Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Afghanistan: Apr/May '10

IWPR training gives undergraduates at capital’s university a much-appreciated chance to work on reporting assignments.

Lecturers and students at the journalism department of Kabul University have spoken enthusiastically about a series of recent IWPR training sessions which formed the first-ever NGO partnership programme with the faculty.

The collaboration saw IWPR refurbishing the department’s computer lab and providing 60 hours of training to fourth-year journalism students.

The 36 participants were divided into two groups, one took part in print journalism training provided by IWPR London editor Daniella Peled, and the other participated in radio workshops delivered by IWPR trainer Kaarmanbek Kuluev.

With an emphasis on practical exercises, students sourced and developed original story ideas, such as conditions in the girl’s dormitories; drug use amongst students; and problems experienced by graduates in finding employment.

Amongst the subjects covered were ethics and libel, story structure and online journalism.

The students said they learnt a great deal, especially from the practical nature of the sessions.

“In four years of studies we were taught a lot of theories and these were finally translated into practice in these days of training. The practical work doing interviews, collecting quotes and information was very exciting,” Zahra Azimi, 22, said

Fahim Jahesh, 21, agreed, “We have covered many topics in theory classes, and they look really easy - but in practice they are much harder. Up until now, we knew lots of theory but haven’t had much practice! The other thing I found very interesting was working on finding a specific angle rather than covering a topic generally.”

Nafisa Ibrahimi, 21, said she was particularly interested in the online journalism section of the course. “[This] was a new subject for me and I would have liked even more training on it. We have never covered it at university but it is such a global source of information.”

Assistant professor of journalism at the university, Abdul Qahar Jawad said, “A lot of NGOs have come to the university and made lots of promises, but with little or no results. IWPR was the first NGO which translated their promises into practical results within a month. Not only did they refurbish our computer lab but they also helped with practical print and radio journalism training. The faculty authorities will be interested in continuing this partnership in the future.”

Peled said she really appreciated the opportunity to take part in extended training sessions with the students, “They were so hungry for practical exercises and I feel we really achieved something in the course of the work."

IWPR country director Malaiz Daoud said the collaboration with university was very useful “ in terms of assessing the education system so that we can devise our own journalism courses and recruit participants for training sessions.

“The deputy dean of the university, Jawaida Ahmedi, told us that this was the first time an organisation had pledged support for a training programme and actually acted on it.

“I look forward to future collaboration with the university.”