Saturday, March 13, 2010

Interactive Radio Project Starts in Afghanistan

The Afghan radio station ARIANA FM started broadcasting Deutsche Welle's radionovela "Learning by Ear" on Friday, March 5, 2010. Germany's international broadcaster has planned 50 episodes – each 15 minutes long – in the two national languages Dari and Pashtu. The radio dramas have been made with young listeners in mind. Deutsche Welle Director General Erik Bettermann welcomed the start of the multimedia project that was produced in Bonn under the auspices of Deutsche Welle's Dari and Pashtu service.

"Learning by Ear can be instrumental to the development process in Afghanistan," said Bettermann in Bonn. "We also want to contribute to the acceptance of a modern, democratic business model."

The project, supported financially by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, sheds light on topics like political education, health, the advancement of women and girls, drugs and their consequences and tolerance and understanding. "We are building on the overall positive experience we had with the implementation of this innovative project in Africa, which has been running since 2008," said Bettermann. "It's an entertaining and informative way to communicate important educational content."

Radio is still the primary media in Afghanistan, but there will be additional "Learning by Ear" material available online. Young people between 12 and 20 years of age make up the majority of the population in Afghanistan. Bettermann said that's why programming focuses on a younger target audience.

Deutsche Welle is working with Afghan authors to produce "Learning by Ear for Afghanistan". As part of the project, they received training from Deutsche Welle's academy. The individual modules were produced with ARIANA FM in Afghanistan. Listener comments will be used in the
future to tailor the design of the series.

"Learning by Ear for Afghanistan" is broadcast nationwide on ARIANA FM, as well as over shortwave, satellite and Deutsche Welle frequencies in Kabul. Schools can access the series, scripts and accompanying material on the Internet. "Learning by Ear for Afghanistan" will also be made available on CD.

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