The Benefits of Crowd Urbanism


  The Benefits of Crowd Urbanism Based on lessons learned – some of which are mentioned below – crowdfunding can bridge the gap between top-down and bottom-up ways of thinking. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Alternative Finance Lab has been working and experimenting with crowdfunding now more than five years, by developing campaigns, workshops, booklets and observing how this new way of financing can help communities to become more resilient and empowered. Due to fiscal constraints governments are facing globally, conventional means of financing municipal projects are at risk, opening the floor for various alternative financing mechanisms. Crowdfunding mechanisms are one of the fastest growing: they can help leverage pub...
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UNDP, solar currency exchange to power up Moldovan university

Thanks to a new cryptocurrency initiative, one of Moldova’s largest universities will reach zero cost within the next 20 years. Photo: UNDP Croatia

​First U.N. effort to finance solar energy with cryptocurrency could expand to Eastern Europe where markets are considered mature but funding is scarce ​   Chisinau, Moldova, 4 May 2018 – The UN Development Programme (UNDP) is teaming up with Sun Exchange – a marketplace that finances solar power with cryptocurrency – to help one of Moldova's largest universities go solar. The establishment is expected to meet most of its energy needs from solar power overnight and make considerable savings on its bills, thanks to rooftop installations expected to reach 15,000 square meters in surface area. People who purchase solar cells through the South Africa-based Sun Exchange can lease them out to hospitals, businesses, schools and private reside...
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The Future is Decentralised - Block chains, distributed ledgers & the future of sustainable development


UNDP AltFinLab partnered with Blockchain.com, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and the World Economic Forum (WEF) to explore how block chain technology works, but also how it is already being used to pursue conventional ends. The culmination of that partnership is in the form of a white paper titled, The Future is Decentralised. We're excited to share how this technology has brought new levels of efficiency and effectiveness to the fields of development aid, supply chain management, renewable energy, economic growth, and several others. The potential of block chains to disrupt industrial sectors, commercial processes, governmental structures or economic systems seems to know no bounds. We suggest that the transformative power of block chain techn...
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Growing argan trees and beekeeping in Morocco – and how can crowdfunding help?


Argan trees are so much more than just trees in rural Morocco. In many cases they are the only income for local indigenous women. Argan nuts are being turned into Argan oil that is being praised by cosmetic industry for its anti-aging and conditioning properties for skin and hair. Since the beauty-cult started some 20 years ago, over 200 women's Argan oil cooperatives have been organized for collecting nuts and turning them in to "desert gold" and sold worldwide. However, most of them lack cash for expanding their businesses beyond just simple collecting nuts as conservative funding is not easily assessable for local cooperatives and farmers. Many villages throughout the Argan forest area lack the proper funding needed to open production fa...
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Can blockchain help us better assist refugees and migrants in transit?


Technology can both empower and disempower. At a recent workshop on blockchain , we landed a challenge: how can we use it to facilitate refugee integration? I am an immediate misfit in the dynamic multiverse of people speaking in code. But at this USAID event led by the UNDP Alternative Finance Lab and AID:Tech , I wasn't the only one. My team, half tree-huggers and half tech gurus, started our brainstorming with this question: what do we have in common? The answer was a strong sense of identity. That fragile sense of self, inflated when our boss pats us on the back and shattered when somebody "swipes left". Displaced people often struggle with identity loss. It isn't just about that "blood and soil" sense of belongingness that disappears w...
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Crowdfunding in UNDP – guidance for project managers


After 7 academies, 40 campaigns, and more than 400 people educated on new financial technologies and mechanisms, we have decided to share a part of our knowledge through this guidance. If you are a forward-looking innovator excited about improving your work and the work of your institution and partners, this guide can help. The following document is divided into tips and questions for planning, launching and managing a crowdfunding campaign. Through four sections of this guide, we introduce you with Things you need to consider before launching a crowdfunding campaign and What to consider for a successful launch . In the third and fourth section, we have prepared useful tips about Managing an ongoing crowdfunding campaign and Wrapping up you...
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Rethinking Road Safety – Investing to Save People’s Lives


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 . This includes legal and medical expe...
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Georgetown University Library Hosts UN Development Programme's Alternative Finance Lab


