Our Perspective

      • A journey with a map: Service redesign in Moldova

        23 Dec 2014

        “Hesitant at first, once people felt we were empathizing with them, they became comfortable and excited to join the process.”

        The notion that good service is a service co-designed with the user is not news. However, for many in Moldova, a majority of public services in Moldova remain totally bureaucratic and alien. In an attempt to change this, MiLab is working alongside colleagues form UNDP’s Local Development Programme to help local authorities in the village of Ciuciuleni to redesign their material aid service. This service serves as a helping hand for the people who’ve suffered losses due house fires, floods, health issues and the like. It is worth noting that the material aid service was largely inherited from the Soviet era, and has survived all the social and political changes ever since. To make this service relevant for the people today, we ventured to apply design-thinking methodology. Along with local authorities, we looked at this assistance through providers’ and users’ eyes. As expected, we uncovered a lot of loopholes and contradictions which make this service extraordinarily complicated for all parties involved. For example: 1. It is not clear who can benefit from this service: those who suffered exceptional situations (calamities, house fires), people experiencing serious health issues (there are no any clear criteria of “gravity of the problem”), and persons experiencing  Read More

      • Moldova post-2015: Understanding the complexity

        26 Nov 2014

        Futurescaper screenshot: The linkages of growth in migration in Moldova

        We recently blogged about how we are planning with citizens to improve the institutions Moldova will need in the post-2015 future. Now, we want to look into the main challenges and impacts as seen by the participants in the survey we conducted using Futurescaper. In the three weeks it was live, Futurescaper brought a new level of depth and responsiveness that we had never seen in Moldova. The platform empowers participants, by literally putting them in the position of strategic analysts. As a result, we received qualitative feedback about the most fundamental development constraints, their root causes, and consequences. Here’s what we found: Key risks: the unholy trinity While the ultimate goal of our journey is to find institutional solutions for future challenges, our first step was to identify the major problems that citizen are already facing. For the majority of respondents three issues are at the forefront: 1. Declining trust in social and political institutions (22 percent) 2. Political polarization of Moldovan society (22 percent) 3. Rising labor migration and mobility (19 percent) The only time climate change-related aspects did emerge was through the lens of its impacts on the agriculture. Little wonder as half of the population resides in  Read More

      • Moldova’s innovation hub: Changing the way we police

        16 Oct 2014

        Check out our visual design diary to see what the conversations looked like (literally). Photo: UNDP/Nadejda Cebotari

        It all started with the renovation of a police station in Chișinău. The question: Why don’t we redesign the space from the perspective of both provider (police) and user (community)? At that moment, neither we, nor our partners from the municipal police department, could have imagined what that would entail. We soon realized that changing the dynamics of a space is more than just constructing a room and moving around some furniture. It’s about changing the space in which the provider and the user engage with one another. More thought-provoking questions followed: Can we create a space that makes the police more efficient, accessible, and trustworthy? What about for the community? Can we make them feel happier, helpful, and more secure? These were the difficult issues we, and our partners from FutureGov and Studio TILT, faced as we jointly began our journey revitalizing a dilapidated Soviet-era police station. For the officers, the needs were clear: new vehicles, computers, and building renovations. The problem, however, was also equally clear: lack of financial resources. We understand those things are important but with budgets scarce, it’s a road to nowhere. The country is rich with examples of massive infrastructure investments doing little-to-nothing to improve  Read More

      • Moldova post-2015: How are we getting ready?

        24 Sep 2014

        Decrypting complexity: Futurescaper lets us map the web of trends, impacts and consequences

        Some time ago, in the first round of the national post-2015 consultations, citizens in Moldova told us about their aspirations. They spoke of finding decent work, wanting better social protection, and having more accountable governance. This will be all the more challenging in a world where rising energy and food prices, climate-related threats, emigration, and population aging are only becoming more pronounced. However, acknowledging aspirations and challenges is only part of the story. The question for us development professionals is this: How can we help the Moldovan people fulfill their aspirations and cope with these challenges? Futurist Tamar Kasriel writes that the future is “not about being right, it’s about being ready.” As such, institutions and their capacities will be crucial in making this post-2015 agenda a reality. Here’s why: 1)    Development challenges are crosscutting These issues cannot be kept under the remit of a single government agency. Look at the interplay between green development, food security, and poverty to cite just one example. There is a profound need for efficient inter-agency communication and responsive institutions. 2)    Development challenges are complex Traditional forms of governance, such as establishing committees, are synonymous with deadlocks. We need breakthroughs. New approaches, such as ‘delivery  Read More

      • Tackling vulnerability: Five reflections on the Human Development Report in Moldova

        13 Aug 2014


        By Alex Oprunenco and Dumitru Vasilescu Last month, the 2014 Human Development Report was officially unveiled. It is probably the most comprehensive and empirically robust analysis of progress and trends in human development. On top of this, it guides us towards new policy approaches that tend to shatter our ‘business as usual’ approach. Here’s how we see its relevance in the Moldova context, where we’ve spent last couple of years trying to understand underlying trends in human development. 1. Making up for lost time? The Human Development Index (HDI) is a tool that measures and assesses long-term progress in three basic dimensions of development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge, and a decent standard of living. This year, with an HDI of 0.663, Moldova is ranked 114 out of 187 countries. On average over the past decade, Moldova’s HDI value has increased by 0.12 percent per year, propelled largely by improvements in health and education. 2. Many shades of vulnerability The chief topic of this year’s report is human vulnerability or the prospects of eroding people’s capabilities and choices. Vulnerability is not only about money; it is also lack of access to basic services such as education, health, and water  Read More

      • The confidence question? Meet the investment lady

        22 Jul 2014

        Mayor Elena Josan shows a newly functional water supply network benefiting people from both banks of the Nistru River. Photo: Natalia Costas/UNDP Moldova

        By Victor Dragutan & Natalia Costas Could the problem of gender inequality be compounded by a confidence gap? A recent article in the Atlantic says yes – evidence suggests that women are less self-assured than men—and that to succeed in today’s world, it takes as much confidence as it does competence. We thought about this in Moldova, too. Here, men hold most elected offices, and women are acutely underrepresented in leadership positions across most sectors of the economy.  Tellingly, most women in Moldova prefer a man for president, despite evidence that decisions made by female leaders are often a better fit for the community’s needs (in Romanian). In the EU-UNDP Support to Confidence Building Measures Programme, we also deal with stereotypes and issues of trust, albeit in a different, post-conflict dimension. Working to develop confidence between people on both sides of the Nistru River, whose life is affected by the still unresolved status of Transnistria, we’ve come across a number of women who could use a self-confidence boost as well. These women are doing a great job every day, leaders in business or their community, but give themselves little credit. While the role of women in all stages of conflict-prevention has  Read More

      • Game changer: Five things we learned playing Youth@Work in Moldova

        10 Jun 2014

        Winners of the Youth @ Work game. UNDP Moldova

        The three exciting weeks of playing Youth@Work on Community PlanIt are over. The awards have found their winners and we are in the process of analyzing the results. We at UNDP, the Engagement Lab at Emerson College, and National Council of Youth from Moldova, have been hard at work for the past five months, designing and implementing this exciting project. While a more comprehensive analysis is forthcoming, we are eager to share five things we learned from the project thus far. 1. Gaming is a cool and effective way to harness social energy of youth. When we were weighing our options on how to engage with youth on employment, we really wanted to step outside of routine and have an authentic, exciting, and unconventional discussion. We wanted to do so through play. When people play, they are more open to discovery, opportunities and challenges. And when people play games, they can do all those things within a safe context outside of the strictures of everyday life. The risk for introducing a game as a means to confront a serious problem is great: What if people discounted the idea as too frivolous or as making light of a serious situation? That is something that  Read More

      • Come play! Getting youth back to work in Moldova

        10 Apr 2014

        The first-ever online game “Youth@Work” - https://communityplanit.org/moldova/ -which gives every young person the possibility to get actively involved in the development of his or her community was launched in the Republic of Moldova.

        The day we’ve been waiting for has finally arrived! The first-ever online game Youth@Work, which gives young people the chance to get involved in the development of their community, was launched in the Republic of Moldova. Aimed at addressing unemployment among young people, the game involves youth, employers, and decision-makers in the Republic of Moldova who will debate issues related to unemployment, and together identify the most applicable solutions. We’ve seen how gaming can play a role in civic engagement, especially here in Moldova. So we partnered up with the Engagement Lab from Emerson College, and the National Youth Council of Moldova, to jointly figure out a gaming platform that would encourage young Moldovans to propose solutions to the problems they face. >> Read more about the steps we took with our partners to “define the mission” The idea to develop this game came as a result of hearing people’s concerns about the lack of jobs available expressed during the national consultations for a post-2015 world. The content of the game came directly from public consultations with over 200 young people held throughout the country. The game is now available in Romanian, Russian and English. It’s a unique space for learning and debating about unemployment, identifying community problems, as  Read More

      • A nudge in the right direction: Fighting tuberculosis in Moldova

        02 Apr 2014

        When people go home from the hospital, they stop taking the pills. Why this happens remains an open question. Photo: Julie Pudlowski / UNDP Moldova

        Tuberculosis (TB) remains a huge challenge for the public health sector in Moldova despite the best efforts made by all involved. Among the primary concerns is the increasing rate of the multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in the country, which are much trickier and more expensive to treat. One of the major reasons for this is the low drug adherence rate - people tend to discontinue treatment once they leave the hospital. Treatment generally comes in two phases: The first is the intensive one whereby the patient requires hospitalization for up to two months. In the second phase – know as the continuation phase – the patient is released from the hospital but required to take pills daily in the presence of a medical professional. This is called directly observed treatment (DOT) and is a safe way to ensure the necessary meds are taken to fully wipe out the infection. This is however where our problem begins: It’s when people get to go home that they STOP taking their pills. Why this happens is an open question. We know that people don’t stop taking drugs because they want to get sick again. Life gets in the way, they’re forgetful, maybe some receive a pension a day or  Read More

      • Playing games for employment: Defining the mission

        14 Feb 2014

        Young people dig into the problems they face when looking for jobs. Photo: Emerson College

        In one of our previous blog posts, we showed why we want to tackle the problem of youth unemployment in Moldova by playing games. We want to share some of our first steps of defining the game – together with our partners from Emerson College and the National Youth Council of Moldova. Step 1: Meet CommunityPlanIt For the purpose of our project, we decided to adapt the CommunityPlanIt platform, successfully run by Emerson College in the US. It is an online game platform that seeks to mobilize support for community causes. Throughout the game, players provide personal opinions, “build” their causes and earn points. The “best” causes receive small awards after the game is finished. The game was used in several communities across the US to engage citizens in improving lives in their communities and have their say on policy choices, like increasing green space or building recreational facilities. This allowed decision-makers to collect data and views from citizens of various backgrounds and feed that data and views into community planning process. Usually the game runs for three weeks, and is accompanied by off-line meetings between players and decision-makers. So, once we have the game’s skeleton, we need to fill it  Read More