Our Stories

Filter
image

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 hmore

image

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

image

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 inmore

image

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 deatmore

image

Saving Ugandan coffee from the effects of climate change

In the village of Kok, about 240 km from Kampala, Uganda, Robert Toskin runs his hands through a bag of raw coffee beans. “Coffee is an important cash crop in this area," says the farmer. "People grow food for their own consumption, but the revenue from coffee production helps pay for thinmore

image

Businesses bloom in Sudan

Picking flowers is not generally considered hazardous, but Alhadi Ibrahim Muhammed is using a gargara for his protection as he plucks blooms from a hibiscus plant. The small, metal tool allows him to avoid painful skin reactions as he picks the colourful crop.   Muhammed, a 45-year-old farmer more

image

Through village courts,
justice for all in Bangladesh

When Jahanara Begum’s sons stole mangoes from a neighbour’s garden, what should have been a petty incident of children’s mischief escalated into a violent confrontation between Jahanara and her neighbour. Angry at Jahanara, her neighbour assaulted her and injured her eye, which then required expensimore

image

Yemen: Women painters brush up on job skills

Beside stuccoed walls at the 7th of July Girls School in the capital city of Sana'a, there is an unusual sight for Yemen: seventeen young women in light blue aprons are hard at work painting. “I'm happy to learn this new skill so I can take care of my 3-year-old daughter,” says Yusra*, an 18-year-olmore

image

Guatemala: Laying a mother to rest after 31 years

In Guatemala, UNDP is helping some of the family members of more than 45,000 victims of the country’s “disappeared” to finally find out what happened to their loved ones. The murmur of chanting and the smell of incense fill the air in a small house in Rabinal, about 50 km from Guatemala City. A Maymore

image

Mobile courts bring justice to rural Pakistan

In a remote village in the outskirts of Peshawar, Pakistan, court is in session. The stenographer is typing away, the judge is listening intently and the air conditioner strains to keep the room cool as two property dealers from Hayatabad argue over US $6,000. But this is no ordinary courtroom. Thismore

image

Nigeria: A tale of two chiefs

On a muggy day in June, hundreds of men, women and children from the Agila community, in north central Nigeria, dance to the beat of drums. Two chiefs--once at war--exchange a white sash as a symbol of peace and embrace. The crowd shouts. Peace has finally returned to Agila. Fifteen years ago, thimore

image

Village's savings group keeps livelihoods afloat in Cambodia

Srun Bun Thuon, a fisherman from the Koh Kong province on the southwestern coast of Cambodia, saw his family’s life crumble seven years ago when he had to sell off his house to repay a microfinance debt. “Even our daughter’s earrings were not spared. I took them off her ears to sell to pay off the dmore

image

In Kyrgyzstan, farmers
organize to overcome poverty

In summers past, all farmers in Kyrgyzstan’s Suusamyr Valley would take their livestock to pasture, leaving their villages virtually unattended. As a consequence, critical jobs such as taking produce to market and preparing for winter were neglected. This changed when local inhabitants were encouragmore

image

Maldives: Preserving biodiversity while starting businesses

Not long ago, Amira Sulaiman’s days were consumed by housework. These days she can be found deep in concentration making traditional medicines, grinding together special ointments for massages and pain relief. In the small hut where she works, subtle aromas of coconut, Indian-mallow and clove waft tmore

image

Migrant worker returns to Nepal to build new business and rebuild life

Dhal Bahadur Karki, 37, spent much of his adult life working as a wage labourer. A skilled carpenter, he worked at various furniture factories in Kathmandu and Banepa, Nepal. Frustrated by being underpaid and having unstable employment, he paid a local human resources agent a hefty sum to help him tmore

image

Reaping the fruits of technology in FYR Macedonia

“This is the one everyone knows from cartoons – the little worm in the apple,” explains Eftim Petkovski, scooping the larva of a codling moth from an apple in his orchard in Resen. “But it’s no joke, I can tell you – if we farmers don’t spray for them early on, all our livelihoods are at risk. more

image

Helping young Yemenis fight unemployment

Taiz, Yemen — Twenty-five-year-old Tahani walks along a row of trees that she and her work crew planted earlier in the day. “It is good to have work,” she says. “And planting trees makes me feel good. These will be here for many years to come.” But life hasn’t always been so good for Tahani. Hemore

image

In Nicaragua, communities unite to build water pipelines

Until recently, the women of Venus, a small community in northeastern Nicaragua, spent a part of each day searching for and collecting drinking water. Despite being surrounded by rivers that spring from the Central America’s most important rainforest, the Bosawas Biosphere, the communities here had more

image

In Zimbabwe and Zambia, the fight against malaria crosses borders

In the village of Chundu in Zimbabwe’s border district of Hurungwe, Mrs. Ellen Kunje has seen some heartening changes. In an area prone to malaria epidemics, Mrs. Kunje’s family and home have remained free from the disease. Thanks to a new malaria control programme, she was given a long-lasting insemore

image

Constructing a future for youth in Tunisia

Ever since Najet Salem was a young design student, she dreamed of two things: reviving the ancient carpet-weaving tradition and empowering the women artisans of her hometown of Gafsa, in southwest Tunisia. "From the time I was young, I was fascinated by weaving and I sensed how many women who more