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

Practice Makes Perfect for Kabul Students

By IWPR
  • Students during a classroom training session. (Photo: IWPR)
    Students during a classroom training session. (Photo: IWPR)
  • IWPR radio journalism trainer presenting a certificate to a student at the end of a training session. (Photo: IWPR)
    IWPR radio journalism trainer presenting a certificate to a student at the end of a training session. (Photo: IWPR)
  • IWPR radio journalism trainer presenting a certificate to a student at the end of a training session. (Photo: IWPR)
    IWPR radio journalism trainer presenting a certificate to a student at the end of a training session. (Photo: IWPR)

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.

“IWPR was the first NGO which translated their promises into practical results within a month."
Abdul Qahar Jawad, assistant professor of journalism at the Kabul University

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,” she said.

Assistant professor of journalism at the university, Abdul Qahar Jawad said, “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.”


Also of note, an IWPR report about the destruction of valuable pistachio forests in Baghlis province has significantly raised awareness of the importance of protecting this natural resource, local officials say.

The article, Badghis Pistachio Forests Face Destruction, described concerns that poverty and a lack of fuel was causing locals to cut down the nut trees.

Following its publication on May 13, director of agriculture in Badghis province, Hafiz Binesh, said that he received calls from many reporters and media representatives asking for information about the pistachio forests. He attributed this new interest to the impact of the IWPR story.

Gholam Sakhi Peshtaz, head of natural resources, forests and arable land for the AECID organisation, under the Spanish Provincial Reconstruction Team in Badghis province, said publication of the report has made their work much easier.

He said the publicity had helped them to gather 160 tribal elders and representatives of people from Abkamari, Moqor, Qads, Balamorghab and Ghormach districts together with representatives of nomads in a three-day-workshop in Qala-e Naw in Badghis province, where they were trained on how to protect pistachio forests.

He said that all the workshop participants pledged not to cut down the forests anymore and to protect them.

Abdolghani Saberi, deputy governor of Badghis, also said that following publication of the report, provincial officials had met with tribal representatives and forest residents many times.

Following these sessions, locals became aware of the damage their livestock could inflict on the forests, he said.

“As a result of our meetings with tribal representatives in Badghis, the people have now taken their cattle and camels out of the forests,” he said.

Saberi added that a delegation is to go to southern Herat province to work on the prevention of pistachio forest destruction and talk to the local officials.

Meanwhile, Abdolqayum Afghan, director of environment in Herat province, welcomed IWPR’s story.

“The report has been felt in the media and even in government offices and I hope such reporting will continue,” he said.

He added that in the wake of the story, his department devised a forest protection plan to be implemented in cooperation with the respective government offices.

The story was also followed up by other media outlets including the Pamir monthly and Radio Faryad in Herat province.

Herat radio journalist Wali Mohammad Hadid said that after reading the piece on the IWPR website, he was inspired to make his own report about the deteriorating condition of the forests too.

“The work of IWPR reporters is really admirable. This media outlet is a good source for finding facts and good sources for other media outlets. So far as I am concerned, reports of this media outlet have had extraordinary impact,” he said.

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