Since the beginning of June 2012, Deutsche Welle has been producing a new series of its educational program Learning by Ear for Afghanistan. Recorded in Dari and Pashto, it includes over 6,000 minutes of content.
Following three well-received editions of Learning by Ear for Afghanistan, DW's Asia Department has now started to produce the fourth series. A team of over 50 actors, reporters and technicians is creating over 200 episodes aimed at young listeners between 12 and 20 years of age. With a lively mix of in-depth reports, radio dramas and feature stories, they examine the challenges young people face in their everyday lives and offer practical advice. Launched in 2009, the interactive distance-learning program is supported by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany and available via radio and on the Internet.
To make the content as relevant as possible, the new edition is based on listener feedback from last year. The module "Alone against the mother," for example, explores the conflict experienced by children of working mothers in Afghanistan. These are often verbally attacked and excluded by their peers because working mothers are still largely unaccepted in the society. The short radio plays offer tips for dealing with such a situation.
Millions of listeners
Nearly one-third of the Afghan population regularly listens to DW radio in Dari and Pashto, most of them via DW’s partner station Ariana FM. Since the cooperation began in 2007, DW's listener base in Afghanistan has greatly increased. Ariana FM broadcasts DW's news bulletins, radio magazines and shows such as Learning by Ear in 33 out of the country's 34 provinces during prime-time hours.
Parallel to Ariana FM, other partner stations of DW, including Nawa FM and Amozgar FM, are also broadcasting DW radio program in Dari and Pashto as well as Learning by Ear around the country.
Deutsche Welle has been providing radio content to Afghanistan for over 40 years, drawing on the support of a well-established network of local correspondents. Both the daily two-hour radio program and the website offer news to local audiences in Afghanistan’s two official languages.
One of the most popular radio shows is a daily 30-minute magazine on the topic of Afghanistan's reconstruction. Produced since November 2007, it includes a variety of objective reports on the economic, social, military and cultural aspects of the country's road to recovery.
Contributing to local media development
Meanwhile, DW Akademie - Deutsche Welle's center of excellence for international media capacity development - has been training writers, technicians and reporters in Afghanistan to assist in reviving the country's media and raising its journalistic standard.
With support from Germany's Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the training activities are continuing in 2012. DW Akademie is providing training to producers and moderators of a children's news show at Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA). The two 10-day courses are part of a major project titled "Knowledge is Fun! - Children's TV for Afghanistan and Pakistan." Another course will be provided to Ariana FM producers in connection to its children's show. DW Akademie is also running a course at Ariana FM on reporting techniques in conflict zones, which is a part of a series of projects for Afghanistan and Pakistan.