10 years old Darina, winner of competition of digital initiatives to develop “Red Book of Kyrgyzstan” app | EEAS Website – EEAS

Darina, a 5th grade student of school to receive 4,500 EUR from EU-funded Digi Konush project and will develop “Red Book of Kyrgyzstan” mobile application to safeguard animals of Kyrgyzstan.
Darina, a 5th grade student of school to receive 4,500 EUR from EU-funded Digi Konush project and will develop “Red Book of Kyrgyzstan” mobile application to safeguard the animals of Kyrgyzstan.
How an animal hunted down changed her life
Darina’s project appeared not by chance. According to the student, the idea of creating a mobile application “The Red Book of Kyrgyzstan” came up after a turning point in her life.
 “Once my dad brought the meat of a dead animal from a hunt. I don’t remember exactly which one. I felt sorry for the animal and I did not eat the meat.  Since then, I have had a desire to protect animals and tell people how important it is,” says Darina.
The project turned out to be really necessary, since a survey conducted before writing the project demonstrated that the majority of the local population knows little about the country’s Red Book animals.
– Almost everyone knew only about the snow leopard and argali. The application includes 8 species of Red Book animals: argali, red wolf, snow leopard, brown bear and others. Her mom and teachers helped develop the app. Also, two of my friends – Zhanat and Begaiym, helped write the project and conduct a survey. They are 13 years old,” says Darina.
Learn and play
The application “Red Book of Kyrgyzstan” consists of two parts: informative and interactive. The latter contains a mobile game in which the snow leopard runs away from the hunter’s arrows creating additional interest for children. The goal of the mobile app is to raise the environmental awareness of the younger generation and form a careful and compassionate attitude towards the environment. Darina has no competitors – such an application will appear in Kyrgyzstan for the first time.
Believed in victory, but not completely
Although Darina participated in many competitions, she admits she only half believed in her victory, because there were many worthy candidates.
“I saw another beautiful, cool project, it’s not about animals, but girls help people there… I believed 50/50 in my victory,” recalls the young winner.
According to the voting results of the grant committee with independent experts from Kyrgyzstan and Estonia as well as representatives of relevant government departments, Darina’s project scored 132 points and took 8th place in the list of 13 winners. Thus, the 10-year-old schoolgirl became the youngest winner of startup competitions in Kyrgyzstan and quite possibly even beyond its borders.
The implementation of the digital initiative requires €4,500. Darina’s side is ready to contribute $1,300. The project must be completed by April next year. 
This is just the beginning
Darina has been actively participating in competitions since the age of 8. She already has a 2nd degree badge of the Republican competition “The Best Pupil of Kyrgyzstan 2021”, a special prize of the International Children’s and Youth Award of Russia “Ecology is everyone’s business”, the honorary title “Minor SCO Ambassador of Culture” in Beijing, as well as the semi-finals of the republican selection of the global startup competition Technovation Girls (USA).
And it seems that Darina is not going to stop there:
 “I have a lot of ideas, but they are still in the depths of my mind… projects about plants, trees…”, the young Kyrgyzstani concludes in a businesslike manner.
The selection final of Digi Konush competition of digital startups and initiatives took place on 28 September in Bishkek as part of the European Union project “Digikonush – Building a transparent future for rural communities through digitalization”. The final pitching hosted 25 projects aimed at the pilot municipalities of the Osh, Batken and Issyk-Kul regions. Overall, about 60 teams applied for the competition. In the end, 13 teams obtained certificates for grant funding, one of them is 10-year-old Darina Usenova from the Issyk-Kul region.
The project “DigiKonush – Building a transparent future in rural communities of Kyrgyzstan through digitalization” is being implemented by the Center for Civic Initiatives “Leader” with the support of the European Union in partnership with the Estonian Center for International Development.


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