Dushanbe held a hackathon – a coding marathon during which 15 young and active citizens of the capital created an internet platform to quickly and easily access state services, and improve public transportation services and involvement of citizens in city life. The event was organized in the framework of the Year of Youth. It was held by the Club of Young Businessmen and Open Society Institute – Cooperation Fund in Tajikistan.
The hackathon was held over the course of 10 days, and its purpose was to improve access of the people living in Dushanbe to open sources of information. Interestingly, the prize fund was almost 20 thousand somoni (over $2000).
The purpose of holding such an event was to design a publicly important product that was necessary for social development. We stated a problem to the participants to create a platform that will help the citizens to easily and simply resolve their daily issues, and additionally become active participants in the city,” shared Masrur Ishanov, Manager of IT development Club of Young Businessmen.
The hackathon turned out exactly the way it was designed by the event organizers: applicable websites and mobile applications were designed.
While there were 50 requests for participation, only 15 people participated. Participants represented different professions: designers, managers, teachers, civil activists and even school students.
According to Sulaimon Kurbonov, deputy head of the Club of Young Businessmen, the main idea was to bring together young people and create something useful for society and the country. During the first stage, participants split into three teams and chose what direction they would work in: public transportation, city guide or an “Active Citizen” interactive platform.
During the second stage, the teams actively worked to implement ideas they had chosen. The completed projects were presented to the Committee on Youth and Sports under the Government of Republic of Tajikistan, The Club of Young Businessmen, and journalists.
First place was awarded through voting to the project “State Services Guide”. Second place was taken by the “Active citizen” interactive platform and the “Capital Transport” project took third place. Besides the money, the participants received additional prizes.
One of participants of the Tajik hackathon, student of Russian-Tajik Slavic University Victoria Petrova, noted that she was always interested in solving social problems. That is why she decided to help contribute by designing the city services guide. Victoria was the only girl in her team. The youngest team member was a 16-year-old school student who had to combine his school studies with actively participating in design of the city services guide.
Data for the guide was not easy to find in some cases, but we managed to find the data that not everyone was aware of,” noted Victoria. For instance, few know that we have state legal clinics with free legal services. These clinics are absolutely free. We did a survey and 93% of respondents did not know about this and even did not know where they are located. Our guide will become the source of such data,” noted Victoria Petrova.
To populate the guide, participants had to inquire about data from the passport table, state vehicle inspection, civil status registry, banks and other state bodies. According to the guide’s designers’ one can find all the necessary institutions and data on their services and associated tariffs.
Using the interactive guide, one can remotely pay for services, make appointments, book a place in line, and fill out an electronic form to receive a certificate. One can also get a list of required documents to change a passport or register a flat, for example. Usually, to get this information one had to physically go to the state institutions,” explained the project’s designers. The project will be implemented in two languages – Tajik and Russian.
M’City project took second place. Its purpose was to involve citizens in the life of the city. Using this portal, each citizen of the capital can initiate a socially important event – mass subbotnik (city cleaning), charity bicycle marathons or concerts, and meetings for the benefit of the city.
Third place was awarded to the authors of the platform to regulate and improve service quality for municipal public transportation.
All of these platforms will soon be available on the Internet, and anyone will be able to evaluate the work done by active youth. However, this is not the only hackathon. The organizers plan to hold such events more often.