At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has enforced restrictions on many activities, mobile applications are being developed to fill gap and help raise awareness about important community initiatives in Afghanistan.
Under umbrella of LoGo (Local Governance) project, UNDP has supported the Ministry of Municipalities (MM) to develop the two mobile apps to help in raising awareness among Urban Kids and Good Citizen. These two mobile apps aim to change citizens’ behaviour to lead to a better urban culture in Afghanistan.
The Urban Kids app is a mobile gaming app in three local languages (Dari, Pashtu & Uzbek), which educates young people on the effectiveness of proper waste management. Effective waste management is good for the environment, reduces pollution and promotes public health, as well as having other important benefits. The app is intended to educate the user so that they adopt positive real-life practices in waste management in urban areas in Afghanistan.
The Good Citizens is an android app designed for all ages and groups, which aims to improve urban culture by challenging users’ knowledge through quizzes and to provide information on the responsibilities of both citizens and municipalities. The questions in the app help citizens rate their behaviour toward urban issues. The app motivates the users to re-think on their role as urban residents particularly during the fight against COVID-19.
The indifference of citizens to social issues that affect whole communities, like waste management and anti-social behaviour are considered a big challenge in Afghanistan, where municipalities have few resources to invest in outreach and awareness-raising activities. This has proved a problem especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, where behaviour and responsible social action is essential to containing the virus.
This was the context in which the mobile applications were developed, with a goal of positively educating citizens, and especially young people, on their social responsibilities, particularly at a time when COVID-19 is posing a great challenge to public health and social cohesion.
The apps were designed with a dynamic structure so that its content can be easily updated by the Ministry of Municipalities (MM) with new and on-demand information. With the technical support of the Digital Transformation Catalytic Fund (DTCF), the applications were promoted among urban communities. So far, the apps have proved successful, with positive reviews and good uptake. If they are deemed an overall success, the city municipality intend to introduce more apps to promote positive behaviour, report complaints, or conduct social audits.
Gender considerations have been carefully incorporated throughout the development and promotion of the apps, with the project actively exploring ways to involve women in a meaningful way at different levels. In both Bamyan and Kunduz provinces, UNDP Afghanistan has conducted women events to introduce the apps and E-Systems, training more than 100 girls.
This initiative funded by the Digital Transformation Catalytic Fund (DTCF), which aims to promote business continuity and service delivery in municipalities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Apps can be downloaded from below links: