New globally-recognized digital public goods to emerge in Kazakhstan

Nazarbayev University Innovation Cluster and UNICEF announced the launch of a joint project on the development of digital public goods

24 February 2023
NURIS and UNICEF launched joint project on DPG
UNICEF/2023/NadiraYessetova

ASTANA, February 24, 2023 – Today, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Nazarbayev University Innovation Cluster (NURIS) launched their first joint project in Astana. Through the project, UNICEF and NURIS will support the development of and invest in new digital public goods (DPGs) and open-source IT products compliant with the Digital Public Goods Alliance’s (DPGA) global standards as approved by the United Nations Secretary-General. Young Kazakhstani developers and startups will be involved in running the project.

To be granted DPG status, the IT product must pass a DPGA verification approved by the United Nations. If successfully verified, the Kazakhstani startup will be added to the DGPA global registry, accessible worldwide. Recognition as a DPG raises the visibility, support, and publicity of open-source projects that have the potential to address global issues. To become a DPG, all projects must meet DPG standards, which ensure that projects abide by open-source code principles.

The DGPA registry operates on the ‘one-stop shop’ principle, giving users access to open digital technologies, including applications, data visualization tools, and educational programs, with minimum requirements to freely adapt and use these technologies to accelerate Sustainable Development Goals. Therefore, the registry not only raises the visibility of Kazakhstani digital products but also gives local Kazakhstani users access to worldwide developments.

DPG projects are of great social importance. The Accessible Kazakhstan website and app, which displays the accessibility features of public facilities for people with limited mobility and those requiring tailored assistance, was the first project in Central Asia to obtain DPG status. The Ozim Platform mobile app for parents, featuring helpful information about early childhood development, from tutorial video clips to contact information for service providers, is yet another Kazakhstani project nominated for DPG status. Further, the Ozim Platform aids families raising children with developmental disabilities since it also contains materials on early intervention.

Noted Tatiana Aderikhina, UNICEF Kazakhstan Education Specialist:

We see tremendous potential for the use of DPG in the education sector as well as to promote DGP thinking and support young developers and startups in Kazakhstan. The use of already-developed open-source solutions for the implementation of socially significant projects may substantially cut down costs and hasten the realisation process. At the same time, recognition of Kazakhstani products as DPGs will enable global access to the products and open new prospects for Kazakhstani developers. DPG candidates often face difficulties profiling, gamifying, and monetizing digital solutions while making them accessible. As such, we are very pleased that NURIS has joined the DPG movement, and we can now join efforts to make sure that every child has access to digital goods in Kazakhstan.

As part of the project launch, participants presented the findings of UNICEF’s study to identify needs in Kazakhstan addressable through DPGs. High-priority areas identified included the following: digital economy and innovation, employment and skills development, education and early childhood development, inclusion and accessibility for people with disabilities, digital healthcare services, and children’s online safety. Meanwhile, the study revealed a virtually universal lack of alternative digital access options for people with visual and hearing impairments to key Kazakhstani platforms. The study also identified the potential for obtaining DPG status for 12 of the 516 Kazakhstani startups reviewed.

"NURIS is a recognised 'workforce forge' for many domestic startups and has the necessary expertise to generate new DPG ideas and launch IT solutions. We are, therefore, pleased to be implementing the DPG project together with UNICEF. This partnership shows that, in order to improve the quality of digital public goods, there is a need for collaboration between all stakeholders: government agencies, businesses, public and international organisations, and the startups themselves. This workshop is a starting point for the development of new DPG products on the NURIS platform. I wish success and good luck to our start-ups!" commented Aydar Beksultanovich Zhakupov, General Director of NURIS.

The event, hosted by Nazarbayev University, brought together representatives of state corporation ‘Government for Citizens’; the Ministry of Education; the Ministry of Digital Development; the Ministry of Innovations and Aerospace Industry; the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection; the Ministry of Health; and international and public organizations, foundations, universities, business associations, and SMEs among other partners.

Education partners will recommend digital public goods developed pursuant to the UNICEF–NURIS joint project for use in the education system to expand schoolchildren’s access to IT solutions and build their programming skills.

Notes for editors

The Digital Public Goods Alliance is a multi-stakeholder initiative endorsed by the UN Secretary-General that seeks to speed up the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in low- and middle-income countries through the facilitation of the discovery, development, use, and investment in digital public goods.

The DPG Standard represents a set of specifications and guidance documents developed to reach the maximum consensus on whether something complies with the definition of digital public goods outlined by the UN Secretary-General in the 2020 Roadmap for Digital Cooperation.

Please contact hello@digitalpublicgoods.net to learn more information about the Digital Public Goods Alliance.

Media contacts

Elvira Yausheva
Communication Specialist
UNICEF
Tel: +7 778 021 19 12

About UNICEF

UNICEF works to ensure the rights and well-being of every child. Together with its partners, UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information on UNICEF's work, visit www.unicef.org. Subscribe to our InstagramFacebook and Twitter accounts.