Challenge overview

In partnership with the State ICT agency and High Technology Park, UNDP Kyrgyzstan is seeking to engage with and support innovators to address the cascading effects of the coronavirus in the country. The declaration of the state of emergency in the country is already having an impact on the economy and politics. The self-isolation will incite psycho-social issues related to loneliness, which is already well documented in other countries, and significantly impact access to goods, services and daily necessities.

In Kyrgyzstan, 25.6% of the population live below the national poverty line. Most of the poor population resides in rural areas, which could limit their access to health care and other social protection services. The economy is vulnerable to external shocks owing to its reliance on worker remittances, equivalent to about 33% of GDP in 2018. Limiting the in and outflow of goods and labor force along with the economic downturn in neighboring countries such as Kazakhstan and Russia could potentially exacerbate Kyrgyzstan’s economic shock from COVID19. According to the Kyrgyz government, the budget loss due to the Coronavirus outbreak will be about 28 million KGS. 

In the current epidemic, innovation is necessary to provide speed, cooperation, diversity and effectiveness of solutions - especially in addressing the needs of the vulnerable groups, strengthening community resilience and spearheading digitization. 

This challenge aims to support those who are locked at home. We are looking for solutions for mental health support, meeting social care needs & addressing issues related to being housebound for extended periods. During the quarantine, people can enhance their skills, stay connected with friends and relatives, and contribute to the efforts to flat the curve and decrease a burden to hospitals. 

We are looking for solutions in the following areas: 

  • Remote Learning - reimagining learning in the age of self-isolation;

  • Remote Health - exploring the edge of technology to track patient health and lower the burden on health institutions.

  • Connectivity (Socialization) - proposes ideas to stay connected with friends, relatives or propose sources of getting accurate and timely information on COVID-19 

  • Contactless economy -  deliveries and production without human interaction

We are open to receiving applications that have identified other key problems related to the COVID-19 pandemic as we understand that the situation is evolving daily and new information is surfacing regarding previously unknown issues and affected sectors and communities.

Awards of up to $10,000 will be made available for each winning organization/company or innovator. 

Eligibility & Application Process

Application is open to civil society, the private sector and innovators with registered judicial entities. The application should include: 

  • A project plan

  • Budget 

  • Team capabilities

  • Existing work already done

Applications for participation must be downloaded, filled and sent to the email address before April 30 with the indication of INNO4KG in the subject line. Only selected candidates will be invited for an interview. They will be invited to pitch before the professional jury from May 10 to May 14, 2020.

All supported initiatives must demonstrate results by the end of September 2020, and must produce at least 2 communication materials on lessons learned during the implementation of the project.

Selection Criteria & Process

Ideas will be reviewed by a professional jury consisting of UNDP senior management & experts working in the area of innovation, digitalization & community action, such as representatives of High Technology Park, State Agency on ICT, and business accelerators. 

The projects will be weighed against the following criteria:


Does the solution address a high priority area (health, services, education, digitalization, etc.)? Does it achieve its goal effectively and efficiently? How many people does it have the potential to reach?


Can the project be scaled to other areas in the region and the globe that are experiencing similar issues? During the global pandemic, we are also looking for solutions that can be quickly deployed in other regions as well.

Creativity and innovation

How unique was the approach to solving a long-standing or previously intractable problem? Are you using new technologies, data or other creative approaches to transform and shift the ways we are accustomed to doing things?


How feasible is it to develop and implement your project in a short time frame. Please, prepare and submit a brief plan for your project, including the time-frame, how you will utilize the funding, what team you will work with and what capabilities they will cover, any groundwork already done, etc.

We wish you success and good health!

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