Innovation for Peace and Development

What is the project about


The rapidly changing technological landscape of today’s world allows us to not only access information and expertise at breathtaking speeds but also creates opportunities for transparent and efficient ways of solving today’s challenges. Based on 15 years of experience UNDP-ACT has devised an innovation portfolio to promote new ways of supporting peace, reconciliation and civic engagement in Cyprus and within the wider Euro Mediterranean region.


Mahallae is a digital headquarters to exchange knowledge and experience in civic engagement, social cohesion, and the creation of a peaceful society. Mahallae, based on a word meaning “neighbourhood” in Arabic, Greek, and Turkish, is designed to showcase not only the Cypriot experience, but also the experience of other international actors working to advance civic engagement and reconciliation in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

Mahallae is designed for use by not only NGO practitioners, researchers and businesses but also the every day citizen. Rooted in the perspective that empowering citizens to contribute their unique perspectives and expertise will open up spaces for transforming today’s conflicts and challenges, Mahallae is an ambitious yet thorough innovation platform designed around 3 main spaces.

1. Civic Mapping: Mahallae is structured around a timeline of Cypriot peace-building experiences. The data, visualized through an interactive map, is kept alive through crowdsourcing. Mahallae also features a dynamic networking and collaboration space that includes a roster of experts and a toolkit for online project formulation, consultations, and collaborations that can rapidly respond to needs and issues that emerge in the region.

2. Challenges: Solutions to “usual” problems facing our communities may be found in “unusual” places. Mahallae harnesses the power of technology to formulate new, more effective and transparent ways of solving community challenges. Every so often, a new Mahallae Challenge is announced, inviting individuals, organizations and businesses to come together and publicly collaborate to solve these challenges using the power of technology and innovation. The progress of the winning solutions can be viewed online, as part of the Mahallae platform as well.

3. Interactive Tools: Mahallae hosts a palette of interactive tools that not only showcase the work of Cypriot civil society in new and compelling ways but also act as calling cards to building knowledge partnerships with civil society counterparts in the European neighbourhood. These are winning ideas from previous Mahallae Challenges and Innovation Funds, which successfully reached out to a number of collaborators in order to ensure that the Mahallae platform was built in collaboration with a much broader partner base. These interactive tools are:

* Nicosia is Calling, developed by the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research: Online game aimed at 8-14 year-olds from all multicultural backgrounds based around learning about the walled city of Nicosia.

* SharedWor(!)ds, developed by Language Bridge: The product is an online game, centring on learning through the use of cultural and linguistic references to the common words between Greek and Turkish.

* The Anatomy of Peace developed by Peace Players International Cyprus: A Video Manual made up of a series of five training videos, each illustrating a different aspect of the Anatomy of Peace curriculum, connecting sports and peace, told through the eyes of Olivia and her friends.

* Digi Mediation Wisdom, developed by the Mediation Association/Bi-communal Trainers Group: An online platform which uses video of mediators and trainers in Cyprus to share their experiences in mediation and conflict resolution. The platform includes a feature to crowdsource videos and stories from mediators/trainers from around the world. The aim is to build an online community of practice of peace builders who can learn from and support each other and build knowledge partnerships.

* Collaborating into the future, developed by the Management Centre and NGO-SC: This interactive video webinar presents the collaboration model between the two organizations. A series of videos are based on the experiences of the directors of the Centers and other individuals involved in peace building efforts as far back as the early 90’s. The tool also includes an interactive checklist and downloadable presentations.

* Youth Power Line, developed by Youth Power: A collection of videos on entrepreneurship skills for young people. The tool provides the end user with the knowledge and tools to embark on a journey of self discovery and social entrepreneurship.

* The CCMC Story, developed by the Cyprus Community Media Centre: An infographic and interactive timeline telling the story of the emergence and impact of community media in Cyprus.

What have we accomplished so far

Mahallae Output: Mahallae digital platform established as the centre of gravity for peace innovation activities for civil society organisations working in countries of the Eastern Mediterranean.

The first 3 Mahallae Challenges, under the thematic areas of Youth Enterpreneurship, Women and Dialogue, and Building a Common Vision for the Future have been implemented.

The five winning innovative ideas are:

1. i-Vee - a mobile game for encouraging volunteerism.

2. YuBiz - an online platform to help young entrepreneurs kick-start their business.

3. WE-ME - a mentorship platform and mobile app for women.

4. Socialholic Typewriter - a collaborative storytelling platform for micro-fiction.

5. Hands on Famagusta - a hybrid platform for developing a future vision for the Famagusta region.

The progress of these winning ideas can now be watched live at the links provided above.

Stay tuned for more (OR: Upcoming Events)

Build Peace

Build Peace aims to explore how technology can enhance the impact of a broad range of peacebuilding, social cohesion and peace advocacy initiatives. It brings together the expertise of academics and technologists and on the lived experience of practitioners working to transform conflict around the world. The first conference took place in Boston, MA in 2014. The conference will take place in Nicosia in April 2015, with the support of UNDP ACT in Cyprus.

Nicosia is at the crossroads of Europe and the Middle East. It is also the last divided capital city in the world. This is why we look forward to hosting the conference in Nicosia in 2015; Nicosia not only provides rich ground for discussion, but also issues a collective challenge. We can imagine building peace with technology in a plexiglass building at a high-tech university. But do our ideas stand up in a building, a city and a region steeped in decades of complex conflict and with much greater economic challenges?

Learn more about and take part in the Build Peace conference here.

Social Cohesion and Reconciliation Index (SCORE)

The Social Cohesion and Reconciliation Index (SCORE) was developed under the previous phase of the ACT programme. SCORE is a statistical modelling tool which allows users to be able to identify the trends which either strengthen or undermine social cohesion, combined with a capacity to measure a society’s likelihood to move towards reconciliation. By applying statistical techniques such as structural equation modelling and fuzzy cognitive mapping, the tool can also help decision-makers to navigate policy through periods of socio-political and economic transition, having both a predictive and prescriptive capacity, which is grounded in a robust evidence-based methodology. You may see more information related to SCORE here.

Who finances it?

Donor Funding
USAID 473,162 EURO


168,000 EURO

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