​On Tuesday, July 25, the Maker Hub and the Gelardin New Media Center are hosting a special afternoon of conversation, socailizing, and workshops with the UN Development Programme's Alternative Finance Lab from UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub in Lauinger Library. The afternoon will begin at 2:00pm with a presentation by members of the AltFin Labin the Murray Room (5th Floor, Lauinger Library). The AltFin Lab is an internal startup, run out of UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub for Europe and CIS. It is a mechanism for exploring and tapping into new financial technologies and mechanisms to access investment for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They will discuss their activities related to crowdfunding, crowdlending, and crowdinvesting, as ...
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10 Steps to Successful Crowdfunding


  The spirit of gotong royong is taught to children from a very young age at schools all over Indonesia. It is the Indonesian brand of volunteerism, or communal work—where members of a community gather to accomplish a task. Traditionally, the task could be to fix a neighbor's home, or build a road or a bridge. Today, especially in urban areas, such community work is hard to find. But it does not mean the spirit of gotong royong is gone. The communal culture stays with modern Indonesians. In spite of busy lifestyles, they continue to help others through philanthropy. A study found that philanthropic support in Indonesia totals $600 million per month. Young and tech-savvy Indonesians use the internet for their philanthropic activities—gi...
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“From Russia to Tajikistan”: changing the way money moves


​ Could blockchain-based payment systems make financial access easier for migrant workers sending remittance payments from abroad, make the transfer cheaper, faster and more secure ? Citizens of Tajikistan rely heavily on remittances . A lack of job opportunities means that up to 1 million (out of a population of 8 billion) migrate elsewhere for work, mostly Russia. Until 2014, the share of remittances made up around 43 percent of the national GDP, roughly US$4 billion a year , The global recession and the depreciation of the Russian and Tajik currencies against the US dollar has since caused a sharp decline in remittances. But its share is still significant at 20-25 percent, as labor migration continues to be attractive .  When we vis...
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Crowdfunding SMEs for SDGs – and how we do it in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina…


  What is necessary for building up a crowdfunding ecosystem Our first 2 years of experience with crowdfunding taught us that the approach is not just a new market place for accessing funds but a tool to build community engagement; not just a PR fad but a powerful outreach and advocacy mechanisms; and not merely a support system for an initiative but an effort to catalyse new business models, technologies and solutions for social issues. Just donating money is like buying a blanket for one person in need; and crowdfunding an SME is like setting up a company that produces affordable blankets to hundreds in need. Re-inventing the business model, building an ecosystem of supporters and ambassadors, and a powerful leapfrog. This year, our ...
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Mašenjka Feels Happy, From A to W, Twelve Campaigns Will Go Out Crowdfunding!


What are the campaigns, what is in the #BigStoriesSmallBusinesses? Take a small A to W quest with Maša and find out! A. stands for Antonov, Ukrainian engineer who constructed the biggest cargo plane in the world, the famous Antonov! Produced in Ukraine. Mašenjka saw it in Zagreb several years ago, once it landed to pick up a transformer for a powerplant . The queue of curious people was the longest queue she has ever seen! Can you imagine how thrilled she was she realised we have another Antonov in one of the teams that is composed of engineers who once worked in the Antonov factory? Now The A. team has created the first electric cargo bike in Ukraine – find out what is their name and try-out the bike when they go out to the crowds with gue...
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Mašenjka Goes Crowdfunding in Kyiv


  On a calm early Saturday morning, with her tiny feet and red hair-locks under her cap, Mašenjka walked swiftly across St. Sofia square. And then down with a funicular to Podil. And then straight along Riviera to Kyiv Hub 4.0. More then thirty curious entrepreneurs waited for her. Fifteen komandas couldn't wait to learn about a whole new world of crowdfunding. Mašenjka was not alone. Little rasta-girl with blond dreadlocks from the Crowdfunding Academy was with her, and two nice and bright comrades from Spilnokosht platform and a cheerful piccola djevushka Italiana. The komandas started pitching: We want school-kids to grow trees and turn grey destroyed areas into green woods. We want anti-cafe in Slavyansk to have a wonderful yard an...
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Providing Youth Education and Employment In the IT Industry


In six months, after a successful pilot in the Korail slum , we helped students who were barely familiar with computers to transform into IT freelancers, earning an average of $100 USD per month. Following up on that success, on October 9th UNDP Bangladesh launched the Youth Employment through Skills (YES) campaign . Today, we are raising money to build our first pilot classroom. If successful, we will expand this programme to 100,000 students across Bangladesh. The Inspiration for Youth Employment through Skills (YES) Despite the huge gains that Bangladesh has made addressing poverty, almost 1/3 of the population, or 45 million, still live below the poverty line. Not only that, but, approximately 41% of Bangladeshi youth are NEET : Not Emp...
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Jobs For Youth, Savings For Government, Return For Investors – All In One?


