12 December 2022
On December 12, 2022, six non-governmental organizations presented the results of online campaigns to promote social cohesion during a special event in Bishkek.
During the event, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UNESCO summed up the results of the pliot project "Online community for civil society." More than 50 representatives of government agencies, civil society and development partners were in attendance.
The attendees heard the civil society organizations’ (CSOs) stories and learned how they effectively addressed social issues through online platforms. Six NGOs received certificates of participation in the project from UNDP and UNESCO.
The list of participants in the pilot project included: the Institute for Public Analysis, the Center for Civil Development, the Association of Community Media, NGO "Shoola Kol", NGO "Tekaiym" and "TB People in the Kyrgyz Republic". These organizations were selected as a result of a competitive review announced at the beginning of the year. As part of the project, they launched the following online campaigns:
- Online campaign to identify early intervention in the regions of Kyrgyzstan
- Information campaign for the prevention of hate speech
- Online campaign to identify tuberculosis in social networks
- Online Traffic Light information campaign
- Information campaign on MIL through scientific experiments
- Information campaign to promote cycling activism
Within three months, the project participants were trained in a remote format to introduce elements of media and information literacy (MIL) and critical thinking into their information campaigns, mastered the skills of management, fundraising, monetization of information campaigns, as well as the basic principles of social cohesion of communities.
Training and mentoring sessions opened the world of media literacy for me. I learned a lot in the process of trainings, even my children and grandchildren cheered me up and supported me. They rejoiced at my success, as did I, discovering the world of Telegram and Canva. We realized how much we lacked in the knowledge of media and information literacy for promoting our initiatives and ideas.
Antonina Li, Shoola Kol Public Fund.
By participating in this program, we learned how to better conduct online campaigns and help unite communities. By educating its audience, the Association team also learns the rules of digital literacy, discovers new online platforms for promoting content, which helps us improve and develop as a media and as an organization. Creating educational content on media and information literacy is a priority for the Community Media Association. Therefore, it is very important for us that each member of the Association’s team is media literate, able to promote elements of critical thinking, teach, and advise how to check information and not fall into the trap of digital scammers.
Nazira Dzhusupova, Community Media Association.
As a result of the training course, civil organizations had the opportunity to implement their online information campaigns aimed at social cohesion with mentoring support from trainers Aizada Kalkanbekova from the Association of Community Media in the Kyrgyz Republic and Almaz Ismanov from Prevention Media.
UNDP is exploring the future of the digital community. According to the forecasts of the World Economic Forum (2013), "in the new world of technology-based civil society, new mechanisms and institutions are needed to integrate citizens' online activity into the process of public policy development." UNDP Accelerator Lab designed and piloted the Online Community Accelerator program to support the needs of CSOs through digital innovation. UNESCO, as an implementing partner, used its experience and expertise in MIL to jointly develop a capacity building program for CSOs. At the end of the program, CSOs launched their own online community building campaigns to showcase their digital capabilities in practice. Most importantly, this pilot project enabled CSOs to strengthen social cohesion by building a safe, fair, responsive and inclusive online community.
The role of civil society organizations is essential in strengthening social cohesion, building community resilience and realizing sustainable development goals. CSOs have capacity to forge and maintain cooperation with various stakeholders for a common purpose. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, CSOs were able to quickly mobilize community resources to respond to crises. Nevertheless, CSOs are also facing a critical challenge of the organization's transformation resulting from the COVID-19 disruption. Despite the use of technologies is on demand, digital solutions for community development appear to be underutilized. In order to drive transformational changes, a new set of capacity building is in urge. In the preliminary study, local CSOs listed the most needed skills, such as a) network building with the wider range of communities; b) usage of technologies; c) media visibility as measures to mitigate the negative impact of the COVID-19.
About the Online Community Accelerator project
The Online Community Accelerator is an initiative to accelerate community impact on development in the face of COVID-19 in the digital space. The project aims to meet the transformational needs of civil society organizations through effective online communication, online community engagement, digitalization of CSOs to advocate and mobilize resources online, and strengthen social cohesion.
For more information about the project, please contact:
- Jenny Jenish kyzy (Ensi Tszie), Project Lead "Online Community Accelerator", UNDP, firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Aisulu Sulaimanova, National Education Officer, UNESCO, email@example.com