Our Perspective

A calm soul in a shaking body

14 Jul 2016

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We here at UN Moldova recently challenged ourselves to practice what we preach. We asked ourselves: How do we take solid steps to embrace diversity? That’s how we ended up with our very first UN-wide internship program in Moldova designed for persons from vulnerable groups. People who may otherwise have a hard time receiving internships, not because they do not have the skills, but due to limited life opportunities they have faced. 13 interns are now working with UN in Moldova, nine of them in our offices at UNDP. In the beginning, we wondered: How do we make sure we provide an internship opportunity that not only makes them comfortable but also gives them space to grow? But we’re happy to see things advance smoothly. As it turns out, we have as much to learn from them as they had to learn from us. Our interns have boosted our vision about what UN is meant for and gave us a new outlook on life. Just read this testimonial by one of our interns, Augustin, and you will understand why. You will not find jargon, but only strength.   My name is Augustin Stepanov and I am intern at UNDP in Moldova.  Read More

Moldovan apples’ dilemma solved through innovation

08 Jul 2016

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Kids in Moldova consume only 2/3 of the minimum recommended by WHO quantity of fresh fruits and vegetables. However, Moldova is one of the largest apples producers in the region. Past experiences show that kids prefer easy to consume sliced produce, like the snacks and fruit salads, in an attractive packaging. Such products are lacking on the market, but have great potential to be explored, as this is a fast-growing market niche. On the other hand, local producers face difficulties in selling and exporting their products both on domestic and foreign markets. This is particularly the case in years of overproduction and poor quality of harvesting due to unsatisfactory weather or other conditions. Developing a new market niche with support of UNDP, namely the fresh fruit snacks, is an interesting alternative for producers to get new profits. The challenge is therefore how to increase fresh fruits intake by kids via connecting private sector to innovative solutions to schools and kids.   Against such challenge UNDP Moldova launched a project to increase consumption benefiting kids and private sector. Key components of the project are: - Support to producers of fruits to develop the new product – i.e. fresh fruit snacks, starting with apple  Read More

We need more women in politics. Here’s how to make sure quotas don’t fail

28 Jun 2016

The low representation of women in politics remains one of the most obvious obstacles preventing us from achieving gender equality in the world. In the Republic of Moldova, a medium income country in Eastern Europe that ranks 50th in the most recent Gender Inequality Index, we want to increase the pace of change and ensure that more women are getting involved in elections as candidates, voters, and electoral staff. In a context where gender inequality is constantly dismissed as a non-issue, we had to have data to back up our claims and push for change. So we partnered up with the Moldovan Central Electoral Commission, and developed the first ever national set of statistics related to the participation of women and men in elections. To our surprise, the first thing we learned was that women in Moldova do get involved in politics. At the local level, there is a massive representation of women in political parties and in electoral bodies. However, the higher the decision-making level we were looking at, the fewer women we could find. For example, even though membership rates in political parties for men and women are strikingly similar, only 2 out of 46 political parties in the  Read More

Moldova on the wave of fast growing healthy fresh fruits snack trend – promoting healthy lifestyle for kids

01 Jun 2016

Is it possible to solve a pressing social and health and cultural problem and at the same time develop a completely new market niche with exponential growth potential? Can our kids gradually intake more fresh fruits with positive nutritional, health and educational impact, as they are now eating only about 2/3 of the minimum quantity? Can our private sector companies develop a completely new product with little funds? Can parents and schools promote fresh fruit consumption and gradually increase the presence of fruits on the kid’s menus? Our answer is – YES, if everyone works together. Jointly promoting attractive, fast to consume, convenient and healthy snacks is the answer! Fresh fruits are an excellent option; with Moldova being one of the largest producers in the region. But how to make this attractive for kids and generate new profits and jobs? Here is the idea: connect private sector to come with the technological solution based on existing ultra-modern practices that are just appearing on other markets! Connecting kids, parents and schools to an exceptionally interesting journey of gradually increasing intake and monitor impact on health and educational results. And the product itself?  Fresh apple snacks - treat this as finger food which  Read More

Major funding experiment under way! Here is everything you need to know.

02 Mar 2016

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As development practitioners, we often wonder how effective our interventions are and what we could have done differently. The burden on our shoulders is even higher when we are testing a prospective government policy that, once scaled up nationally, might have considerable social impact and would affect public purse. Evaluation of the public policies or development programs is a science in itself. These days, doing Randomize Control Trials has become part of a major trend. Recently, we also jumped on the bandwagon to help answer the following question: When it comes to small-medium enterprises (SMEs), should the government get involved by providing additional funding or should it better stay away or maybe look for other ways to support? Here’s the problem. The National Innovation Strategy is thinking about setting up a vouchers program for innovative SMEs. But they are wondering whether giving them a flexible access to otherwise expensive credit would help foster innovation or not. So we decided to pilot a matching Innovation Award scheme and see if providing matching financial support to companies actually helps or hinders innovation: one group of companies would receive funding while another one would not. Once we evaluate the results, the government will be  Read More