​ UNDP Serbia is experimenting impact investing through Youth Employment Bond together with Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra. The high cost of youth unemployment The youth unemployment rate is very high in Serbia, which requires more attention and also innovative ways to tackle the challenges. The youth unemployment rate in 2015 was 43.2 %, which is significantly above the general unemployment rate in the country (18.2 % for the population of working age 15-64). Having 4 out of 10 young people (ages 15-30) neither in employment, education or training (NEET youth) costs the Government over EUR 1.6 billion a year. You read it right- EUR 1.6 billion. This figure includes costs of various unemployment related social benefits and foregone income ta...
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Saving Lives – One Student At a Time


In a school in a town South of Lebanon, a young boy rushes out of class on a Friday excited to get home and start the weekend. He exits the school gate onto a crowded road that leads to a concealed curve where cars rush by. There is no pavement, no footpaths, and no security measures. The child runs up and down the street looking for his mother, stuck in the usual heavy traffic around the school…  Last year alone, 83 children under 14 years of age lost their lives in road accidents. Many of these accidents took place within the school's perimeter. Live Lebanon is launching the Green Light zone Project to reduce the number of casualties by providing a safe environment for students within and around the school. Children In Direct Danger ...
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UNDP Moldova is keeping the doctor away from more than 3000 school-age children


​ The idea of tackling the problem of low fruit intake in Moldova came during a banal lunch. We were intrigued by the paradox that in a country that is a regional "garden", abundant in fruits and vegetables, the average consumption of these goodies constituted only 60% of the minimum WHO recommended quantity. We then thought about connecting the private sector represented by the fruit producers with the educational institutions, targeting the young generations of our country, where the culture of fruit consumption is just about to be shaped. Our mission was to increase children fruit consumption, by offering them local fresh apples, sliced and delivered in an attractive package, thus making the consumption process "cool" for them. The chall...
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Crowdfunding is not (only) about the money


If you need just money, go to the bank and don't use crowdfunding. Use crowdfunding if you need awareness building, campaigning, initiating debate, attract other funders and build up your community. When we started our first campaign for an energy independent school in Croatia, we didn't have the slightest idea where crowdfunding would take us. From conducting a successful campaign to setting up Crowdfunding Academy and UNDP Alternative Finance Lab , helping to launch more than 15 campaigns in 10+ countries - crowdfunding has definitely taken a hold on us. In the UK alone, crowdfunding for civic causes has gained $30 million over the last five years . But crowdfunding is so much more than about getting the required financing for your projec...
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CROWDFUNDING ACADEMY: DEVELOPING ALTERNATIVE FINANCING CULTURE IN CROATIA


​ Seems like the last few months have gone away in a blink of an eye – that's how long it passed since a group of seven started to plan the Crowdfunding Academy project at small UNDP office in Croatia. Many e-mails, social media posts, new faces, public presentations, crowdfunding facts and working hours later, we are starting to realize the real size of a rock that we've managed to move by successfully bringing this project to life. Within the Crowdfunding Academy educational programme we gathered experts in business, financing, marketing, social media, journalism, strategy planning and many other fields, along with more or less successful crowdfunding campaigners from Croatia. They've shared their experiences through three modules tacklin...
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Crowdfunding As a Potential Behemoth: A Billion Euro Industry Waiting To Happen


Enter your text  Nothing could beat the pleasure of starring at a packed auditorium while I was waiting for the opening talk of the Zagreb Crowdfunding Convention and thinking back of the months of preparations behind us. Industry experts, NGO's and private companies, government representative and numerous curious individuals – we got them all at one place to discuss future of crowdfunding in our region! We've been intensively focusing our work on a variety of crowdfunding activities in order to climb closer to the goal we've set more than one year ago, when we co-founded the Crowdfunding Academy . That was to contribute to the development of a crowdfunding market in Croatia. Our Zagreb Crowdfunding Convention event nowadays comes as a...
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