I had the pleasure of live-tweeting the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Ukraine office’s recent Social Good #inno4dev / #2030now summit, highlighting the many excellent tech-for-good initiatives happening all over Ukraine.
Tweets were tagged with #uatech4good, which I’m hoping will catch on as a tag for any tech4good initiative in Ukraine that tweets about their work, including those with no UN-affiliation. If you have a computer, app, Internet or other tech-related projects helping people or causes in Ukraine, please use the #uatech4good tag when you talk about it, so we can know about it!
Here are photos from the Ukraine event as well.
I hope that, for next year, UNDP Ukraine can do something much more ambitious and interactive, that will produce tech4good results by the end of the day, such as any of these activities:
- A hackathon to build simple, easy-to-manage web sites for NGOs in Ukraine that don’t have a web presence, or need their web sites improved, AND that there is a commitment to make the web sites accessible for people using assistive technologies, ala the Accessibility Internet Rallies by Knowbiliy.org in Austin, Texas – thereby not only creating web sites, but creating awareness re: the needs of people with disabilities on the Internet.
- An edit-a-thon to improve information on the Ukrainian version of Wikipedia regarding various development issues: HIV/AIDs, women’s empowerment, women’s history, vaccinations, migrants, etc.
- A workshop about online volunteering for local civil society organizations, and following such, brainstorming with these civil society organizations about ways they could start involving online volunteers right away, and then having onsite volunteers help NGO representatives register on the UN’s online volunteering service and start recruiting for at least one online volunteering task.
- Workshops on free and open source software (FOSS), how NGOs and civil society can use social media, how government agencies can use social media, etc. how videos can deliver messages that can positively influence/change people’s behavior, etc. (with lots examples from Ukraine), etc.
- Dispersing IT volunteers throughout the city to help the elderly, women, refugees and other learn how to use particular computer or mobile phone tools.
- A roundtable discussion – inviting everyone in the room to participate as well – regarding what needs to happen to ensure tech4good initiatives in Ukraine flourish, rather than disappear after just a few days, weeks or months.
My favorite parts of the Social Good Summit preparations and day of the event for Ukraine:
- This tweet from Robert Rosenthal, regarding a blog I wrote several days ago about how the first UN team I was a part of tried to get the UN excited about various Internet tools, including handheld tech, for use in development way back in 2001.
- Seeing my Ukrainian friends Artem and Dmytro walk into the room for the Kyiv event – I had gotten to invite them at the last minute, and was really hoping they would be able to present regarding their E+ initiative, which stated as an all-volunteer, spontaneous effort to get urgently-needed medical care for injured Maidan protesters back in January 2014. Initiative E+ continues to help those injured during the Maidan 2014 protests with long-term care, but now has branched out to manage programs for the children of Maidan victims, to provide Ukrainian soldiers injured in fighting in the East with pharmaceuticals and financial support the greatly-weakened Ukrainian government is unable to provide, and to help the children of military veterans. You can read about their activities on the E+ Facebook page or on this E+ initiative page in English. Indeed, Dmytro got to present a bit regarding their initiative (thanks to UNDP for making that happen!).
- Having a delightful exchange on Facebook with a colleague from Kyrgyzstan that I worked with in Afghanistan, regarding Social Good events by UNDP in his country.
Yet another wonderful work experience from my time in Ukraine!