Voices from Eurasia

Europe & the CIS

Tuberculosis recovery requires more than just medicine

17 Oct 2017 by Bahar Bayramova, Psychologist, Strengthening TB project, UNDP Turkmenistan

Psychologist Bahar Bayramova checks on TB patients’ records. Photos: Nazik Avlyakulova / UNDP Turkmenistan
Tuberculosis (TB) treatment is a very long and complicated process. Often, patients are left to face the condition on their own because people are afraid of contamination. Many lose their jobs and contact with their friends and family. Thanks to modern medical care, TB is curable, but only if the diagnosis is made and the treatment has started on time. ,bThe burden of a regular TB is no longer a burning issue in Turkmenistan, because there is rapid testing and free medical treatment for patients. But with its long treatment, MDR-TB poses a heavy burden. As a result, many patients drop the treatment which causes reappearance of the symptoms. … Read more

Rethinking road safety – investing to save people’s lives

10 Oct 2017 by Irena Jokić, Programme Associate, UNDP Montenegro

traffic accidentMontenegro is one of the countries with the highest number of persons killed in traffic accidents in Europe. Photo: UNDP Montenegro
Every few months, I go to pay condolences to families who lost their loved ones in traffic accidents or visit an acquaintance in hospital due to an injury they suffered in a car crash. I am pretty sure I am not alone in that. Montenegro is one of the countries with the highest number of persons killed in traffic accidents in Europe. In 2016 alone, there were more than 5,200 traffic accidents, with 65 persons killed and another 2,500 lightly or seriously injured. Although we all hate putting a price tag on a human life, the economic case for preventing accidents is just as important as the moral one. Studies show that every human life lost in a traffic accident costs our country about half a million EUR. … Read more

What does joining hands really mean? Lessons from rural Kosovo

09 Oct 2017 by David Svab, Sustainable Development Programme Analyst, UNDP Kosovo*

RaspberriesPhotos: Atdhe Mulla and Arben Llapashtica: UNDP Kosovo
If there’s one thing I’ve learned at UNDP, it’s that good development projects don’t just happen. Here at UNDP in Kosovo*, I have seen well-designed and delivered programmes change the lives of people in rural areas. In the last year alone, over 1,100 people found jobs thanks to our projects throughout Kosovo and earn more money than they used to. But when I’m asked to give good advice, I’m just as guilty as everyone else in repeating jargon and buzzword-filled sentences like “design for the community with the community,” “build on local context and leverage local potential,” or “partners assume concerted roles.” But what do these sentences actually mean in practice? … Read more

A happy place once more

26 Sep 2017 by Natalia Olofinskaya, Regional Technical Specialist, UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub

Since childhood, my imaginary happy place was always a small house in the mountains besides a river. But being a consummate worrier, I know that rivers aren’t safe places. Flash floods wipe away homes. Water levels rise and wash away hard-earned harvests. And sometimes, lives and are lost. Those happy places can transform instantly to places of sorrow. During an assessment mission to Georgia, I found what just might be my dream-come-true place on the banks of the Tskhenistskali River in the Rioni Basin. Looking up through the valley, you could see fruit gardens, bucolic villages and the type of pastoral beauty that belongs only in impressionist paintings and travel brochures. … Read more

Time to say goodbye to the drug crisis in Moldova

22 Sep 2017 by Dorin Rotaru, Project Manager, Procurement, UNDP in Moldova

I have seen many heathy people become a candle in the wind at the blink of an eye. Such is the story of many people living with HIV in Moldova – any opportunistic infection can be fatal to them. According to official statistics, more than 11,000 cases of HIV are registered in the Republic of Moldova. Approximately 300 people die annually from HIV-related causes. Fortunately, we now have effective treatments that allow patients to live long, heathy lives – as long as they receive timely care. Last year alone, 4,500 people received antiretroviral therapy across the country. One major threat to the health of people living with HIV is discontinuation of treatment. If patients stop taking their meds, there is a major risk that their medications will stop being effective when they start taking them again. So treatment adherence is for people living with HIV a matter of life and death. … Read more

What does inequality look like?

15 Sep 2017 by Jodi Hilton, Photojournalist

Photographer Jodi Hilton traveled to 5 countries in Europe & Central Asia to document inequalities for UNDP’s Regional Human Development Report. Here is what she saw through her lens. … Read more

Creating Islands of Integrity around the Black Sea

05 Sep 2017 by Magdalena Nowakowska, Communications specialist, UNDP Georgia

Islands have been emerging recently around Eastern and Central Europe. But they’re not common islands at all - they are actually cities. We see these cities standing out as “island” enclaves of accountability and transparency in not-so-crystal-clear waters: systems of governance polluted by corruption. Post-communist countries, like Ukraine and Moldova, still struggle to filter malicious practices out of their systems. It’s difficult to get rid of the infamous soviet legacy, where public servants were largely serving their own pockets, rather than public interest. Georgia, known as the Black Sea region’s top reformer, made a significant leap 10 years ago. It substantially decreased corruption levels in the public sector by conducting a thorough reform of administration and implementing institutional methods to ensure transparency. But has this change been sustainable? And what are the next steps in a journey to decreasing corruption throughout the region? … Read more

20 years of peace and justice in Eurasia: Four key trends

28 Aug 2017 by Shelley Inglis, Regional Team Leader, Governance and Peacebuilding, UNDP Eurasia

The past 20 years has seen the Europe and Central Asia region undergo tremendous changes. Our recently launched platform on Sustainable Development Goal 16 details some of those changes and how UNDP is supporting progress. Here are four quick takeaways. 1. Conflicts end, but their shadows remain After several violent conflicts in the 1990s, the Western Balkans region has progressed significantly. Two countries are now fully fledged members of the European Union (Slovenia and Croatia), and the remaining countries and territories are positioning for accession. … Read more

Are young women a key to the growth of Uzbekistan’s ICT industry?

25 Aug 2017 by Anvar Meliboev, Partnerships and Communications Specialist, UNDP Uzbekistan

Young women participants at the Technovation Challenge. Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan
Do you know who Margaret Hamilton is? Not many do. She was the computer scientist and systems engineer who programmed the Apollo 11 spaceflight. There is currently a greatly untapped resource of women programmers, who are essential to the understaffed global ICT industry (an estimated 800,000 extra professionals will be needed in Europe by 2020). But women programmers, especially those in management roles, make up a small minority of the world’s IT professionals. The landscape for women programmers is not much different here in Uzbekistan. The share of women in technical universities is only 16-22 percent of the total number of students. … Read more

All young people deserve the chance to dream

11 Aug 2017 by Dragana Jovanovska, Secretary General, Center for Intercultural Dialogue (CID), fYR Macedonia

Photo: Giulia Annibaletti
We often say everyone deserves to have the same opportunities, and everyone should be given a chance to follow their dreams. But what does that actually mean? Is that just a bunch of words we say because it sounds nice? If not, how do we put it into practice? A 17-year-old girl changed the way I see things. She came from school to the Youth Centre where I work one day. She told me she heard from some friends that there is an opportunity for paid volunteership abroad. I was happy to explain what it was about, and even happier to hear she would like to go. She just needed to finish her CV and motivation letter, and we would schedule an interview. … Read more

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