Building peace in Kandahar’s communities the focus of new radio series
KANDAHAR - In the southern region of Afghanistan, the UN is working on a new initiative to leverage the power of local radio to build support for peace among Kandahar’s communities.
The new radio series, supported by the Kandahar regional office of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), is designed to foster discussions around strategies to build peace in an area of the country where the conflict has taken an especially heavy toll on normal life.
The country’s southern provinces have suffered some of the deadliest fighting in Afghanistan during the past 10 years, leaving behind damaged infrastructure and displacing thousands of families.
One stark example of the conflict can be found in Uruzgan province, located about 500 kilometres southwest of Kabul, where only a handful of schools remain open. Fewer than ten schools are fully functional there, and those are located in the relative safety of Tirin Kot, Uruzgan’s capital. Some three hundred schools have been closed by insurgents operating in the province.
In the five southern provinces, where educational facilities and government services have fallen prey to heavy fighting, there are more than 30 independent radio outlets and four private television stations that remain operational. UNAMA has been working with media in the country’s south to build support for Afghan-led peace and reconciliation efforts.
The first radio broadcast in the new series aired recently, with panellists from the Kandahar peace committee and youth groups focusing their discussion on the affirmative role of individuals and their communities in fostering peace. They highlighted the importance of local peace initiatives and stressed the crucial role of communities establishing consensus to resolve ongoing conflict.
Zma Radio, the media outlet broadcasting the new series, is maintaining a connected social media programme to address listener questions and feedback in future programmes. The first programme broadcast to an audience estimated at around 350,000 people in and around the province’s capital city.
UNAMA is mandated to support the Afghan Government and the people of Afghanistan as a political mission that provides 'good offices' among other key services. 'Good offices' are diplomatic steps that the UN takes publicly and in private, drawing on its independence, impartiality and integrity, to prevent national and international disputes from arising, escalating or spreading.
UNAMA also promotes coherent development support by the international community; assists the process of peace and reconciliation; monitors and promotes human rights and the protection of civilians in armed conflict; promotes good governance; and encourages regional cooperation.