Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change
Pakistan: Feb/Mar ‘10
Adnan Sami, 17-year-old participant in IWPR’s Open Minds youth journalism project, who recently started working as a local radio presenter, has been offered a full time post as an anchor on Radio Pakistan.
And in another career-enhancing move, 15-year-old trainee Sajjad Mubarak, 15, has begun teaching the media skills he has learnt as a project peer educator to children and adults in his community – including his school teachers and his father.
Sami comes from the northern Pakistan region of Chitral, where the Open Minds project delivers media training to students in eight schools. Together, the schools have been producing bi-weekly radio shows on Chitral radio with the help of their two media trainers.
Sami had participated in a number of these programmes as part of the project, and also published a series of articles and interviews in local newspapers.
A producer at the radio station spotted his talent as a talk show host, and offered him a job as the regular anchor on the station’s weekly children’s magazine show Shaheen (Eagle). Adnan started on the show in March.
The half-hour programme is produced in Pakistan’s national language Urdu, as very few regional stations broadcast in the local Chitrali language. The show features poems, jokes, stories and information.
Adnan says he owes his break to the training and radio experience he gained from the Open Minds project.
The training, he said, has given him “great confidence and knowledge which I can share with my listeners”.
“I [now] know about the importance of impartiality in media. [And] I have started to watch current affairs and news programmes regularly.”
Now Adnan is facing an important decision about his next step. He has been offered a full time job working on mainstream programming for Radio Pakistan’s nationwide service – but he is still at school and, with high school exams coming up, he is not sure about giving up his ambition to become an engineer.
“I will continue my job on the Shaheen programme as it does not take up much time. I only work one hour a week for it,” he said. “It would be difficult for me to work [for Radio Pakistan] as it needs much more time. Still, I will talk to my family and decide later.”
Adnan says he would love to work in TV as an actor, and he may ditch his ambition of becoming an engineer if he is offered another good opportunity in the media.
Mubarak, from the Charsada area just north of Peshawar, is employing the skills he acquired working with IWPR to teach journalism to members of his village, five kilometres from the town where he goes to school.
“It’s like I am blessed with a gift to speak,” Mubarak said of what he’s gained from the IWPR project. “I learned how to communicate effectively, how to differentiate between right and wrong.
“Today I am able to identify issues; I have a willingness to serve humanity; and, above all, I have the courage and confidence to actively take part in any discussion.”
Motivated by the Open Minds project, Mubarak started imparting his knowledge to the children at his village’s primary school. But, once he had begun, he found that teachers were also asking him to train them. One of his students is his own father, who is also one of the teachers.
After giving classes in the village school, he sets his pupils writing assignments on subjects they have discussed, including terrorism, inflation, the environment and development projects. He has edited some of these articles and is now seeking IWPR’s help to get them published in local newspapers.
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