Ahead of the Afghan Presidential election, Impassion Afghanistan approached Small World News about creating a citizen journalism curriculum for delivery by radio. Given our previous experience in the country, particularly during the 2009 and 2010 elections, we were excited at the opportunity. The goal was simple, teach Afghan's to participate in the Paiwandgah citizen journalism platform, by SMS and social media. Paiwandgah, is "a social media and mobile-based platform for citizen journalism." But in order to succeed, Impassion needed the assistance of someone with experience training journalists in difficult places. Small World News was a natural fit. However, rather than reinventing the wheel, and writing yet another journalism curriculum, we convinced Impassion director Eileen Guo to support adapting the StoryMaker curriculum for delivery via radio.
Some lessons didn't yet exist, in particular content about physical safety and reporting techniques specific to documenting elections and political issues. In two short weeks John Smock and Brian Conley adapted the content, and Impassion Afghanistan had it translated into Dari, Pashto, and Uzbek. During the first round of the election, Paiwandgah received 525 reports from 27 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces.
We were really excited to be a part of this project, and look forward to what Paiwandgah will provide during the upcoming run-off election next month.
Check out digital recordings of the radio broadcasts on Soundcloud: