• EduSoft: co-creation of education in Moldova

        08 Oct 2015

        Photo: UNDP/Cristina Lupuşor

        It’s not the changing technology and software that matter. It’s how we use the best available technology to shift learning in a way that fits our students’ needs. This is why, as MiLab, we have been experimenting with the Ministry of Education through a number of initiatives to rethink education. Our latest adventure is a hackathon, where we’ll be working with Moldova’s best and brightest to build next-generation educational content and tools. Education + Software = EduSoft In the past three years, the Ministry of Education has equipped more than 100 schools with computers, but the use of educational software in class is still very low. To make things worse, only 50.74 percent of high school students (in 2014) have passed the math test during the baccalaureate exam. Using software that relates to Moldovan curricula for studying mathematics could help modernize the educational process and improve students’ performance. So when a group of IT students approached us with this idea, we couldn’t say no. We believe that solutions are only viable if the users participate in the creative process. No wonder then that collaboration is at the heart of the EduSoft Hackathon. From the moment the idea was born all the  Read More

      • Moldova on the Pathway to Achieving the Global Goals

        28 Sep 2015


        World leaders have adopted the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as Global Goals. They represent an agreed vision to put people and planet on a sustainable path by 2030. This is the bedrock of a new development agenda that can set the world on a course of action to end poverty, transform lives and protect the planet. In Moldova, we focus our work on poverty reduction, access to education and women empowerment, where many challenges still persist. The regional turbulence, together with the many challenges the country is facing, require new ingenious approaches from the people of Moldova and the development agencies working to support the country. I believe the new Goals will guide us through the next mile of development – from guaranteeing inclusive access to key services, which is the first step, to looking at the aspects of quality, accountability and justice. The Sustainable Development Goals spell out how we work together to promote dignity, equality, justice, shared prosperity and well-being for all, while protecting the environment. We are the first generation that can end poverty and the last one that can avoid the worst effects of climate change. I’ve learned from my work with the United  Read More

      • Moldova: Small country, big data?

        05 Aug 2015


        Most people don’t know a lot about Moldova. One prominent story to make international news recently, was a widespread scandal involving the theft of US $1 billion from three of the country’s leading banks. Thus, few might realize that the small country between Romania and Ukraine also happens to be at the forefront of the data revolution – having moved towards open data at a much faster pace than any of its neighbours. It’s been only five years since Moldova began to take steps towards reforming its public service. As part of this reform, the government committed to opening up its data and launching its first open data portal in 2011. Four years later, is already on version 3.0, and home to over 800 datasets. Moldova has passed legal reforms committing to making government data open by default. In the process, it has gathered a small but ardent community of open data enthusiasts, many of whom I had the opportunity to meet on a recent trip to Chisinau. “Yes, but” Here were my questions: - Did open data really make governance in Moldova more transparent? - Did the government become more accountable to its people? - Are Moldovans actually using  Read More

      • From design to access: MiLab goes on safari

        29 Jun 2015

        Photo: UNDP/Victoria Puiu

        We often consider the buildings we’re constructing as comfortable and accessible for all. How often do we remember what a challenge they can be for those living with disabilities? As a part of a diversity initiative task force, we made an effort to assess the level of accessibility of our very own United Nations in Moldova premises. We conducted three user safaris with people with physical, visual and hearing impairments. What’s a user safari? A user safari is a valuable way of understanding how people interact with and experience a service or environment. There is no one better to spot the weaknesses when it comes to accessibility than with people who experience those challenges first-hand. Empathizing and co-creating with users is at the heart of MiLab’s work, and this time was no different. In order to overcome any initial awkwardness or trepidation, we used role-playing to break the ice. We assigned each participant a role he/she had to perform throughout the whole user-safari – i.e. a staff member, presenter, or participant at a project meeting. Keep an open mind…and schedule. As facilitators, we had to be flexible going throughout the exercise. Each person had their own way of interacting with the  Read More