A new EU-funded project entitled ’Building Transparent Future for Rural Communities via Digitalisation’ was launched in Kyrgyzstan on 1 December 2020.

Женщина сидящая на стуле с телефоном

It aims to support rural youth and women in the Osh and Issyk-Kul regions through improving digital literacy and skills development, promoting inclusion in public affairs on the local level, and strengthening digital entrepreneurship education and training.

The project activities will be focused on, firstly, identifying existing gaps in digital literacy and skills development and matching these with solutions. Then, the digital capacity of local authorities and civil society organisations will be improved to enable them to support the inclusion and involvement of women and youth in public affairs and local level decision-making. Finally, implementation of modern solutions and digital skills in entrepreneurship and vocational training will be encouraged and promoted as part of the project.

Through seminars, workshops and mentoring conducted by Estonian and Kyrgyz experts as well as financial support the project aims to directly engage at least 700 people, including rural youth and women residing in the Issyk-Kul and Osh regions, representatives of local civil society, local self-governments, and vocational education and training institutions. The target groups will also benefit from the transfer of Estonian digital transformation knowledge and best practices in developing into an advanced digital society.

Digital skills are becoming increasingly important for every citizen to successfully participate in the digital economy and society. Moreover, being left behind in the digital transformation has become a new form of social exclusion. Compared to their peers in urban areas, rural youth and women tend to be at a disadvantage due to fewer education and employment prospects and lower accessibility of public services — a gap that is further exacerbated by the digital divide. It is therefore imperative to ensure rural communities are included in the digital transformation of the country.

The project is implemented by the Estonian Center of Eastern Partnership together with the Public Association Civil Initiative Center ‘Leader’ (Kyrgyz Republic). The duration of the project is 30 months, and the EU supports it by financial contribution totaling to EUR 991,424.

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