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Connecting People and Ideas for Integrated Development

7 Afghan National Assembly staff attend Radio Documentary Production Course

Afghan parliamentary journalists during their radio documentary training

"I didn't think it would be such an interesting course," enthused Baba Kha Dilbari, 40, a journalist with the Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) of the Wolesi Jirga, Afghanistan's lower house of parliament.

Mr. Dilbari was one of the seven participants at the "Introduction to Radio Documentary Production," which was organized by USAID's Afghanistan Parliamentary Assistance Project (APAP) with technical support from Internews. Speaking afterwards, he admitted to being initially skeptical about the value of such trainings, but after learning about radio documentary production his outlook had changed: "I believe the training's prepared me for the reality of the workplace," he said.

Significant improvements to the DIPR's audio production line were achieved over the two days of learning on August 15-16. The department's journalists, radio editors and producers from both houses of the National Assembly of Afghanistan were provided with knowledge and practical experience in mind mapping, planning, selecting sources, drafting scripts, recording, and editing. The participants responded positively to the varied tuition, and expressed their keenness for more media training in the future.

"I hope the National Assembly will activate its own studio in the near future," said Massom Hassan, 46, a DIPR radio editor at the Meshrano Jirga (upper house). "I now have the ability to make a radio documentary as an institutional journalist, and I promise to start making documentaries soon."

The Outreach and Representation Team of the Afghanistan Parliamentary Assistance Project is working to enhance the capacity of DIPR employees to provide frequent and high quality coverage of National Assembly events. The goal is to facilitate awareness of the parliament's activities among Afghans and encourage engagement between people and their MPs.

The radio training was one dimension of a larger APAP program that uses the radio to connect parliamentarians with their constituents, with formats including roundtable events broadcast from various provinces, talkback programs, and one-on-one interviews with MPs. In Afghanistan, radio enjoys far greater penetration than any other media platform.

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