A dozen of startup projects have been selected and incubated in an effort to make IT an efficient tool for amalgamated territorial communities to best achieve their goals.
Ukrainian IT specialists developed services set to meet the local needs of amalgamated territorial communities. A total of 12 startups have been selected on a competitive basis out of the 100 applications. The projects went through incubation in the framework of the professional training program offered by the 1991 Open Data Incubator – partner of USAID’s DOBRE program in Dnipro and Ivano-Frankivsk. “Ukraine has a growing and sophisticated IT environment. […] The new amalgamated communities need to reach out to citizens, provide services and communicate with their communities. We saw a great opportunity to bring these two concepts together. The idea is to look at this marriage of the IT community and the newly amalgamated communities, and how communities can use IT to improve their performance, communication, services and reach out more effectively and engage with communities,” said Barry Reed, DOBRE program manager at a press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
The projects concern energy efficiency, ecology, transportation, tourism and access to public information. Some services are logical extension of nationwide reforms. Thus, the Firefighter project is called to train and inform volunteer firefighters whose number will grow as the firefighting service reform advances. Other projects target local problems of the communities or focus on investment attraction. “The Invest-Target service shows investment opportunities and their location as well as what companies are operating in Ukraine. Its aim is to attract investment in defined regions and sectors. It gives a possibility to see and analyze what sectors are best developed and where exactly. Agriculture, for example, is well-developed in Kherson while the infrastructure – in the central part and in the capital. The service demonstrates the companies that are active on the market, their owners and sectors they operate in,” said Yevhenia Klepa, executive director at the 1991 Open Data Incubator.
The cooperation between IT specialists and communities is planned to be extended to address more strategic targets, particularly that of introducing a single technological standard. “We came across the lack of the standardized approach to IT instruments and technologies. Each community introduces them individually depending on how well developed and technically equipped it is. We want to standardize the approach so that one and the same product can be expanded to other communities,” noted Denys Hurskyi, head of the board of SocialBoost NGO and co-founder of the 1991 Open Data Incubator.
Over the next four years the USAID’s DOBRE program plans to cover 80 per cent of all the IT needs of communities. The key task that the organizers set is to deepen the cooperation with the communities so that they engage in addressing local needs to the maximum. They also seek to pass the services directly to the communities so that they are able to administer them by themselves.