Op-ed: “Are you ready to join in the global challenge on women’s rights by innovating locally?”“Think equal, build smart, innovate for change”. What does this mean to us on the 8th March this year? I would like to share my thoughts on this and how UN Women Moldova’s team is approaching this in our work. We live in the reality of the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world and the need to achieve greater change in the development is highly urgent today.
There are evidences that a better and a brighter future depends on the openness and curiosity at the individual, institutional and community levels to the new and emerging unknowns around us.
It is also evident that the development efforts can only succeed to advancing gender equality and women’s rights, if the partnership manages to tap into emerging new knowledge that comes from within women themselves and their allies through experimentation process. It is also clear that organizations like UN Women must embrace this call on top of its traditional approaches.
In this respect, UN Women Moldova team embarked on a deliberate innovation journey since 2016. As the youngest agency in the UN system, we are acting and contributing based on our partners and sister agencies’ past and current experiences and lessons. We are often approached with the question: “What do you mean by innovation, specifically in regard to women’s rights?”
I would like to refer to the definition of social innovation, proposed by innovation scholars Edwards-Schachter and Wallace (2017), that innovation is “a collective process of learning that involves the distinctive participation of civil society actors aimed to solve a societal need through change in social practices that produce change in social relationships, systems, and structures, contributing to large socio-technical change.” Thus, for us it means the new ways of approaching the change that is led by women from Moldova through their life experiences and solutions for greater equity, which directly benefits the entire society. For women, this means a greater voice and a space to drive change from within themselves.
Our desire to act differently is based on the realization and full acknowledgment of the importance and the actual potentials that brings. The UN’s data shows that innovative initiatives lead to the increase in development effectiveness by at least 30 percent. Moreover, there are evidences that the UN programs are 65 percent more likely to involve young women and men in the design of solutions to problems they identify in their communities.
We are keeping testing new ways of working in Moldova in promoting women in politics, peace, security, and economy, and eliminating violence against women. So far, we have obtained unique results, thanks to the active engagement of women from different domains, including from disadvantaged and left behind communities. In this way, we strongly believe that the results we are contributing to bring a qualitatively higher value with and for all the women we serve in every corner of Moldova.
Using this opportunity, I would like to invite you to join in the global challenge by continuing practicing your openness, so that more women and men can share their solutions for the greater realization of women’s rights and gender equality in Moldova and a wider world.
By Ulziisuren Jamsran, Representative, UN Women Moldova