We are beginning to work on several new projects for AWN. The most recent project is a Media Proposal for IOM. Having a strong media unit is very important for AWN so they can publicize their projects, and the projects of other women NGOs. AWN has several media outlets which they use. Their website includes news articles about women in Afghanistan, and the progress that women’s groups are making to improve the lives of women in Afghanistan.
They also publish a monthly magazine, Ertiqa, in both Pashto and Dari which includes articles and news about women and women’s interests. They also have a newsletter that is distributed internally around the AWN NGOs which contains information about the activities and accomplishments of those organizations. Publicity is very important for these NGOs, not only to get funding from potential donors, but also to highlight their activities.
One of the aspects of the proposal is a training program for women journalists. AWN wants to hold a six month training session for 30 women to teach them print and radio journalism, as well as photography skills. There was a successful journalist training program completed in 2003 in Peshawar, Pakistan, where 50 female journalists were trained in print and radio journalism.
This proved to be successful not only for the journalists themselves, who were able to parlay their new skills into successful careers, but also for AWN, who was able to employ the most talented journalists to work on their website, newsletter, and magazine.
Similar training sessions were attempted in Kabul, but were not successful, because they were unable to employ a professional trainer with the salary allotted to them. The IOM proposal is important because it is essential to have female journalists in Kabul to research and write stories on issues taking place in Afghanistan that journalists in Peshawar do not have access to. Hopefully, the proposal will be successful and AWN will be able to train a new generation of female journalists.
Free press is such a new idea in Afghanistan, and many journalists have suffered under previous regimes. The idea that now women can research and write stories that are of interest to them is a new and exciting prospect.
Another part of the proposal is to broadcast radio programs on the Afghan station Radio Azadi. Since radio is such an important medium of communication in Afghanistan, radio programs have the potential to reach millions of people who have no other means of communication to the outside world.
AWN wants to broadcast radio programs which highlights the interests of women, for example education, healthcare, and women’s rights. The program will also highlight the work of AWN’s women NGOs. Hopefully IOM will recognize the importance of these activities and will decide to work with AWN.
Today is a sunny and clear day after a terrible dust storm yesterday afternoon, so I am off to explore Kabul. I will begin research this weekend on the voter registration project, and this will be the subject of my next blog. I’m off!
Posted By Sarah Schores (Afghanistan)
Posted Jul 9th, 2004