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Radio distribution by RFE's Afghan service Radio Azadi

RFE's Radio Azadi has distributed nearly all 20,000 solar-powered, hand-cranked radios to Afghans across the country. The project, which began on September 17, was designed to promote access to news and information, especially in rural and remote areas where illiteracy rates are among the highest in the world and where radio is often the only means for people to receive news.

The radio distribution drive began on September 17 in a camp for internally displaced people on the outskirts of Kabul. These two boys were among the first to receive one of the 20,000 radios RFE's Afghan service Radio Azadi has since been distributing across the entire country.
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The radio distribution drive began on September 17 in a camp for internally displaced people on the outskirts of Kabul. These two boys were among the first to receive one of the 20,000 radios RFE's Afghan service Radio Azadi has since been distributing across the entire country.

Another picture from the IDP camp on the outskirts of Kabul, where the distribution drive was launched. The aim of the project is to promote access to news and information, especially in rural and remote areas where illiteracy rates are among the highest in the world and where radio is often the only means for people to receive news.
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Another picture from the IDP camp on the outskirts of Kabul, where the distribution drive was launched. The aim of the project is to promote access to news and information, especially in rural and remote areas where illiteracy rates are among the highest in the world and where radio is often the only means for people to receive news.

An estimated 250,000 Afghans have been displaced due to conflict over the past decades and now live in camps, often in very poor conditions and largely without electricity. Here a photo from Mukhtar refugee camp on the outskirts of Lashkar Gah in Helmand province.
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An estimated 250,000 Afghans have been displaced due to conflict over the past decades and now live in camps, often in very poor conditions and largely without electricity. Here a photo from Mukhtar refugee camp on the outskirts of Lashkar Gah in Helmand province.

A radio Azadi journalist distributes radios to children in Mukhtar refugee camp. Several other IDP camps across the country were among the distribution points.
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A radio Azadi journalist distributes radios to children in Mukhtar refugee camp. Several other IDP camps across the country were among the distribution points.

One of the camp's elders told us: "Thank you Radio Azadi for these radios. Now we will know what is going on and we will raise our voice accordingly."
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One of the camp's elders told us: "Thank you Radio Azadi for these radios. Now we will know what is going on and we will raise our voice accordingly."

In Mazar-e-Sharif, radios were distributed to two suburban girls’ schools in Deh Dadi, where 3000 girls from 1st to 12th grade are being educated.
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In Mazar-e-Sharif, radios were distributed to two suburban girls’ schools in Deh Dadi, where 3000 girls from 1st to 12th grade are being educated.

As most Afghans living outside the major urban centers, Deh Dadi’s 200,000 inhabitants are largely without power, which prohibits the use of TVs and other electronic equipment requiring an outside power supply.
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As most Afghans living outside the major urban centers, Deh Dadi’s 200,000 inhabitants are largely without power, which prohibits the use of TVs and other electronic equipment requiring an outside power supply.

A student at one of the schools being interviewed by journalists. The distribution effort was covered widely in local media.
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A student at one of the schools being interviewed by journalists. The distribution effort was covered widely in local media.

In Shindand, Afghan nomadic tribes were also among the recipients. Here a picture from a camp of Kuchi nomads, most of which are illiterate and do not have permanent housing, so the radio is the only feasible way for them to stay informed.
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In Shindand, Afghan nomadic tribes were also among the recipients. Here a picture from a camp of Kuchi nomads, most of which are illiterate and do not have permanent housing, so the radio is the only feasible way for them to stay informed.

A woman in a a camp of Kuchi nomads in Shindand province examines her new radio. The radios are equipped with solar panels and a hand-crank for easy, battery-free charging, and also feature a torch and cell phone charger.
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A woman in a a camp of Kuchi nomads in Shindand province examines her new radio. The radios are equipped with solar panels and a hand-crank for easy, battery-free charging, and also feature a torch and cell phone charger.

Over 60% of men and 90% of women in Afghanistan are illiterate, and radio is still the main means to receive news across the country.
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Over 60% of men and 90% of women in Afghanistan are illiterate, and radio is still the main means to receive news across the country.

The radios were distributed all across the country. Here 2 village elders in Shindand province...
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The radios were distributed all across the country. Here 2 village elders in Shindand province...

...2 men in Farah, where 800 radios were handed out...
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...2 men in Farah, where 800 radios were handed out...

...another picture from Farah province...
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...another picture from Farah province...

...a recipient in Baghlan told us: "We are thankful to Radio Azadi for airing the news of every corner of the country. Thanks for gifting me a radio set, which I will use to listen to the news about Afghanistan and the world.”
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...a recipient in Baghlan told us: "We are thankful to Radio Azadi for airing the news of every corner of the country. Thanks for gifting me a radio set, which I will use to listen to the news about Afghanistan and the world.”

The Afghan Air Force and ISAF are supporting the distribution drive and help with the transport of the radios to remote and isolated areas across the country.
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The Afghan Air Force and ISAF are supporting the distribution drive and help with the transport of the radios to remote and isolated areas across the country.

On the ground, Radio Azadi works with local authorities, community leaders, and the Afghan police to coordinate and secure the distribution effort. Here, Afghan police are loading radios onto cars in Shindand province.
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On the ground, Radio Azadi works with local authorities, community leaders, and the Afghan police to coordinate and secure the distribution effort. Here, Afghan police are loading radios onto cars in Shindand province.

In Jalalabad, the radios were being distributed at a local market close to a regional bus stop.
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In Jalalabad, the radios were being distributed at a local market close to a regional bus stop.

Things got a little hectic, as everyone wanted to get a radio. At the end of the day, 400 radios were distributed at various locations around the city.
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Things got a little hectic, as everyone wanted to get a radio. At the end of the day, 400 radios were distributed at various locations around the city.

The radio can also be used to charge mobile phones, a functionality that is particularly useful to people living in areas without electricity. A shepherd told us that "now I will buy mobile phone because I can charge it with this radio! There is no electricity in the desert where I am stationed with my animals."
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The radio can also be used to charge mobile phones, a functionality that is particularly useful to people living in areas without electricity. A shepherd told us that "now I will buy mobile phone because I can charge it with this radio! There is no electricity in the desert where I am stationed with my animals."

Farmers in Oruzgan province.
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Farmers in Oruzgan province.

"I can’t watch TV, but I love Radio Azadi. I am happy that I will be able to listen to it regularly now." Girls at the Herat Blind Association.
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"I can’t watch TV, but I love Radio Azadi. I am happy that I will be able to listen to it regularly now." Girls at the Herat Blind Association.

Demand far outstripped supply. There were rarely enough radios for everybody: “Thanks for the radios, but there are too few! Look at how many people did not get one,” said a resident of Helmand.
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Demand far outstripped supply. There were rarely enough radios for everybody: “Thanks for the radios, but there are too few! Look at how many people did not get one,” said a resident of Helmand.

Radio Azadi’s bureau chief Amin Mudaqiq, who coordinated the project, hopes that there will be more initiatives of this kind in the future: “With 20,000 radios, we are giving 20,000 people a chance to connect more easily with their government and their surroundings, regionally and beyond. This is a small but important contribution to supporting a well-informed citizenry, which is so important for the future development of our country.”
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Radio Azadi’s bureau chief Amin Mudaqiq, who coordinated the project, hopes that there will be more initiatives of this kind in the future: “With 20,000 radios, we are giving 20,000 people a chance to connect more easily with their government and their surroundings, regionally and beyond. This is a small but important contribution to supporting a well-informed citizenry, which is so important for the future development of our country.”

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