20 Jun 2014

Something different: working with UNDP in Thailand

By Glen

We’ve been working with UNDP in Central and Eastern Europe for the past few years under our parent organisation the Social Innovation Camp. They’ve come up with a Toolkit for Troublemakers which has been making the rounds of UNDP for the past while, and our sister organisation SICamp Asia did some work with UNDP last year in the Asia-Pacific region.

Last week, Glen went to Thailand to talk at and participate in the first regional conference on corruption, accountability, and transparency for UNDP Asia-Pacific.

The conference offered a chance for UNDP offices and partners to express interest in getting funding for anti-corruption initiatives in the region, focussing on either new initiatives or scaling up existing initiatives.

This is a pretty big deal for UNDP: lots of traditional aid projects have either focussed on very large initiatives or small pilots that are then scaled from 2-3 examples to dozens, if not hundreds.

As always, we were really impressed by the quality and passion of the people working on UNDP projects: they are clever and motivated by creating an impact in the world, and often working in some of the most challenging places on the planet.

Entrepreneurs in developing countries face all the challenges of entrepreneurs anywhere, but often these challenges are amplified significantly, and this applies to intrapreneurs as well as entrepreneurs.

There were fourteen expressions of interest, and we had US$150,000 to give to three initiatives – after the presentations, the judges scrambled and found an extra $50,000. Here are a few of the projects that got funded:

UNDP Pakistan US$50,000

Pakistan has a freedom of information law, but little elected local representation. The UNDP country office is going to create local accountability boards to engage with communities and local governments.

UNDP Philippines US$50,000

The country office in Philippines will create and supporting citizen empowerment hubs: groups of women who will come together for disaster preparedness training, while increasing partnerships with local authorities so that women become more visible in local decision-making, including budget planning for disaster risk reduction.

UNDP Thailand US$25,000

The local office has been running anticorruption camps and campaigns for a number of years, and now want to create student cafés to let their existing networks spread their anti corruption training across universities. The UNDP money will be to help expand more quickly across borders.

UNDP China US$25,000

UNDP China have run a small number of youth innovation laboratories – a bit like a Social Innovation Camp – and they want to build a better breed of follow-on support for a national student design competition on innovative anti-corruption plans to curb the spread of corruption in the higher education sector.

UNDP Indonesia US$25,000

This money is for the local UNDP office to engage with the government and private sector to design a computerised tracking system for mining, oil, and gas permits, identifying the capacities and resources needed to reduce corruption strategically.

UNDP Vietnam US$25,000

The local UNDP offices in Vietnam are going to work to bring together a package of support for civil society organisations, and specifically helping them create and execute media strategies to enforce national, regional, and local government transparency and accountability.

We’re happy to help see these and other exciting initiatives from SICamp Asia move forward – and we’re always up for another trip to Bangkok. There are more details as well as a video of the three-day conference up on the UNDP APAC blog post.