Start-up from Kazakhstan recognised as the first Digital Public Good in Central Asia
UNICEF - Astana Hub joint project on exclusive UN list for open source digital goods
NUR-SULTAN, April 29, 2022 - Today, an online educational program for primary and secondary school teachers and successful start-up projects that contribute to ensuring equal access to education and infrastructure were presented at the site of the international techno park of IT start-ups Astana Hub as part of Demo Day.
One of the projects was the Accessible Kazakhstan website and app, a participant in the Astana Hub accelerator, which shows the accessibility of public facilities for people with limited mobility and people with special needs. The globally recognised digital public good was born back in 2015, when the Tandau Foundation team initiated a project called Accessible Pavlodar. As a result, Pavlodar residents got a map where, by clicking on an object, one could find out how accessible it is for people with disabilities. In 2016, the initiative covered the entire Pavlodar region. And the following year, the Almaty region joined the project, transforming it into "Accessible Kazakhstan". With the support of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and Astana Hub, today the project brings together 15 public organisations and 500 volunteers across the country, and the map https://doskaz.kz/ contains information on the availability of 21,737 places in 22 cities of Kazakhstan.
App users can use the service for people with mobility disabilities and people with special needs (and these are people with disabilities, parents with small children in wheelchairs, the elderly, pregnant, temporarily injured people, children under 7 years old) and plan the most accessible and safe route, and also find out how accessible and safe to visit the selected object is.
Accessible Kazakhstan has been reviewed by the Digital Public Goods Alliance (DPGA) and has been added to the Digital Public Goods Alliance DPG Registry open to the world. Being recognised as a DPG increases the visibility, support for, and prominence of open projects that have the potential to tackle global challenges. To become a digital public good, all projects are required to meet the DPG Standard to ensure that projects truly encapsulate open source principles. The registry operates on the principle of a "one stop shop" that gives access to open digital technologies: apps, data visualisation tools, educational curricula, with minimal restrictions on how they can be distributed, adapted, and reused to accelerate achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
“We are very pleased that the first Digital Public Good in Central Asia is a project from Kazakhstan. "Accessible Kazakhstan" pursues an extremely important goal - to provide a barrier-free environment for everyone, regardless of needs and opportunities. The project does not only map objects, but it also brings together a large team of like-minded people and promotes an accessible and safe environment for children and people with disabilities. Any organization can contact the Tandau Foundation and get the necessary advice on how to create an accessible, safe and friendly infrastructure at their facility,” - said Laetitia Bazzi-Veil, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Kazakhstan.
Another joint project of UNICEF and Astana Hub was an online course for teachers on inclusive blended education, launched on the platform https://okoo.kz/ According to a survey conducted by UNICEF and Astana Hub in 2021, only four out of ten (40%) of the teachers surveyed have a general idea of what inclusive education is. At the same time, the vast majority (73%) of the teachers who took part in the survey said they would like to increase their knowledge about inclusive education. At least one in five (27%) teachers believe that they do not have enough knowledge and skills to fully use the functions of programs and applications that are applicable in distance learning. To improve the knowledge and skills of teachers in the field of inclusive and blended education, UNICEF, together with the Astana Hub, conducted a digital inclusive education course and trained more than 11,000 teachers from 11 regions of Kazakhstan. During the course, teachers enriched their knowledge and methods of identifying children with special educational needs, learned about new techniques for creating an inclusive environment at school, empathy skills and working with online learning tools. Currently, the online course is available at https://okoo.kz/ for self-study by teachers.
“The use of IT technologies today not only increases the accessibility of education for children with special needs, but also makes the learning process more interactive, vivid and exciting, and therefore of high quality. In December 2021, Astana Hub and UNICEF Kazakhstan launched a teacher training program, and we are ready to announce the first results. It is important for us that teachers throughout the country use teaching tools that, on the one hand, are simple and easy to use, and, on the other hand, affect the real interest of children. This is how, in our opinion, modern technologies in education should be presented, facilitating the process of its accessibility to everyone”, - said Magzhan Madiyev, Astana Hub CEO.
Notes for Editors
The Digital Public Goods Alliance is a multi-stakeholder initiative endorsed by the United Nations Secretary-General, working to accelerate the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals in low- and middle-income countries by facilitating the discovery, development, use of, and investment in digital public goods.
The Digital Public Goods Standard is a set of specifications and guidelines designed to maximise consensus about whether something conforms to the definition of digital public goods laid out by the UN Secretary-General in the 2020 Roadmap to Digital Cooperation.
For more information on the Digital Public Goods Alliance please reach out to email@example.com.
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 Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts.