoned and unable to care for her three children. In 2010, she became one of the first people to benefitmore

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Through small businesses, Haitian women anchor economic reboot

Ninite Eltêbe, 56, is a resilient Haitian woman who lost her business after the devastating 2010 earthquake.  Three years later, she is the leader of a cooperative of 25 women who raise and sell chickens locally. “I enrolled in a three-month skills development training programme on chicken rearmore

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In Uruguay, programme helps parents keep children healthy

Cecilia Correa smiles as she watches her daughter sleep in her arms. At times, she sings her the same songs that she herself heard as a child. Today, she is filled with pride that she is better prepared to take care of her daughter and to ensure that she grows into a healthy young woman. Such an outmore

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In Nicaragua, programme helps youth create businesses

As a child in Nicaragua, Leyli Siles studied, ran and played hide-and-seek just like any other little girl, even though she was deaf and born into a poor family. But by adolescence she began to feel that her hearing impairment was checking her aspirations. As the years went by, Siles became despondemore

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Legal aid helps vulnerable in Darfur protect their rights

In the small town of Garssila in Central Darfur, 13-year-old Aisha had her childhood cut short when she was brutally raped by a man while on the way to the market. Unfortunately, Aisha’s case is not an isolated one. As law enforcement agencies in Darfur have insufficient resources and incentives to more

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In Montenegro, legal aid services make justice accessible for all

A.S.,* a middle-aged housewife and mother of two in Montenegro, was divorced and on her own. For three years, she received no support from her ex-husband and lacked the means to raise her children. But through a new legal aid program Montenegro rolled out in 2011, she was able to access legal aid, amore

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In Georgia, vocational training equips youth for job market

When 19-year-old Nino Narmania learnt she needed computer skills to do her favourite job—sewing and making clothes, she enrolled in a college-level professional tailoring programme in Poti, a provincial town in western Georgia. Together with 50 other young women, she was the first to reap the benefimore

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Farmers' cooperatives increase food security in Cuba

Yudiel Mojena Guerra, a young farmer from eastern Cuba, was given land from the government as part of a strategy to increase domestic food production. So he started working at a run-down dairy farm, refurbished it, and bought some livestock. But like most workers in the non-state sector, he soon foumore

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In Gaza, safe water supply changes lives

Water is scarce in the occupied Palestinian territory and supplies barely meet the needs of the Palestinian people. More than 13 percent of the population currently has no access to running water, and many of the existing water facilities are dilapidated. Water quality is very poor: only 7 percent omore

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Chinese farmers plant seed for a chemical-free future

By Adam Pitt, third-place winner of UNDP's second annual storytelling contest Seventy-year-old Dang Jiuru dreamed of sending his grandson to university, but until recently his lifelong ambition seemed destined to remain unfulfilled. His apple orchard in Luochuan County, Shaanxi Province, simply did more

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Eco-stoves empower indigenous women in Brazil

By Daniel De Castro and Jacob Said, winners of UNDP's second annual storytelling contest The sun was still rising and Delma Gonçalves, 41, had already spent two hours trekking to the place where she and the rest of her settlement collected firewood. The return trip was even worse: under the hot sun,more

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Micro-hydro lights up homes and lives in Afghanistan

Eleven-year-old Mohamed Nasim, who is in sixth grade, wakes up at 5:30 every morning to take computer lessons in a makeshift classroom here in Borghaso village, Bamyan Province, northwest of Kabul. He draws a house in Microsoft paint, colors it, and types his name in the corner as his young teacher more