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Comoros, also known as the Union of Comoros, is a small volcanic archipelago island off the east coast of Africa. The country’s constant political and economic instability has led to an increase in poverty since it gained independence in 1975. As of 2014, roughly 18 percent of Comorians live below the poverty line.

Comoros is considered one of the world’s poorest countries. Over the last seven years, many strides have been made to further development in Comoros. Listed below are five development projects in Comoros that have had a big impact on reducing poverty, increasing employment opportunities and helping create a better economy.

  1. Family Farming Productivity and Resilience Support Project
    This project was approved in May 2017 and is still ongoing. The International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) financed the project, loaning Comoros around $4 million to improve the country’s agricultural productivity and to get farmers in more rural areas the supplies and knowledge they need to grow more and healthier crops. Since Comoros is chiefly an agriculture-based country, this plan will increase employment as well.
  1. National English Language Education Strategy
    Starting in 2014, the Peace Corps has been sending volunteer English teachers to Comoros to teach children English as a second language. The students range from middle school to high school age. As of 2016, approximately 40 English teachers were teaching in Comoros.
  1. Co-management of Coastal Resources for Sustainable Livelihoods Project (CoReCSuD)
    This project was approved in December 2010 and ended in April 2017. The World Bank loaned Comoros roughly $2.7 million to create and implement a coastal management plan. A large part of employment and income in many rural areas in Comoros is fishing. This project increased credit to many fishing villages, decreasing poverty and increasing employment opportunities.
  1. Social Safety Net Project
    This project was approved in March 2015 and is set to close in June 2019. The World Bank loaned Comoros $6 million to increase access to nutrition services and a safety net for impoverished families, especially in rural areas.
  1. Economic Reform Development Policy Operation
    In November 2012, the World Bank gave Comoros a $5 million grant to strengthen the economy. The operation ended in December 2013. The operation’s goal was to strengthen the economy’s transparency and accountability.

Through these five development projects in Comoros, the economy has slowly started improving. Comoros has borrowed or been granted more than $17 million since 2010 from different organizations to fund these improvement projects. The GDP growth has increased to a little more than two percent from one percent in 2015.

Beyond these five development projects in Comoros, the nation’s government still has more room to grow. The unemployment rate is still high, around 19 percent. However, progress is slowly but surely being made, and these projects have left a lot of room for Comoros to move forward.

– Courtney Wallace

Photo: Flickr

development projects in croatiaLocated in Europe, Croatia is a country with access to clean water and an almost perfect literacy rate, standing at 99 percent. Despite certain successes, the country struggles with other issues, such as high unemployment which stands at 44 percent. Here are five development projects in Croatia that are creating change in the country.

Modernization and Restructuring of the Road Sector Project

The purpose of this project is to strengthen the institutional effectiveness, enhance operational efficiency and increase the debt service capacity of Croatia’s road sector. The road network in Croatia is the largest infrastructure asset in the country.

Croatia’s road network is of vital importance to its economy, as it encourages industry growth and tourism. By expanding the road sector, Croatian roads can integrate with other European networks. Furthermore, for the country to continue to maintain relations with other entities, development projects in Croatia like these are necessary.

Croatia Innovation and Entrepreneurship Venture Capital Project

One of the best ways to help reduce poverty and develop a nation is to increase innovation and creativity within a country. This project allows that exact thing. It aims to strengthen risk capital financing for startups in Croatia. This could also add a fresh wave of businesses to the country and potentially create more jobs for the country.

Sustainable Croatian Railways in Europe

In addition to innovation, infrastructure is another way to reduce poverty. Building up the country’s infrastructure could have many potential benefits, as evidenced by the Modernizing and Restructuring of the Road Sector Project.

The Sustainable Railways in Europe Project aims to further develop infrastructure in Croatia by improving the operational efficiency and the financial sustainability of the public railway sector.

The World Bank approved three loans totaling $183.4 million in support of the country developing its railway sector. Croatia’s railway system has changed dramatically in the past in order to meet the criteria of the European Union (EU). The loan and the project combined will continue to see more changes, including making the railway companies more customer-oriented.

