Afghanistan Innovation Lab Develops New Ways for People to Get the Information They Need

Three lab participants sit around a table with laptop computers
Technologists, media experts and entrepreneurs from across Afghanistan met to create new ways for the media to use digital and emerging technologies to reach new audiences and distribute content. (credit: Internews)

Women in the northern provinces of Afghanistan will be able to communicate questions and messages about family, health and legal issues to Radio RabiaBalkhi using an application that incorporates SMS, Interactive voice response (IVR) and social media.

The application was developed at the 2nd Kabul Innovation Lab held February 12-14 and organized by Internews with support from USAID. Technologists, media experts and entrepreneurs from across Afghanistan met to create new ways for the media to use digital and emerging technologies to reach new audiences and distribute content.

“Besides discovering new tech and being put to work on a real-life project, it is a great experience to know more about how to do business,” said Vida Wahabzada, 22, who works for an IT company in Herat. “I have met a lot of people. I have studied Computer Science in Herat but it is limited. The Lab is a place to know and be known. What I really like is the encouragement to find solutions.”

Another application, “Mobile Traffic” also uses IVR and SMS technologies to expand Radio City‘s traffic update broadcast. Traffic congestion and uneducated drivers have become a major problem in Kabul. The project aims to alert the public about traffic problems in Kabul and educate them about traffic laws via their mobile phones. Users will also be able to send information about traffic to the station, making it a push-pull information innovation.

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