How Best to Promote E-Government in Uzbekistan?

Jun 17, 2016

This was the main topic of the workshop for PR-specialists of government agencies, which gathered at “Poytakht” Business Center to discuss the role of communications in promoting E-Government.

The event was organized by the Ministry for Development of Information Technologies and Communications and “E-Government” Development Center, jointly with UNDP and ADB projects on E-Government promotion.

Welcoming the participants, the First Deputy Minister for Development of Information Technologies and Communications of the Republic of Uzbekistan Alisher Fayzullaev, emphasized the importance of increasing public awareness on advantages of e-government. This is becoming especially urgent with 10th of June enforcement of Uzbek Law on Electronic Government committing ministries and agencies to extensive tasks in introducing online services and no-contact ways of interacting with applicants. This seminar, as Mr. Fayzullaev said, aims to strengthen capacities of the key government agencies and mass media in explaining core of reforms in this area.

The workshop kicked-off with presentation of the Communication Strategy for E-Government Promotion in 2016-2020 by Mr. Bunyod Avliyokulov, Project Manager of UNDP Project “E-Government Promotion for Improved Public Service Delivery”. The document analyses current situation in e-government promotion, identifies communication strategy goals and objectives, determines main activities on increasing awareness of different target groups on advantages and benefits of online interaction with the government. The speaker highlighted modern communication tools, such as Web 2.0 and crowdsourcing, emphasizing the importance of open data in tackling country’s development issues. You can learn more about UNDP Project Manager’s presentation here.

Best international practices in promoting e-government were presented by Mrs. Nargiza Alikulova, PR-Specialist of the ADB Technical Assistance Project “E-government for Effective Public Management”. She talked about modern trends in information apprehension in the era of social networks and provided examples of effective visualization techniques for information sharing used in countries that have achieved progress in e-government promotion. Participants got extremely interested in comparative analysis of types of information messages, which along with text and visual data attract people’s attention. To learn more about Nargiza Alikulova’s presentation follow this link.

Mr. Bakhodir Ayupov, the ADB Project Coordinator devoted his interactive speech to explain a contemporary and interesting topic of design thinking, a methodology of problem solving based on creative rather than analytical approach. He explained ways of applying this innovative method in resolving different problems, including the development of communication plan. Design thinking is based on inter-disciplinary approach, prototyping, iterative process and focus on users. Using case-studies, stories, practical exercises and quizzes the ADB Project Coordinator explained the audience how to develop an outreach plan that hits the target.

Uzbek National University Journalism Department Associate Professor Sherzod Kudratkhodjaev’s presentation titled “Transformation of PR Services in E-Government Era” was also extremely interesting. The speaker provided valuable recommendations on creating exclusive news articles, shared his advice on internet-based publications, addressed questions raised by press-services representatives. Professor Kudratkhodjaev’s presentation is available here.

Presentations were followed up by Q&A session allowing participants to voice comments and get competent answers to their questions.

The second part of the event was dedicated to practical work to strengthen gained knowledge. Workshop participants were divided into 5 teams and tasked with developing a communication plan for specific target audience in 15 minutes.

The first team developed a plan for promoting online services for youth.

With the view of living context of target audience and its interests, the team has selected relevant promotion channels, such as internet, social networks, handouts, telecommunication and many others. Group participants stressed the need to take into account youth trends.

The second team presented a project to attract businesspersons.

Their communication plan was brief and clear. Its development took into account all nuances of our people’s livelihoods, therefore makhalla was chosen as an important channel of promoting e-services for business.

The third group, although represented by young participants, drafted an outreach plan targeted at pension age people.

Team participants proposed ideas for promoting a number of online services for elderly. With the view of target audience, participants preferred to use traditional PR channels, such as television and print media. They suggested disseminating information booklets about online services at retirement pay collection points, and introduce a hotline with operators trained to communicate with elderly people. The team also proposed to organize and popularize professional development courses on computer literacy among pensioners.

The fourth team developed a plan to promote interagency services among population.

Main communication channels included advertisement posters of makhalla committees, information stands at housing associations, and different online resources: information agencies, social networks and forums.

The practical exercise session ended with the presentation of the fifth team that developed a communication plan for mass media representatives.

Team members proposed public press-services to organize such events as press-tours, video and photo reports on websites, social networks and television to provide in depth information of functioning of different electronic services. Notable was the way the team presented its outreach plan – participants shaped it into infographics.

Organizers asked the participants to fill out feedback form at the end of the event to analyze its efficiency and identify future training needs in the area of communications and e-governance. Participants provided high evaluation of benefits that seminar offered and suggested holding more of such trainings and master classes.

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