Reducing inequalities, advancing human rights
How UNDP is working to leave no one behind in the Arab region.
“I am here as a challenge and I will install solar panels all by myself.”
Decades of crises and political turmoil has caused Lebanon’s basic infrastructure to crumble — particularly electricity networks. The country’s unreliable power supply causes an average of 20 hours of electricity outage per day, posing serious challenges to people’s livelihoods, safety, and security — especially vulnerable groups like women.
To increase the use of renewable energy and simultaneously empower women in Lebanon, UNDP is training women to install, repair, and maintain solar panels. Hiam is a part of a team armed with drills and tape measures, ready to fight climate change and break stereotypes about the role of women in society. At 67 years old, she doesn’t let her age or gender get in the way and is proud to be part of this team of determined, confident women.
“My favourite subjects are history and geography but when I grow up, I want to be a doctor, to help poor people in my community.”
Eleven-year-old Roqayeh lives in Haditha, Iraq. During the conflict with ISIL, Haditha’s surrounding areas were captured, making the daily commute to school no longer safe for Roqayeh. Despite this, her love for learning never waned; she and her friends would gather at their neighbour’s house to continue their education.
When Haditha’s surrounding areas were finally liberated from ISIL, Roqayeh’s school, which was damaged from the conflict, was rebuilt through UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization. Today, her love for school is stronger than ever. “I love school and am so happy to be back,” she says.
“I visit my grapevines two to three times a day. They are like family to me.
Amidst the backdrop of one of the worst humanitarian crises ever, Yemen’s agricultural sector has a pivotal role to play in the nation’s economic recovery and the reduction of poverty. As a highly valuable cash crop with a large and reliable market, grapes — a historical symbol of immortality in Yemen — can also be a catalyst for reducing inequalities in the country.
To help local grape farmers like Ali improve their productivity and ultimately their income, UNDP is providing them with equipment to make cultivating and harvesting easier. “Growing and selling grapes provides me with sums of money that help me purchase a means of transportation to the local market. It also helps me pay for the education of my children. Thanks to grape cultivation, we are living a decent life,” he says.
“For us, it was more than just showcasing our poetry; it was a way of showing our strength and leadership skills.”
Poetry is a way for Somali women to express themselves on issues that matter to them — from political representation, to war, revolution and inequality. In a culture dominated by men this is sometimes a challenge as many women feel they are unable to speak up or be heard.
UNDP Somalia’s new Home of Somali Poetry initiative is encouraging women poets to publicly showcase their work, both online at the initiative’s website and through an annual Somali Poetry Awards with a special category for Woman Poet of the Year. This year’s winner, Raxma Huseen Huriye, says: “I want to use my influence to empower women and help them share their hidden talents.”
“[The bakery] is very interesting and unique as there are many people benefiting from it directly and indirectly.
When unemployment is high, prospects for those living with a disability are limited — particularly when most jobs are physically demanding, and discrimination is a factor. Emad, wounded and permanently disabled in conflict in Sudan’s Blue Nile state, knows this all too well.
To ensure people like Emad have a fair chance at sustainable employment, UNDP Sudan is helping ex-combatants with disabilities to rejoin community life. Support for the creation, training and equipping of a ‘People with Disabilities Center and Bakery’ in Blue Nile’s Damazin has resulted in a new workplace for 20 employees and has helped open discussions about the challenges faced by persons living with a disability. For employee Emad, that means leading an independent life that allows him to put food on the table for his family. And of course — proving his community with a staple item: bread.
About these projects
Lebanon’s deteriorating natural environment has become a national risk with dire implications on the economy, public health, and the social well-being of its people. Designed to empower women and curb the negative impacts of climate Change in Lebanon, the women’s solar energy empowerment initiative is supported by UNDP Lebanon and generously funded by the Government of Canada.
UNDP established the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) in June 2015 to facilitate the return of displaced Iraqis, lay the groundwork for reconstruction and recovery, and safeguard against the resurgence of violence and extremism. FFS currently has more than 3,000 stabilization projects in the 31 liberated towns and districts that UNDP has been asked to work, helping local authorities to quickly rehabilitate essential infrastructure and services. The programme is funded by 28 donors from the international community, plus the Government of Iraq.
Funded and supported by the World Bank’s International Development Association, the Yemen Emergency Crisis Response Project (YECRP) is implemented by the Social Fund for Development (SFD) and the Public Works Project (PWP) in partnership with UNDP Yemen. The US$ 411 million project provides economic stimuli in the form of large cash-for-work projects, support to small businesses, and labour-intensive repairs of socio-economic assets, benefiting vulnerable local households and communities across Yemen.
The Home of Somali Poetry is an initiative to preserve and promote Somali poetry and use this great literary tradition to make the world a better place. Set up in 2021, its website https://www.hoygamaansada.com/ hosts the Somali Poetry Archive and annual Somali Poetry Awards.
Peace and stability are essential for development in Sudan. That makes them UNDP’s top priority. Our approach provides support on the national, state and local levels, combining efforts to address conflicts and their root causes. We aim to improve access to basic services, employment opportunities and fulfilment of essential needs for people all over the country. Additionally, we implement peacebuilding initiatives and provide conflict mediation to address problems when they occur. In 2020, UNDP supported half a million of Sudan’s most conflict-vulnerable people through stabilization projects. Support for this bakery project was made possible with generous support from Italian Development Cooperation, the Governments of Norway, Japan and Spain, and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).