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

IWPR Launches New Training Drive in Southern Afghanistan

Afghan Radio: Helmand Voices

Journalists in Helmand, Afghanistan, will have the chance to shed new light on issues affecting their community when IWPR launches the latest phase of its Helmand Voices project this month.

About 30 local journalists will hone the skills they have acquired through radio training workshops provided by IWPR since early 2007. The forthcoming intensified training programme will bring them one step closer to building a vibrant and professionalised media sector in Helmand.

IWPR’s work has already had a major impact – the trainees have led the international media by breaking stories and producing reports of a calibre previously unseen in the province. Journalism training has allowed reporters to investigate and highlight challenges to security and reconstruction that would otherwise have gone unnoticed. For example, IWPR reporter Aziz Ahmad Shafe recently went behind Taliban lines to hear from people traumatised by NATO air strikes and angry at their government.

While IWPR has supported both print and radio journalists, radio is especially important in a country where an estimated 53 per cent of men and 85 per cent of women are illiterate.

“By producing radio reports we will be able to reach poor and marginalised people and give them a voice,” said Shafe, who has attended past training events.

Officials, too, have noted the increased levels of proficiency of local reporters, who are increasingly contributing to making government more accountable and transparent.

“By assisting Afghan reporters to do their jobs better, the Helmand Voices project can play a role in the development of democracy and the rule of law in Afghanistan,” said IWPR Programme Director Jean MacKenzie.

Stories from the Helmand Voices project can be found at, which also has the Pashto-language radio reports and transcripts.

IWPR’s work in Helmand is supported by the British government.

For more information, contact:

Jared Ferrie, Journalism Trainer, +93(0) 079-758-5110
Wahid Amani, Journalism Trainer, +93(0) 079-725-6576

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