Health System Quality and Efficiency Improvement

Improving the health system of a country is another way to reduce poverty within a country. Specifically, the project aims to improve the healthcare delivery system to better provide sustainable health services; rationalize the hospital network to streamline healthcare services; strengthen the government’s capacity to develop and monitor effective health sector policies and promote effective public health interventions.

Development projects in Croatia have made vast improvements to its health system in recent years. However, there are still areas needing improvement. For example, Croatia suffers from an uneven availability of healthcare across regions in addition to lacking quality care. The project would increase efforts to improve the country’s healthcare system and afford citizens much-needed care and increased access.

Together for Sustainable Development in Croatia

This project depends on community involvement to help sustain local development through networking and partnerships. Its specific objective is to “strengthen the voice of civil sector in shaping, monitoring and evaluating sustainable development policies on local, national and international level through networking, cross-sectoral partnership and capacity building,” according to Croatia Rural Development Network.

The project anticipates cooperation from Croatian civil society networks as well as European networks. Its ultimate goal is to have stakeholders for sustainable development and an increased level of citizen and CSO participation in the process of monitoring of sustainable rural policies. With such innovative tactics, Croatia should be able to find and develop more ways to lift itself out of poverty.

These development projects in Croatia are small, but necessary, steps in the right direction for reducing poverty and enabling growth.

– Dezanii Lewis

Photo: Flickr

Infrastructure in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan, a country east of Turkey and located between the Black and Caspian Seas, makes for a perfect gateway linking southwest Asia and Europe. The country’s long history of being subjugated under Russia has made it a weak connection in the past, but now with the infrastructure in Azerbaijan strengthening, it is not only gaining a name in the world, but also seeing its citizens’ standards of living improve. While Azerbaijan still has some hurdles to overcome, the world is watching Azerbaijan’s poverty rate decrease and infrastructure improve.

Part of Azerbaijan’s difficulty in overcoming its weak infrastructure stems from its still-recent rule by Russia. After World War Ⅰ, Azerbaijan broke away and claimed independence. Many countries recognized its independence and world leaders appreciated its people’s dream of freedom. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, in particular, commented on the parallel ideals of the United States and Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan’s independence did not last long. After only two years of independence, communist Russia invaded Azerbaijan and governed it for 70 years.

After the political subjugation and various wars of that 70-year period, Azerbaijan was able to claim independence again in 1991. Shortly afterward, the country elected Abulfaz Elchibey, although he was quickly replaced by Heydar Aliyev (the current president’s father) in 1993. President Heydar Aliyev was able to stabilize the country and began the journey to using its oil supply to strengthen the infrastructure in Azerbaijan and bring wealth to the country. Some are still concerned that Azerbaijan’s political future is not void of difficulty, although the current president, Ilham Aliyev, is using his experience in the oil industry, continuing in his father’s footsteps and bringing better living conditions to Azerbaijan’s people.

Azerbaijan has been able to grow its infrastructure so dramatically during the past ten years because of the oil market. With the increased profit and wealth coming into the country, President Aliyev is focussing on roads, railways and air transportation. During the last ten years, Azerbaijan has built more than 6,000 miles of road plus 300 bridges and restructured all main roads to make traveling between countries easier. As ground transportation improves and air travel becomes necessary, President Aliyev has also begun pushing for a focus on water portage as well.

Along with the improvements to transportation infrastructure, there have been significant improvements in many other areas, particularly regarding the internet. Azerbaijan has had expensive access, content blocking and slow speeds. While there are no real signs of transparency in what is monitored and blocked, there have been significant contributions to reducing the price and increasing the speed. In 2015, the government set down plans to improve the broadband infrastructure to give citizens faster and easier access.

Even with the improvements to many areas of infrastructure in Azerbaijan, it is still lacking in drinkable water. Gaining clean water for the whole country will be a long process, but the opening of Azersu’s Jeyranbatan ultrafiltration water purification facility in 2015 opened doors for clean water to become a staple. This complex’s focus is on some of the high population areas where lack of water has been an issue. Once Azerbaijan can find cheaper and simpler means of purifying water, then providing clean water to more rural areas will become easier.

