Afghan Education Projects (AEP)
Producing educational programming on everything from maternal and child health and alternative livelihoods, to addressing the underlying causes of radicalisation and conflict through drama, the Afghan Education Projects (AEP) is the largest media-for-development initiative in Afghanistan.
Run by Afghans for Afghans, it provides a wide range of programming for all ages.
Media types: Radio, online, print
Issue: Human rights and governance/ health and livelihoods
Now based in Kabul, 300 people - producers, reporters, writers, actors and technical staff - are working on AEP.
It is a perfect illustration of how the media can use drama and entertainment to advance the cause of peace and development
New Home, New Life
AEP produces six episodes of this radio drama each week - three in Dari and three in Pashto. First broadcast in 1994, it is the most popular radio programme of its type in the country with 48% of the population listening weekly .
In April 2004, Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the UN, congratulated the BBC on the 10th anniversary of New Home, New Life.
"It is a perfect illustration of how the media can use drama and entertainment to advance the cause of peace and development. From the day this radio series was conceived, it has been a wonderful partner of the United Nations family, bringing Afghans information on a wide range of subjects -- from the return of refugees to mine awareness and immunization campaigns, from education to the transition to peace and democracy...
"Since the Bonn accords, it has played an important role in encouraging Afghans to be not only informed but engaged on key aspects of the country's efforts for recovery and reconciliation."
Learning for Life
This educational series reinforces the messages delivered in New Home, New Life. It offers practical information and helps listeners put lessons learned into action.
The programme has four strands:
- Village Voice - practical information for rural audiences
- City Voice - addresses issues raised by rapid urban expansion
- Health and Life - provides basic medical information; and
- People Talk - a talk-show format addressing issues of good governance
Our World, Our Future
Years of conflict have meant that many children in Afghanistan have had little or no education. This radio series has been designed to stimulate their imaginations and desire to learn. It targets 5-16 year olds.
The programme has five strands:
- Pedlar's Bag (5-9)
- Stories for Living (ages 9-13)
- Curtain of Secrets (9-13)
- Faces and Places (9-13); and
- Castle of a Thousand Windows (13-16)
Our World, Our Future began broadcasting on 7 July, 2001. The series is supported by picture books that help children learn basic literacy and numeracy skills. There is also a regular listeners' newsletter.
We have been publishing the monthly magazine New Home, New Life Cartoon since 1994. The storylines of the radio dramas New Home, New Life and Our World, Our Future are accompanied by simple captions in Dari and Pashto.
For adults and children, the engaging stories help develop basic literacy and numeracy skills.
These are amazing books
Siddique Patman, Afghan deputy education minister
The publishing house has also been producing illustrated storybooks since 1997. These are developed by AEP's cartoonists and writers. Some relate folk tales while others are distance-learning tools.
"These are amazing books. We will distribute them to schools and libraries all over the country."
Siddique Patman, Afghan deputy education minister.
BBC Media Resource Centre
We established the BBC Media Resources Centre in 2002 to facilitate development and training. Since then, more than 1,200 media professionals have been trained. Courses include journalism, radio production, computer and technical skills.
Named after the most popular character in New Home, New Life, the site was launched in April 2007.
Users can listen to or read about AEP radio programmes. The site also has downloadable material for schools.
AEP books and magazines are featured, along with artwork, stories and photographs from the site's audience.
- 48% of the population listen to New Home, New Life on a weekly basis
- More than 19,000 people visited bbcnazer.com in its first three months
- Its The Ruined Castle won a Bronze World Medal in the Best Children's/Young Adults category at the 2007 New York Festival's International Radio Broadcasting Awards
- Lakhdar Brahimi, UN special representative for Afghanistan, has starred in the drama as himself
- In June 2007, AEP donated 30,000 copies of New Home, New Life Cartoon and 130,000 storybooks for Afghan children to the Afghan government
We work with a wide variety of organisations and institutions, including the Afghan government, Afghan broadcasters, non-governmental organisations and schools.
AEP programmes are broadcast by the BBC World Service. They are then re-broadcast on:
- 40 private FM radio stations supported by Internews across Afghanistan
- 23 RTA's provincial stations covered by Internews' programme distribution infrastructure
- All radio stations re-broadcasting programming from the 'Equal Access World Space' receiver AsiaStar
- The state broadcaster Radio Afghanistan (RTA)
Our World, Our Future received two "Finalist Awards" at the New York Festivals - first in 2002 with a "Faces and Places" programme and then in 2003 with a "Curtain of Secrets" programme.
In July 2004, for the third year in a row, Our World, Our Future received another award. A 'Stories for Living' programme, entitled The Incomplete Carpet received a "Silver Medal Award" at the New York Festivals.
Afghan Eduction Projects have been supported by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), European Commission (EC), UK Department for International Development (DfID), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Government of Belgium, Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI), Open Society Institute (OSI), UNHCR, UNMACA, UNICEF, Food and Agricultural Organisation of the UN (FAO), Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Finance Corporation (IFC), and European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO).