This radio drama has been created by British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Afghan Education Projects (AEP) to address rapidly expanding urban populations in Afghanistan. "Old City, New Dreams" aims to engage with urban migrants who face problems such as unemployment, high cost of living, lack of infrastructure, and inadequate service provision.
This initiative draws on "edutaining" radio programming to share information about the socio-economic and political issues specific to life in an urban environment, modelling positive coping strategies for dealing with urban-based problems. Broadcast in Dari and Pashto on the BBC World Service Afghan Stream, "Old City, New Dreams" aims to engage urban dwellers by focusing on content that is based on their needs and that reflects the reality of their lives.
According to the BBC, Afghanistan is witnessing a rapid rural to urban migration, particularly among younger generations. Kabul, for example, is a city built for 300,000; however, even conservative estimates put the current population of the capital at 3 million. Furthermore, despite an increasingly diverse media environment, very few programmes designed for youth offer more than music and news. BBC also explains that, 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.
Established by the BBC World Service Trust (WST) in 1994, AEP works to provide practical information to refugees and internally displaced people, as well as to the rural population of Afghanistan. Run by Afghans for Afghans, this media-for-development project provides a range of informative and educational programming for audiences of all ages.
BBC WST website, accessed March 5 2009.