Gulnara Joldasbaeva from Karakalpakstan teaches foreign language and programming

How young people in Karakalpakstan demonstrate their talents by taking hold of the opportunities for young entrepreneurs in the field of digitalization organized by UN Joint programme

March 14, 2023
Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

Gulnara Zholdasbayeva, a student at the Nukus State Pedagogical Institute named after Ajiniyaz, Faculty of Foreign Languages. She is also a mentor of the community "Zhurttyn kyzy" and the community of girls "Qırıq qız".

As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic played a huge role in the more widespread use of various platforms that allow us to perform various functions for both study and work remotely. “The idea of creating a unified educational platform for the residents of our country came during time of lockdown” said Gulnara, “Most of our population does not speak foreign languages: English and Russian. I asked myself why there is no single educational platform adapted for the needs of our region”.

Gulnara realized that to teach particular useful skills through the platform she needs to provide educational information in Karakalpak and Uzbek language. “That's how the idea of creating the “Bilim” project which provides express language and programming courses for different professions like teachers, doctors and entrepreneurs in their native language” she said.

Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

Gulnara participated in several contests like Ideathons, Hackathons and Incubation with her idea, but she did not manage to succeed at the time. “Yes, I had failures, but I decided not to give up and my interests and motivation to work on self-development and improvement of the project only grew. The last stage of the Incubation contest was well remembered by me, and thanks to this, I learned about the UNDP’s Startup Initiative. During the three months of training, I have learned the basic skills necessary to launch my own startup project”, she said. It was a Startup Initiative within the framework of the UNDP, UNFPA and FAO’s “Unleashing young people’s and vulnerable citizens’ creativity and innovation by strengthening their adaptive capacity to address the economic and food insecurities in the exposed communities of the Aral Sea region” Joint programme. After the training courses, she gained new entrepreneurial and other useful skills for creating startup platform “Bilim”.

Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

Overall, 16 teams took part in the competition and Gulnara’s team of 4 people won the startup contest with their “Bilim” educational platform. The team consisted of a project leader – Gulnara Joldasbaeva, a programmer – Dauletyarov Islambek, a Russian language teacher – Abdirov Amir and an English teacher – Vaisi Abdul-Aziz. “In our team we have specialists who are engaged in teaching and programming and I should note that Davletyarov Islambek successfully launched his other application project - "Qasimda" - a single multifunctional information platform”, she said.

Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

Together with her colleagues on the project, they developed a training programme for different professions, adapting them for the local population. In the process of work, Gulnara said she delved even deeper into the methods of teaching foreign languages, and as a student of the Department of Russian Language and Literature, she identified a problem related to the teaching methodology, more precisely about its irrelevance today. The analysis conducted by her team and the survey among the target audience also confirmed this problem and she believes that the platform they created can be one of the solutions to this problem.

Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan
 “Undoubtedly, the victory in the startup initiative played a key role in my development, such projects had a positive impact on young people like me, who are ready to contribute to the development of the country. After winning the project, I began to receive offers as a mentor, one of these offers came from UpShift UNICEF and from Technovation Girls, where I opened a community of girls "Qırıq qız". This was the beginning of becoming a mentor for me”, she said.

Nowadays, Gulnara and her team working on the platform and developing training modules for different professions.  

Their app is now at the approval stage and soon will be available via most popular mobile app marketplaces.


From January to March 2022, with the support of the UNDP, UNFPA, and FAO’s Joint Programme, which is funded by the Multi-Partner Human Security Trust Fund for the Aral Sea region of Uzbekistan, and in partnership with the Agency for Youth Affairs in Karakalpakstan and in close cooperation with the territorial department of the Ministry of Innovative Development of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, a training course on the basics of entrepreneurship and the stages of launching startup initiatives for young people aged 18–30 from Kungrad, Muynak, and Bozatau was organized. 72 participants of the training studied the basics of implementing innovative ideas and startup projects in such areas as information technology, economics, social initiatives, tourism, and regional climate change.

Authors: Gulnur Kaypnazarova and Iroda Muminova

Challenge yourself – this will help you unlock your full potential
Gulnara Zholdasbayeva