Ashgabat, 7 August 2021: On the occasion of the International Youth Day (12 August), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Turkmenistan in partnership with the Google Developers Group (GDG) and Women Techmakers Ashgabat hosted a Hackathon themed “Virtual Civil Registry Office” on 7-8 August 2021.

The Hackathon lasted for two days and included 12 teams of young IT specialists, development experts and innovators with the objective of working together to generate innovative ideas on digital solutions to virtualize the work of the Civil Registry Office. Guided by the experts in the field of software development the participants were tasked to develop a digitalized system for registration of acts of civil status (ZAGS) based on the provided terms of reference.

“Digital transformation is already gradually coming into all spheres of life. Every day we feel the importance of remotely accessible and community-friendly public services, which are critical to providing seamless, convenient and transparent services to people, especially for the most vulnerable groups of population.” – noted Natia Natsvlishvili, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. in Turkmenistan- “Through the Hackathon we aimed to bring together young people from different backgrounds to collaborate and build digital solutions in relation to improving an online public services.”

To adhere to the principles of gender equality and with the aim of engaging girls in digital solutions, the Digital Marathon actively involved female participants by providing an additional bonus to a gender-balanced teams. The gender diversity of competing teams allowed for a wider talent pool and led to a broader representation of smart ideas to complete the Hackathon assignment.

During the Hackathon first day parallel session, the UNDP specialists also organized an open Talks with youth on Sustainable lifestyle: Go Digital! Go green and smart! topics to pursue knowledge and digital practices that can lead to more environmentally friendly and ecologically responsible decisions to protect the environment. “The interactive discussions raised my awareness on environmentally-friendly practices and pushed me to become more sustainable in everyday life” – noted one of the Hackathon participants Jamilye Myatiyeva.

The second day parallel session focused on the role of external consulting in a startup to achieve successful entrepreneurship by youth. “It was very interesting to hear about the advantages of an external consulting in running a successful business”- said Ibragim Gurbanov, Hackathon participant speaking about his impression of an open Talk organized by UNDP.

At the end of the two days Hackathon, the participating teams pitched their ideas to a panel of judges. The presented programmes demonstrated the innovative solutions to improve public services in Turkmenistan through digital applications.

The first prize award went to the team “Digital Devs” for the best software developed to register the birth of a newborn child. The second place was taken by “Japaklar” and the team “Hi” took the third place. “Winning the Hackathon inspired us to new achievements” – said Alparslan Batyrov, winning team member.

All three teams-winners have been awarded with the prizes and appreciation certificates. In addition, the UNDP Office plans to cooperate further with the distinguished participants within its future development projects focusing on improvement of digital public services in the country.

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Hackathon is an event where small teams of participants in a very short time create the new software products for the benefit of local communities in accordance with the terms of reference. The distinctive feature of hackathons is a special dynamic atmosphere of creativity and excitement, uniting participants with a variety of IT competencies: programmers, designers, analysts and just those who decided to engage in something new and innovative.

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