Azerbaijan has invested billions into its infrastructure for transportation, internet, water and energy. As the infrastructure in Azerbaijan improves, so will its connection to the continents and its place in the world. Azerbaijan is on a path that will continue to improve its facilities and bring safe and reliable residences to citizens and visitors. Other countries will use their roads, rails and boats as a transit center, which will bring more wealth and jobs into the country. While there is much to look forward to, it will also be a trying time as many countries vie for dominance in using Azerbaijan as an increasingly important part of that North-South route that would link all of Europe to South Asia.

– Natasha Komen

Photo: Flickr

Infrastructure in St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Infrastructure in St. Vincent and the Grenadines has been a major focus of the government during the last few years. Given that the island is very susceptible to storms and other natural disasters, most of which are a result of climate change, building resistant infrastructure has become increasingly important. The nation has, however, been very successful in its development, particularly through the assistance of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).

By 2012, the CDB had provided around $287 million to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Most of the money was used to finance social and economic infrastructure. The government built disaster-resistant roads, schools and other structures, and invested in community training against natural disasters. These were all necessary projects to protect the nation against disasters that had previously caused massive issues.

Hurricanes and storms often caused damage that impacted the tourist and agricultural industries on the island — the two main ways citizens of the nation sustained themselves. In 2011, the World Bank provided $47 million to St. Vincent and the Grenadines for the Regional Disaster Vulnerability Reduction project. This project helped create disaster-resistant infrastructure for more than 200,000 people and has helped the nation greatly.

Additionally, school infrastructure has been greatly improved over the years. In 2016, teachers from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, among other countries, revealed the poor infrastructure of their school systems. A conference was held by the Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT) and pushed for a revision of the health and safety, as well as teaching standards, of Caribbean school systems. CUT also called for more climate-resistant facilities, so that weather conditions would not pose such an interruption to the classroom.

Better programs have been implemented, and training for teachers has become more comprehensive. All of this is with the hopes of providing a better education for children on the island and contributing to the overall development of the country. A better education for students in St. Vincent and the Grenadines also means greater economic mobility for them and their families, which has the potential to reduce poverty on the island.

Ultimately, infrastructure in St. Vincent and the Grenadines has been improving steadily, but with the rapid progression of climate change, it will need to ensure that structures on the island are sufficient. With aid from organizations like the Caribbean Development Bank and the World Bank, the island nation may be able to protect itself from further destruction.

– Liyanga De Silva

Photo: Flickr

Infrastructure in Kiribati: One Road's Impact on Half the Population

Kiribati is home to 108,000 residents, yet 50,000 depend on the country’s one main road—the South Tarawa Road. Tarawa is the densely populated capital of Kiribati, and the South Tarawa Road is the only main road in South Tarawa.

More than half of Kiribati’s population relies on the South Tarawa Road to connect the western Betio seaport, the eastern international airport and Bonriki. The road has not been rehabilitated since the 1970s, making it a dangerous route for travelers.

Heavy rain and increased traffic have caused large potholes to form, and travel along the road becomes particularly slow, uncomfortable and dangerous after rain. Tarawa has seen an increase in upper respiratory illnesses due to the excessive dust that collects along the road during Kiribati’s dry season.

The government has recognized the need to improve infrastructure in Kiribati by establishing the Kiribati Road Rehabilitation Project. The project involves the cooperation of Kiribati’s government, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Australian government.

The Kiribati Road Rehabilitation Project consists of three components:

  1. Infrastructure Improvements
    Includes civil works activities to be done on the South Tarawa Road and the reconstruction and rehabilitation of paved roads.
  2. Road Sector Reform
    Includes maintenance of activities to strengthen the road sector and sustainable main road infrastructure in Kiribati.
  3. Project Support
    Includes establishment of a project management team, associated operating costs, a valuation specialist and project account audits.

