Kyiv, April 14, 2016 – Today is the start of the EGAP Challenge, the national contest of electronic democracy projects. This was announced by Oleksandr Ryzhenko, head of the State Agency for Electronic Governance, during a briefing at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “There is demand for electronic democracy tools in Ukraine that would help citizens have influence over, and control, the government”, he said. During the 9 months of the challenge, 15 to 20 projects will be selected for implementation.
According to Viktor Liakh, President of the Eastern Europe Foundation, the challenge will have five stages. The first one will be the study of social needs and selection of priorities. In May, it will be followed by the stimulation stage, during which major ideas will be discussed. The next stage is that of creative weekends. “This is informal communication, interactive activities to make ideas sustainable, engage the maximum number of people for cooperation, understand how to engage users, and how to build a long-term solution model for the future,” Mr Liakh explained. After that, an independent jury will select the finalists, and, at the next stage of incubation, they will undergo three days of intensive training, and upon completion present their business plans to the jury.
“Today, Ukrainian youth is striving to create. We see that young people are willing to create change with their own hands. At the moment, only technologies can become a platform for this change”, said Valerii Fishchuk, regional manager of Cisco Office in Ukraine. According to him, Ukraine has enormous human potential, with a stable place in the top 50 of the Global Innovation Index. “[Such projects] are highly important for engaging young specialists and civil society representatives in the development of electronic democracy. We see that all change in the world is brought about by young people using cutting-edge mobile technologies”, said Penko Dinev, Director of IBM Ukraine.
There are also four regional centers operating under the EGAP Challenge: SpaceHub in Dnipropetrovsk, IHub in Vinnytsia, ImpactHub in Odesa, and Local Development Foundation in Lutsk. The challenge is supported and funded by Switzerland. The prize fund is UAH 4.5 million. The project details are available on Facebook.
In Ukraine, Internet penetration is about 67% of the population. The survey shows that 25% of Internet users are ready to use electronic networks to influence and supervise government agencies.