By Muhammad Abdullah
Peshawar, April 22, 2019: The government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has adopted 21 digital solutions for 16 different provincial departments such as the KP Traffic Police, the Bureau of Statistics, the Water and Sanitation Services, and the Provincial Disaster Management Authority, among many others.
These digital solutions are improving the efficiency of the governance system and enhance the transparency in the overall operations of KP’s departments. During their tenure, fellows actively collaborate and train government staff to ensure their solutions are properly used and sustained.
The solutions were designed by different fellows of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Technology Board (KPITB) which initiated a program in collaboration with World Bank, which through its partners helped the provincial IT board build a strategy to bring the province into the digital age and improve technology-related skills and governance.
One outcome of this partnership is the successful KP Government Innovation Fellowship Program which is co-sponsored by Code for Pakistan.
Since 2014, the program has linked up highly talented technologists with government agencies to help these institutions become more user-centric and transparent, as well as deliver better services to citizens. Accordingly, twenty fellows divided into five teams join each cycle of the program.
Based on their host agency’s needs, each group may bring expertise in web or mobile app development, graphic design, content, user experience, or networks.
To date, four fellowship cycles have produced 70 graduates, who earned great experience within the government. After graduation, more than half of the fellows found jobs in the government or private sector, while about a third have become digital entrepreneurs or freelancers. The rest have journeyed on to higher education as students or lecturers.
In 2018, more than 50 departments expressed interest in the program, and over 30 submitted ‘problem statements’ to be addressed by the new cohort of fellows. And no surprise, acceptance into the fellowship has become highly competitive.
When the fourth program cycle opened last year, 5,802 young technologists, with expertise in software and mobile app development, graphic design, content writing, and user experience, sent in their applications from all over Pakistan.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), one of Pakistan’s most underserved provinces, is emerging from decades of conflict and has turned to the digital economy to boost economic growth and provide jobs to its youth.