The project has rehabilitated over 32 kilometers of the South Tarawa Road and upgraded six kilometers of secondary roads. Improved drainage, solar street lighting and road signage have been added to the road. Footpaths and pavement markings have also been installed to increase pedestrian safety.

Improved road infrastructure in Kiribati increases safety and reduces costs for drivers and pedestrians. Kiribati’s government aims to ensure that the road will last by supporting routine maintenance through local contractors. The local contractors will be trained to clean the drainage system, clear the roadway, fill potholes on unsealed roads, report potholes on sealed roads and maintain signage.

The Kiribati Road Rehabilitation Project is the largest economic infrastructure investment in the country since World War II. Its projected completion date is June 30, 2018. The completion of the upgrades will go a long way towards improving the daily lives of Kiribati’s people.

– Carolyn Gibson

Photo: Flickr

The Need for Investment in Infrastructure in Moldova
Development of infrastructure in Moldova has progressed significantly since 1999 — a year in which the International Telecommunication Union reported that even the most basic telecommunications services were unavailable and the population was largely disconnected. Since this tumultuous time, Moldova’s national telecom, Moldtelecom, has upgraded to fiber-optic technology and a digital switch system through a $10 million investment from Denmark’s Great Northern Telegraph (GNT).

Telecommunications

Moldova’s telecommunications network has surpassed many western countries including Germany, Great Britain and even the United States (as far as in their internet connection). The company also installed land-lines and a consistent mobile service across the entire country; these measures are a stark contrast to 1997, when Moldtelecom had 15 lines per 100 people and practically no cell service with a rate of just 0.3 percent.

Improving infrastructure in Moldova requires greater focus on its road network, electricity and the procurement of investments for further development. Moldova’s railroads haven’t been upgraded since the Soviets built them; in fact, they haven’t been electrified, and thermal deformation during the summertime acts limited speed and load weight on the railroads.

Road Network

However, the road network in Moldova is of far greater concern. In 2006, only 7 percent of Moldova’s road network was proclaimed safe and of satisfactory quality. As the 21st century has progressed, Moldova’s winters have become warmer and wetter, leading to muddy and impassable roads. If these worsening weather conditions continue, Moldova’s rural communities will be cut off from the inner city areas of the country during the winter and rainy seasons.

Electricity

Moldova’s electrical supply is a key factor in improving the deficits in infrastructure in Moldova. Unfortunately, 61 percent of energy imports is gas and relies on Russia for much of this supply. Due to missed payments and bills stacking up, Moldova’s gas supply and their electricity are often cut off.

Investment

The main source of these failing aspects of infrastructure in Moldova comes to a simple lack of investments. The country doesn’t have the money or resources to spend on improving its infrastructure. As of November 2017, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has agreed to work with authorities on creating sustainable practices in infrastructure development in Moldova. They plan to support modernization of its roads and railways and encourage transparency in policy.

According to Dimitri Gvindadze, Head of the EBRD’s office in Chisinau, “The new strategy gives a fresh impetus to our engagement in Moldova. Combining financial investment with policy engagement, the EBRD is perfectly placed to make a real impact in Moldova. Our focus is on the establishment of a sound, transparent and modern financial sector that works for the people and the companies of Moldova.”

This response is promising for the future state of infrastructure in Moldova, and only time will tell if the improvement that has taken place in the country thus far will continue.

– Kayla Rafkin

Photo: Flickr

5 Development Projects in SyriaSyria, home to many diverse ethnic and religious groups, is a country that has lost hundreds of thousands of lives to war and violence. Because of this crisis, millions of people are displaced and in need of humanitarian assistance, and development projects in Syria aim to address this need.

Like many countries in the world, Syria is fighting extreme poverty. According to the United Nations Development Programme, four out of five Syrians live in poverty and 64.7 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty. The Arab region is the only region in the world where poverty has increased since 2010, rising from 28 percent in 2010 to 83.4 percent in 2015.

Here is a list of five development projects in Syria that may help relieve the nation’s citizens.

