Afghanistan

Afghanistan - IOM radio project educates women in Badghis

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IOM this week inaugurated an upgraded Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA) radio station and a media centre in Qal-i-Naw in the western province of Badghis.

With funding from the Spanish government, IOM's Literacy Campaign and Radio Broadcasting Programme installed an AM transmitter and a fully equipped studio, allowing the new station to broadcast to every Badghis district. The FM signal of the old station could only reach three districts.

"This is one of the most important projects implemented in the province in a long time. RTA is now able to broadcast in districts on the border between Herat (to the south) and Turkmenistan (to the north)," said Said Aga Erfaq, Badghis' Director for Culture and Information.

Badghis is one of Afghanistan's most remote provinces. Illiteracy, maternal and infant mortality rates are among the highest in the world.

As part of the programme, IOM trained female journalists and supported programming designed to increase basic health awareness among women, particularly in rural areas. The media centre, located within the radio station, will make media production facilities available to women for the first time.

Najia Majaheed, who will lead the group of female journalists noted: "The fact that we will have a room dedicated to female journalists will give us freedom and space to do our work. I hope the station will give us an opportunity to promote the rights of women and continue to report on health issues. Radio is the best medium to reach out to people in remote districts."

IOM also completed a literacy and basic health campaign through classroom-based courses and road shows. The campaign reached some 1,600 women in 40 villages. During these events, women in rural areas were also informed about the RTA upgrading and given a total of 700 radio sets.

IOM is currently seeking additional funding to build on the success of the project, with a view to continuing to contribute towards women's empowerment, particularly in communities hosting a large number of migrants.

For further information, please contact Olga Prorovskaya at IOM Kabul, Tel + 93 (0) 708 288172, Email: oprorovskay@iom.int or Katsui Kaya, Tel +93 (0) 700 185961, Email: kkaya@iom.int

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