“Diversity in Action”
Describe the problem that you want to address. How does this problem effect people in their daily lives?

Tokmok is the largest city located 60 km away from capital city – Bishkek. It has very diverse population and hosts 13 cultural centers represented by different ethnic groups. Tokmok is the only city in Kyrgyzstan which has “Friendship House” uniting representatives of more than 30 ethnic groups. Despite peaceful situation on the surface there are brewing conflict factors conditioned by structural and systemic discrimination. The latter phenomenon is more evident among young generation who has never experienced internationalism widely propagated and supported during Soviet regime. Despite the fact that Tokmok Mayor’s office provides free wi-fi connection in certain public places there is lack of interaction between authorities and diverse society of the city. 

Describe your proposed solution – How does your approach build on or add to more traditional ways of dealing with problem?

To bridge dividing lines between authorities and public the project proposes to develop an application that will link voices of youth of different cultural backgrounds to Mayor’s office for launching public discussions of the issues of common concern. It will also be linked with sms gate for public opinion polls on proposed solutions to concrete problems as well as crowd sourcing.  It can also shape the agenda of Local Kenesh (councils) meetings or local public hearings. This tool can also help public to monitor implementation of their solutions and authorities’ response to their concerns. This application will be popularized using existing mechanisms such as local newspaper, quarterly committees, public preventive centers, adverts at free wi-fi zones. 

Which technologies are you planning to use and why? Please make reference to other similar uses of your proposed technology.

The project proposes to develop an application that will link it to existing Mayor’s Office website with sms gate and mobile apps.  In addition, we have been inspired and would like to test out i) the use of sms for determining the key development priorities of citizens on the regular basis (similar to the work that UNDP Armenia and UNDP Moldova have done), and ii) the use of a dynamic, real time mechanism for citizens to provide feedback on the quality of service provision (similar to the work that UNDP FYR Macedonia has done with My Municipality).