  1. Switzerland donates ambulances to Syria’s suffering population
    Switzerland financed twelve new ambulances to help the people of Syria facing the consequences of the war. Syria was in need of more ambulances as a result of the devastatingly high number of victims caused by the war, including attacks against hospitals. The vehicles were purchased through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Dubai. This project was completed in 2017.
  2. Contribution to UNRWA’s Programme Budget 2017-2020
    The United Nations Relief and Works Agency is one of Switzerland’s key multilateral partners in the Middle East, addressing all kinds of humanitarian aid needs, including medical services, education, emergency assistance, healthcare and more. With more funds contributed to its budget, it has been able to work toward universal access to quality primary health care, basic education, relief and social services to refugees in need. This is an ongoing project expected to be completed by 2020.
  3. Swiss experts to U.N. agencies in the frame of the regional crises in the Middle East
    Through this completed project, experts from Switzerland were able to provide technical support and advice. The experts accounted for the provision of shelter in camps and noncamp settings for vulnerable displaced persons; for a multisector and multistakeholder strategy for cash-based response for IDPs, refugees and host communities; for the protection of the most vulnerable population, including children and youth; advice and strategic planning on activities in the domain of water; and support to the coordination of humanitarian interventions within the U.N. agencies and national/international actors.
  4. Contribution to UNRWA’s General Fund 2016
    Contributions to UNRWA’s 2016 General Fund allows for the sustaining of the agency’s humanitarian and human development programs, servicing over five million Palestine refugees and contributing to peace and stability in the Middle East. This completed project targeted Palestinian refugees living in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the occupied Palestinian territory. Results included financial support enabling various programs in health and education, and management reforms including resource mobilization, ERP and more.
  5. UNDP- Livelihoods Restoration in Crisis- Affected Communities in Syria
    This completed two-year project worked on restoration interventions in Rural Damascus, Horns, Tartous and Latakia. The project created local economic opportunities and restored critical community infrastructure and services, improving access to hygiene and other basic needs.

These committed development projects in Syria leave marks of improvement and hope in a nation that has been ravaged by violence and poverty for far too long.

Julia Lee

Photo: Flickr

5 Development Projects in KosovoDespite turbulence in the past, Kosovo is undergoing rapid economic development at present. However, this is not distributed evenly across all populations and parts of the country. However, there are numerous development projects in Kosovo working to change that. These five promise to make a major difference.

USAID Engagement for Equity

This program works to support local civil society groups in developing policies to promote greater equity for marginalized groups and communities in Kosovo. This project has had a broad reach and has made especially notable improvements in gender equity. Kosovo has relatively strong protections for women on the books, but few women are aware of their rights and often have difficulty taking advantage of them because of the patriarchal culture in Kosovo that is common in many Balkan societies. This problem is especially pronounced when it comes to property rights, as women traditionally did not own or inherit property.

USAID recently worked with Kosova Women 4 Women to organize a class that taught women what their rights are and how to exercise them. While this seems small, this is an example of development projects in Kosovo that have a much broader reach than they seem. Women who have property in their names or register property jointly with their husbands have a much easier time accessing credit, which helps them to start small businesses, promoting the growth of the entire economy as well as greater financial security for women.

LuxDev Health Sector Support Programme

Luxembourg has been a major donor to Kosovo’s health sector for many years and has contributed to many successful projects. This latest project is expected to be completed in 2019 and will build on the successes of previous projects. Its goals primarily center around improving institutional capacity and management to ensure full implementation of previous achievements, as well as increasing access to and affordability of care.

InTerDev 2

InTerDev 2 is the latest in a series of projects supported by the UNDP to reduce economic insecurity, particularly in southern Kosovo and among minorities and women. Its primary goals are to bring down the high unemployment rate, address underemployment and precarious employment, improve public services, and end the socioeconomic exclusion of women and minority groups. The plan is to do this by expanding the capacity of municipalities and local actors, especially in rural areas, to assist underserved populations, supporting small and medium-sized business owners who wish to modernize and expand and by promoting job growth at the local level.

