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Afghan urban radio drama focuses on positive coping strategies

Page history last edited by Rosemary 12 years, 2 months ago

Old City, New Dreams - an urban radio drama set in an Afghan city and targeted at audiences living in rapidly expanding urban areas - is the latest production from the BBC Afghan Education Projects (AEP).

Afghanistan is witnessing a rapid rural to urban migration, particularly among younger generations. Kabul, for example, is a city built for 300,000 yet even conservative estimates put the current population of the capital at 3 million. Despite an increasingly diverse media environment, very few programmes targeted at youth offer more than music and news.

This urban spin-off of the hugely popular and long-running New Home New Life drama focuses on the socio-economic and political issues specific to life in an urban environment and positive coping strategies for dealing with urban-based problems.

Initial audience reaction has been positive. Mahbub, a police officer, said: "[It] is unlike dramas made by local radio stations. It shows part of [our] real life." A taxi driver added "[I] want to hear this drama continually because it covers traffic and different urban issues."

Despite a significant rise in access to television in urban areas, 80% of urban dwellers still listen to the radio. Radio also remains the main source of news and information.

Since 1994, AEP has produced ‘edutaining' radio programming that is broadcast in Dari and Pashto on the BBC World Service Afghan Stream. AEP's flagship programme New Home New Life has become an Afghan institution. Over 14 million people - nearly two thirds of all radio listeners - tune in to the drama.

In 2006 AEP launched City Voice to cater for returnees who tended to return to urban centres.

Old City, New Dreams aims to further engage with urban dwellers who face huge problems such as unemployment, high cost of living, lack of infrastructure and inadequate service provision.

Afghanistan Country Director Shirazuddin Siddiqi says: "Life has changed a lot over the past few years. City dwellers are in desperate need of content that is based on their needs and reflects the reality of their lives. Given its 15 years of experience, AEP is best placed to respond to this demand."

This story was distributed by the BBC World Service Trust. The picture accompanied the story.


For more stories about radio, see:

Pygmy communities, loggers in Congo use GPS, community radio to protect cultural sites

Radio scripts will share local adaptations to climate change across Africa

Working together to develop a relevant radio series for Africa


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