Internews Radio Collaboration Brings Afghan MPs Closer to Their Constituents
SUNY/CID NEWS STORIES 2009
In Afghanistan, SUNY/CID's Afghanistan Parliamentary Assistance Project (APAP) has partnered with media development organization Internews to bring the work of the National Assembly of Afghanistan to citizens. Every Thursday morning, Afghans tune in to "Meet Your Representative," a collaborative radio program during which Afghan parliamentarians are interviewed about current legislative issues and take questions from constituents on a wide variety of topics – from school closures to police abuses. Because the program is a radio broadcast, it reaches Afghans in the most remote provinces where almost every household owns a battery-operated radio.
SUNY/CID has also sponsored radio roundtables for Afghan legislators and their constituents in some of the most unstable areas of the country, including districts that are difficult for MPs to visit frequently. After a lively radio roundtable in Ghazni this July, one constituent caller said, "People eagerly want such programs to continue in the future so that MPs can respond to people's questions."
By organizing radio roundtables and the "Meet Your Representative" show, SUNY/CID is helping to make the Afghan parliament a real and consequential entity in the minds of ordinary Afghans. In this context, linking citizens and MPs through technology is fraught with challenges, but SUNY/CID is working with members of parliament and civil society to develop outreach activities all parties support and benefit from.