Kosovo Safety and Security Project

This comprehensive approach to security, spearheaded by the U.N. but also supported by several EU member states, seeks to improve security in Kosovo by focusing on small arms control, countering violent extremism, and improvements in policing. Recent years have seen multiple development projects in Kosovo focus on addressing violent crime and cracking down on the illegal trade and possession of small firearms and explosive materials. The Safety and Security Project seeks to build on best practices learned from these projects to strengthen and empower Kosovo’s law enforcement agencies. Another effect of this project will be to bring Kosovo into compliance with EU regulations regarding firearms, helping to put Kosovo on a more equal footing with its neighbors. It is also hoped that the root causes of illegal weapons possession can be mitigated, helping to make Kosovo safer.

Institutional and Technical Support for the Water Supply System

This project is a follow-up to the 2016 project of the same name, both organized by Luxembourg. The 2016 project saw the creation of the Mitrovica Regional Water Company and supporting infrastructure. The current project aims to strengthen the management and customer service capabilities of the company and enable it to run more efficiently from a business standpoint. This comes as other development projects in Kosovo are also working to strengthen and support private sector activity. Also included in the current project are the use of satellite imagery to identify leaks and the replacement of some aging infrastructure to make the water supply system more efficient and more environmentally friendly by reducing the amount of water wasted as a result of leaks.

These projects all promise to jump-start economic development in Kosovo and lift people out of poverty. They will all have a major impact on quality of life and some even promise to help calm the lingering tensions in Kosovo as a result of the conflict. Improved economic conditions and stronger legal frameworks will also make major strides towards rectifying the ongoing issues surrounding property ownership. Once this is resolved, the credit access problem in Kosovo will also become much more manageable. Taken together, these improvements promise to strengthen Kosovo’s economy and bring down the poverty rate, which is good for everyone.

– Michaela Downey

Photo: Flickr

5 Development Projects in Azerbaijan

Over the past two decades, Azerbaijan has transitioned from a struggling young democracy to a major powerhouse in the South Caucasus region. This transition was precipitated largely by capitalizing on increased revenues from oil and natural gas. That being said, poverty is still an issue in Azerbaijan.

Fortunately, there are a number of development projects in Azerbaijan that are currently underway and promise to improve circumstances for many Azerbaijanis. Here is a look at five of them, some completed and some still underway.

  1. Highway Three
    Many development projects in Azerbaijan have focused on infrastructure. However, not all of this new infrastructure has been accessible to all Azerbaijanis. Highway Three and projects like it, which are being financed in part by the World Bank, aim to rectify this gap by creating a fledgling interstate system that better connects all parts of the country.
    Highway Three is notable because, in addition to connecting two of Azerbaijan’s largest cities, the highway and its offshoots will also serve rural areas. The project is being done in conjunction with efforts to modernize Azerbaijan’s existing highways and bring them up to international standards.
  2. A new medical clinic in Kamalli
    Working together with the Azerbaijani government, USAID has just finished helping to replace an aging one-room clinic with a more spacious and better-equipped facility in the rural community of Kamalli. The clinic opened in October 2017, and is expected to serve over 2,000 people from Kamalli and other neighboring communities in the rural province of Saatli. Similar development projects in Azerbaijan in recent years have made a significant dent in morbidity and mortality rates.
  3. Water supply improvements in Shahsevan-Tazakend
    Also in October, residents of Shahsevan-Tazakend, with the assistance of the Azerbaijani government and USAID, installed almost a kilometer of new pipes and two new water storage tanks. These new installations are meant to alleviate the repeated chronic water shortages that this area has been experiencing in recent years, in addition to eliminating the need to walk long distances to collect water each day for the 800 members of this community. This project is typical of the numerous other development projects in Azerbaijan that have helped to improve living conditions for over 150,000 people.
  4. A new agrobiodiversity preservation project
    In February 2017, Azerbaijan and the UNDP launched a new initiative focused on preserving Azerbaijan’s agrobiodiversity as a part of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals. The project will run for five years and will target the regions of Shaki, Goranboy and Goychay.
    The Azerbaijani government spearheaded the design of the project, which will receive support from the U.N. and focuses on protecting native crops and encouraging their use in commercial farming. The project also aims to promote research and development on native crops and increase market access for small farmers who grow native crops.
    Like many other development projects in Azerbaijan, this was designed with an eye on the future and hopes to promote resilience and productivity in agriculture in the face of climate change, as Azerbaijan also works to reduce its dependence on oil and natural gas as a revenue source.
  5. The National Innovation Contest
    The U.N. sponsored a contest for young scientists and entrepreneurs to put forth their best ideas for helping Azerbaijan accelerate its progress toward meeting the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. The ideas may potentially be used to inspire future development projects in Azerbaijan.
    This is the latest in a series of efforts to support research and development for similar concepts. The awards for the contest were presented in a ceremony on December 21, 2017. The winners included projects focusing on improving credit access and access to the legal system, as well as projects focused on alternative fuel sources.

