Innovation Call sets stage for AI training for Tunisian media professionals

GIZ Tunisia finds suitable participants for Journalism4AI training through an innovation call on

Artificial intelligence (AI) has not only turned into a buzzword over the past years, but it has also truly conquered our everyday life. It plays an essential role in powering search engines and product recommendations and can also be a powerful tool for businesses and professionals by providing them with a comprehensive understanding of the sheer amount of data available.

AI also holds interesting applications in the field of journalism and the media. In order to increase the awareness of media professionals in Tunisia, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH Tunisia launched a training programme.   “Public awareness on AI can increase if we improve the quality of media coverage on the topic”, says Hichem Abdennadher, Technical Advisor at GIZ.

For finding suitable participants, Hichem Abdennadher used the possibility of publishing Innovation Calls on, the matchmaking platform by GIZ on behalf of the The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). This application process was published and entirely managed via an opportunity published on the platform: “Call for participation: Journalism for Artificial Intelligence”.  

Different media actors such as journalists, content creators, and influencers were invited to submit their applications to participate in the training. Over 30 applications from national newspapers, TV or radio shows were handed in, out of which 25 fulfilled all criteria and were chosen by a selection committee. The training covered AI and its application in different sectors, as well as content on science, technology, and innovation.

The training was organised and conducted in collaboration with the Tunisian Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy (MIME), the Tunisian Ministry of Communication Technologies (MTC). With these partners, GIZ had established a roadmap to bring together the Tunisian AI ecosystem. Next to the training, the roadmap included the creation of an AI Hub in Tunis. The goal of the AI hub is to mobilise and unite the different stakeholders of the AI ecosystem in Tunisia. The hub supports the integration of AI solutions in the private and public sectors, accompanies local AI start-ups and strengthens local skills.  

Together with our international partners, we are building the way towards a digitalised Tunisia and more awareness of environmental issues.” Peter Prügel, German Ambassador to Tunisia

German Ambassador Peter Prügel, Minister of MIME Neila Gongi, Program Director of energy and climate of GIZ Tunisia Tanja Faller

The participants of the training met on three occasions at the AI Hub in Tunis. GIZ covered all accommodation, meal and training costs and participants received a certificate upon completion of the program. Through assignments, they got to create their own as well as common content on an AI-related topic. The closing ceremony took place on the 12th of December 2022 in Tunis. All participants pitched their ideas and the three best projects of each category were awarded cash prizes. Even the German ambassador Peter Prügel was present to congratulate the participants on this great achievement.

The individual and group winners were: 

The best group project (4.483 Euro) was awarded to ‘The introduction of AI in a Tunisian company’ by the company “COFICAB”.

German Ambassador Peter Prügel, Minister of MIME Neila Gongi and COFICAB team: Karima Drissi, Imen Abidhiafi, Sana Adouni, Bouthaina Ghribi, Moufida Mejri

The first prizes for the individual project (1.195 Euro) were awarded to a report on industry 4.0 and AI on national TV by TV-journalist Saoussen Chahed and the tech club podcast by Zeher Ben Hmida. Saoussen Chahed also expressed her gratitude and motivation for future projects: "We appreciate what GIZ has done for us and we look forward to collaborating with it and with our colleagues on future AI media projects".

German Ambassador Peter Prügel, Minister of MIME Neila Gongi Neila Gongi, Saoussen Chahed, Program Director of energy and climate of GIZ Tunisia Tanja Faller
German Ambassador Peter Prügel, Minister of MIME Neila Gongi, Zeher Ben Hmida, Program Director of energy and climate of GIZ TunisiaTanja Faller

The second prize for the individual project (896 Euro) was awarded to a YouTube video on defining AI. The third prizes went to a project on “AI and Horizons 2035 national industrial strategy” by Intissar Antar and a project on the adoption of AI among Tunisian companies by Ayedi Zribi.

German Ambassador Peter Prügel, Minister of MIME Neila Gongi, Intissar Antar, Ayedi Zribi and Program Director of energy and climate of GIZ Tunisia Tanja Faller

The partnerships between media actors that were started through the Call for Innovation via by GIZ as well as the awareness that was raised on the challenges of Tunisia's digital transition were a huge success. GIZ Tunisia hopes to see more projects and open discussion on AI in Tunisia in the future to bridge the digital divide and seize the opportunities made possible by AI.

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