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    Workshop to explore new technologies for media begins

    KABUL (PAN): Afghan technologists, media experts and entrepreneurs from across the country on Monday began a four-day forum and workshop to create new ways for the media to use digital and emerging technologies to reach to new audiences and distribute content.

    The event at the Kabul Innovation Lab is aimed at developing innovative technology-based systems to improve the media’s reach, professional standards, and quality of content, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) said in a statement.

    Also launched on the occasion was a new innovation grant initiative ($5 million over two years) funded by the World Bank, the statement said. Innovation Lab participants were encouraged by AIMS (the grants administration agency) to develop commercially viable apps over the next four days that would then be eligible for consideration for seeding grants.

    The statement said this year’s lab builds on last year’s inaugural Innovation Lab with a focus on Afghan technical experts, enhancing professional collaboration across two of Afghanistan’s most successful and promising commercial sectors – Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) and media.

    USAID Mission Director Ken Yamashita said the Innovation Lab had created a new model for Afghanistan. "This year’s Lab will explore ways in which technology can help the Afghan Media to reach new and wider audiences, providing greater access to information for all Afghans.

    The lab was launched with a one-day forum in which media, business, government and ICT experts brainstormed how media and technology might support one another through innovative solutions.

    The forum will be followed by an intensive three-day workshop (February 12-14) during which young Afghan software engineers and ICT experts will work in small groups to create innovative technical solutions (apps, tools, or games) for leading Afghan media agencies.

    Deputy Information and Culture Minister Mubariz Rashidi on the occasion noted that there were “two great partners in the field of technology and access to information, USAID and Internews.”

    Rashidi went on to note the opportunities offered by media and ICT convergence have also paved the way for enhanced collaboration between the two key ministries supporting sector growth in these fields – the Ministry of Information and Culture and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.

    pr/ma



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