In addition to major improvements in quality of life and major reductions in poverty, these development projects in Azerbaijan all promise to help the country transition to a greener economy and reduce its dependence on fossil fuels as a revenue source. In doing so, these projects will also improve the health outcomes for all Azerbaijani people and help more citizens make a living in sustainable ways. These projects make Azerbaijan an excellent example of how supporting sustainability efforts can also improve health and help to diversify a growing economy.

– Michaela Downey

Photo: Flickr

Development Projects in NigerNiger is a landlocked country in Western Africa. Despite receiving aid from foreign entities, it remains one of the poorest countries in the world. These five development projects in Niger work to address several of the root problems contributing to poverty and instability in the country.

Niger Solar Electricity Access Project (NESAP)

With an average of only 14.3 percent of its population having access to electricity, Niger remains among the least “electrified” countries in the world. However, in 2017, the World Bank approved the sponsorship of the Niger Solar Electricity Access Project (NESAP).

This project is designed to increase solar energy access to rural and peri-urban areas, where access to electricity drops to 5.4 percent. It consists of four components: market development and research, rural electrification, solar hybridization and access expansion and technical assistance and implementation support.

Resilience in the Sahel Enhanced (RISE) Initiative

RISE consists of a number of humanitarian programs by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) that focus on food security, nutrition and sanitation. It also includes programs designed for the health of women and small children, combatting malnutrition and monitoring compliance to health-related legislation.

National Malaria Control Program (NMCP)

As of 2013, malaria affected 32 percent of the population, and it remains the leading cause of death for Nigeriens. NMCP works to combat malaria by establishing a stable supply chain committee. Furthermore, it improves the availability of commodities and the overall performance of malaria prevention efforts.

Niger’s National Education and Training Sector Program

The government of Niger launched a 10-year program expanding into 2024 that tackles the prominent education issue in the country. Currently, the 30 percent literacy rate in the country highlights a need for increased access and quality of education. USAID has also partnered with the Nigerien government to assist with development projects in Niger.

These projects are aimed at raising the quality of education, especially for females, who suffer from the 18 percent gender gap in school enrollment. The program focuses on building community efforts toward education and active parental involvement. It also works to build a reading culture to increase the literacy rate and knowledge retention.

Water Mobilization Project to Enhance Food Security in Maradi, Tahoua and Zinder Regions (PMERSA-MTZ)

PMERSA-MTZ, funded by the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP), aims primarily to build water collection and mobilization infrastructure. It also attempts to strengthen activities that benefit farmers and herders.

Since 2011, it has successfully built wells, thresholds, dams, ponds, boreholes, water banks, dikes, ravines and more. It also continues to train experts and livestock assistants to build capacity for production. Among its other initiatives, the PMERSA-MTZ continues to promote income-generating activities for Nigeriens and contribute to environmental protection and soil conservation efforts in the region.

These active development projects in Niger have consequently improved the quality of life for the country’s population. By working toward minimizing the root causes of poverty in Niger, these programs can boost the development of the country and its citizens’ ability to sustain themselves.

– Francesca Colella

Photo: Flickr