How to turn development organizations in development platforms?


​ Hardly a day goes by in the development world without hearing the term "platform". Like in the business world, it's becoming harder for any development organization to provide a single service or product that will make broad impact. Airbnb doesn't build homes, it creates a network that brings together host and guest. Likewise, it's impossible to eradicate poverty – a complex phenomenon – without connecting different areas of expertise and partners across a wide range of thematic issues. And it's often the case that the people we're trying to pull out of poverty are closer to the problem and entitled to have a say about the solution. While building platforms doesn't happen overnight, it's highly likely you're already working in ways that r...
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Blockchain links Serbian diaspora and their families back home


With the arrival of the 4 th industrial revolution, new technologies will increasingly enable citizens to engage with governments, voice their opinions and coordinate their efforts. Because of the increasingly changing world of today, governments, citizens and development actors alike need to quickly adapt, get a better understanding of advanced technologies, and learn how they can best be used for the benefit of the society as a whole. The new UNDP's strategic approach is relying on innovation and experimentation to ensure that key development actors are able to use new technologies to drive the progress towards the achievement of the Agenda 2030 and the global Sustainable Development Goals . To be able to do so and help the governments of...
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There are risks in doing something new, but there might be even more risks in doing the old!


Impact bonds , one of the pay-for-success financial mechanisms bringing impact investors, private, public and third sector organizations together to solve social and development issues, have recently faced some criticism about their complex nature, which can lead to a long design phase and high related transaction costs. We, at UNDP Istanbul Hub and Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra , put our heads together and thought about the challenges around impact bonds. There was a mutual understanding that what comes to preventing and solving wicked societal problems, the impact is achieved together – the core idea and benefit of impact bonds. Sitra has been using co-creation as a mechanism to boost the design of social impact bonds (SIB) in Finland and...
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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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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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UNDP Global Crowdfunding Academy in Bosnia and Herzegovina Rides on a Great Wave!


    The Day of Big Waves in February in Banja Luka. What? Yes, we have the first successful crowdfunding campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina by "Talas" magazine team. Talas means wave! The campaign name was "Swim upstream" or #PlivajUzvodno. There is no ocean in Banja Luka to make waves or to swim, but Talas magazine team has done their job! They started a quarterly print magazine back in June 2016, determined to write only positive stories about great, productive, proactive and enthusiastic people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Those stories deserve to be told and inspire other people to strive in making a positive change, starting a business, creating jobs, doing good for themselves and for the community. They went into a crowdfundin...
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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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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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CROWDFUNDING ACADEMY UKRAINE 2017


Crowdfunding Academy in Ukraine is a three months project dedicated to entrepreneurs from conflict-affected areas in Donbas. The ultimate goal of the initiative is to rally all available resources to help improve the livelihoods of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host communities throughout Ukraine.  Experts from UNDP Alternative Finance Lab and Terra Hub NGO, who created the concept of Crowdfunding Academy, as well as trainers from the leading Ukrainian online crowdfunding platform "Spilnokosht" are helping entrepreneurs raise funding for their businesses using online tools and innovative methodologies. To be admitted to the Crowdfunding Academy, participants had to describe their business idea and specify the required investm...
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BUILD THE 1ST INCLUSIVE PLAYGROUND IN TIRANA


''Build the 1st Inclusive Playground in Tirana'' is a campaign that aimed to provide, for the first time in Albania, a playground that is suitable for children with special needs and abilities. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Albania, jointly with the Municipality of Tirana launched this campaign to advocate for greater awareness towards equality of treatment for kids with special needs in joint areas such as a playground. 20 000$ were raised through the crowdfunding campaign, and playground equipment that caters to the need of special needs kids was integrated with traditional equipment. The campaign also aimed at creating a chain effect in other communities, so that they organize from within and sponsor consequent playgroun...
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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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BLOCKCHAIN RESEARCH


We have recently started to work on the White Paper with Blockchain - the world's leading Bitcoin software company. Together we are working on better understanding the development space and evaluating how this technological innovation can bring about radical transparency & efficiency in the flow of aid.The paper is exploring six key sectors - trade finance, remittances, digital ID, development aid financing, property rights, and energy blockchain. We're cooperating with the Joint Research Center of the European Commission (check out an impressive line up of people they've had for a discussion on distributed ledger technologies a few months back) on design of a challenge prize for social applications of blockchain that would (hopefully) ...
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TAJIKISTAN: SENDING REMITTANCES FROM RUSSIA TO TAJIKISTAN


In Tajikistan, we are working with BitSPark on investigating possibilities to transfer remittances money from Tajikistan workers from Russia to Tajikistan using Bitcoins. Remittances are a growing and critical lifeline for many people and countries around the world, as demonstrated clearly by Tajikistan where 50% of the country GDP relies on remittance income. ​
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MOLDOVA - Testing use of Emercoin/Blockchain for Fleet Management


In Moldova, we are testing to find out if Blockchain can provide a more effective way of managing the United Nations car fleet. On this project we cooperate with EmerCoin - a digital currency and blockchain service platform and with DeePlace company. The blockchain technology is to demonstrate the possibility of a more effective way of managing the UN car fleet in an emergency situation. Blockchain could provide a more effective way of transferring and tracking funds.
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SERBIA - SENDING REMITTANCES FROM SERBIAN DIASPORA TO THE CITY OF NIS BENEFICIARIES


As remittances are an important part of the economic impact of migration, in Serbia we're working on designing a proof of concept for remittance transfers over blockchain. The program's goal is to find a cheaper cross-border transfer system which cuts out intermediaries such as Western Union, and targeted toward specific needs in Serbia. In this project, we are working together with AidTech - a blockchain startup, one among ten finalists of the European Commission 2016 Social Innovation Competition. ​
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SOCIAL IMPACT BONDS - PROJECT: YOUTH EMPLOYMENT BOND


To tackle the challenges and negative impacts of long-term youth unemployment, UNDP together with Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra and the Government of Serbia is designing a Youth Employment Bond pilot with the Social Impact Bond (SIB) mechanism. Social Impact Bond is a result-based financial instrument for impact investing, where private investments are intended to create a positive social or environmental impact as well as a financial return. The first SIB was launched in 2010 in UK and by now over 60 SIBs have been commissioned across Europe, Australia, Canada and the United States. SIBS have raised over $200m of capital and touched over 90,000 lives in the areas such as employment, homelessness, health, child welfare, education and crimin...
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