Development Stories 6
In our first issue of 2014 we take a look at the inspiring progress being made by a young entrepreneur since completing the Self-Employment Programme—a success story that reflects how the thousands of businesses started up through the Programme are now generating further employment opportunities. It is highly encouraging that more than 70 per cent of the new companies created over the past five years are still in business today. Moreover, nearly one-third of them are headed by women who were previously unemployed and another 31 per cent by young people under the age of 29.
The start of a new year is a good time to take stock of progress achieved and to identify challenges ahead—and this is the aim of a new in-depth study of the country’s process of decentralization. This latest research shows that while significant progress has been made in the legal and institutional framework for devolving responsibilities to local government, many municipalities—especially the smaller municipalities in rural areas—are still struggling to develop the capacity for improving the quality, outreach and efficiency of many public services.
Last year saw a number of breakthroughs in UNDP’s efforts to promote environmental sustainability, especially through the major project for the restoration of Lake Prespa. Development Stories catches up on the latest success of this project—the opening of the country’s first central composting plant. Now up and running, the new composting plant addresses the problem of organic waste disposal at the same time as providing a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to the harmful use of chemical fertilizers. By providing a new marketable product and job opportunities, moreover, the plant is improving the lives of local people while helping to protect the valuable and vulnerable ecosystem of Lake Prespa.