[TechUkraine news] 9 winners of EastCode 2021 by UNDP

UNDP announces nine winners of EastCode 2021 contest of innovative solutions for communities in east Ukraine

More than 300 innovators and agents of change from all over Ukraine took part in the contest, offering innovative solutions to digitalize public services and develop local communities

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Ukraine has named the nine winners of EastCode 2021, a national contest to find creative solutions for communities in eastern Ukraine.

The winning project teams will receive financial and mentoring support to implement ideas to help their communities in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. The teams will receive grant support of up to U.S. $20,000, and will being piloting their solutions in communities in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts by the end of the year.

The contestants in this year’s competition submitted innovative ideas in the following areas:

  • Good governance and civic engagement;
  • Environmental protection, sustainable development and responsible consumption;
  • Public services, service delivery and access to services.

Over two months of hard work, the EastCode 2021 winners developed their ideas and won through several stages of the selection process: 60 out of 312 teams were selected for the semi-finals, and after mentoring meetings only 20 projects went on the final.

The following are the winning finalists and their innovation areas:

Good governance and civic engagement:

  1. GWARA MEDIA team with the GWARA BACK project;
  2. Deputy team with the project “Deputy”;
  3. The StateWatch team with the Market Research Tool (MRT) project.

Environmental protection, sustainable development and responsible consumption:

  1. LDMS team with the project “Detection and monitoring of landfills”;
  2. Team All-Ukrainian Charitable Organization “Institute of Local Development” with the project “Course: Let’s save the environment together”;
  3. The Packed team with the Packed Mobile App;
  4. BeeHiveDoor team with the BeeHiveDoor project.

Public services, service delivery and access to services:

  1. Provodnik team with the Provodnik project;
  2. The iDev team with the project “Inspector of accessibility of institutions and services”.

EastCode 2021 aims to accelerate the transformation of Ukrainian communities into thriving digital ones. Participants in the contest were located in communities along the “contact line”, where access to local authorities is physically limited, and where communities could benefit from the implementation of modern tools facilitating e-democracy and digital interaction between citizens and government actors.

The coordinator of the Local Governance and Decentralization Reform Component of the UN Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme, Olena Ruditch, emphasized that to ensure systematic community support in eastern Ukraine, a modern vision is needed of projects that enhance communities’ environmental and socio-economic benefits.

“The engagement of public activists and their awareness of the challenges that require innovative solutions creates a cooperative platform for the Programme,” Ruditch said.

“Engaging a wide range of stakeholders in the search for unusual innovations guarantees that residents of these communities will benefit from these solutions.”

Kyrylo Mazur, CEO of Innovation Agency Center42, one of the organizers of the contest, stressed the importance of international organizations such as UNDP providing information and financial support for competitions such as these, and promoting significant innovation for the country.

“The EastCode contest has shown that the number of Ukrainians who ere actively creating and engaging in public innovation has increased a lot in recent years, and among the participants you can find innovators of all ages, from 18 to 75, with excellent ideas,” Mazur said.

Denys Denyshchenko, the head of the Department of Foreign Relations, Foreign Economic and Investment Activities of Luhansk Oblast State Administration said EastCode 2021 demonstrated how innovation is gradually and systematically becoming an integral part of life for communities in eastern Ukraine.

“One hundred years ago, the renowned economist Josef Schumpeter made a great effort to prove to the public that innovation is the primary source of economic growth,” Denyschenko said.

“Now things have changed – public activists across the country themselves influence socio-economic development, implementing new public knowledge in everyday practice, including those directly related to the Luhansk Oblast.”

“We’re talking about improving public services for the population, good governance, and environmental protection. I’m convinced that this continuous process of positive transformation will continue for years to come.”

Oksana Holovko, Director of the Department of Investment and Innovation Development and External Relations of the Donetsk Oblast State Administration said a significant number of creative projects aimed at addressing issues in service provision, environmental protection and good governance were submitted to EastCode 2021.

“We hope that the implementation of the projects selected today from the finalists will help increase the level of digitalization of our communities, make informed management decisions, and establish effective communication between government and community residents on topical issues,” Holovko said.

EastCode 2021 is organized by the Innovation Agency Center42 and the Happy Monday career development platform within the UN Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme, in partnership with the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblast State Administrations and with financial support from the governments of Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland.

This year the contest partners included: The ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine, State Agency for Tourism Development, the Ukrainian Startup Fund, IT companies Eleks, SoftServe, Techiia, Genesis, Daxx, the Centre for Start-up Development in eastern Ukraine 1991 Mariupol, and the Social Boost organization.

The EastCode 2021 organizing committee also expressed its gratitude to all of the mentors who worked for several weeks with the 60 semi-finalists and 20 finalist teams, as well as the members of the jury – Savelii Barashkov, Vitalii Honcharuk, Oksana Grechko, Yarema Hrytsyshyn, Maryna Denisiuk, Denys Denyshchenko, Serhii Karelin, Viacheslav Laptev, Anna Mazur, Olha Teshchynska, Kyrylo Mazur, Ivan Rohovchenko, Tetiana Sakharuk, Anton Tyshkovskiy, Anastasiia Khaleeva and Ihor Shapataiev.