iMedia is involved in two major projects which launched in Autumn 2011 – Pakhto Voices in Pakistan and the Nigeria Stability and Reconstruction Programme (NSRP). Both are conflict transformation projects, and both are likely to involve a full range of media from radio programming to SMS and social media.
Pakhto Voices is a partnership with PEPL – Popular Engagement Policy Lab Ltd – a small British company focusing on post-conflict research and communication. iMedia’s role is to oversee the production of four weekly Pakhto (Pashto) language radio programmes that will provide coverage of Pakhtun society in the border areas of Afghanistan that would not otherwise be available to local listeners.
These half-hour programmes will chart the massive shifts in Pakhtun society brought about by violent extremism and conflict in recent years. They will share solutions to common problems, and connect communities through a combination of radio programming, a monthly print magazine and SMS and voicemail feedback. This is very much an audience driven project that uses PEPL’s rolling research to allow Pakhto Voices’ journalists to follow up on issues that most concern people. The project’s initial stage runs until April 2012, with a planned two-year extension.
Nadene Ghouri is the lead consultant for iMedia in Pakhto Voices. She and Gordon Adam selected experienced radio and print media staff, who hit the ground running and prepared the first editions of the programmes within a month of being appointed. This is a Pakistani-led project, under the auspices of a new local company, Raabta Consultants.
The Nigeria Stability and Reconstruction Programme
NSRP is a DFID-funded six-year programme led by the British Council. iMedia will provide the communications component. Ambitious in scale, it has a number of challenging objectives. Firstly, to reduce injuries and death caused by violent conflict in the North, the Middle Belt and the Niger Delta regions of Nigeria. Secondly, to increase civic engagement using new approaches to promote peaceful resolution of conflicts and violence against women, while at the same time strengthening women’s contribution in peace building. And thirdly, to improve conflict early warning systems and create swifter response capacity among state and non-state actors in Nigeria.
From November 2011, iMedia is spending the first year researching the most appropriate use of media to achieve these goals as part of the programme planning process. It is expected that the advances made by iMedia and its partners in interactive communication in Pakistan and Afghanistan will provide a fruitful source of ideas for this exciting new project.