Documentary series to shed light on achievements and challenges in Afghanistan

10 Sep 2012

Documentary series to shed light on achievements and challenges in Afghanistan

KABUL - A new documentary series produced by United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) aims to portray the overlooked contributions and fragile gains made in Afghanistan over the past ten years of international presence. Called “Ten Years On”, the twelve-part documentary series will begin airing on Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA) in September. The production of these documentaries comes at a unique moment, with Afghan forces taking on more security functions and the country embarking on the “transformation decade”.

“Our aim is to objectively and in a balanced way investigate what has happened in the past ten years in Afghanistan, and what remains to be done, where there has been success to give credit, and where challenges remain to offer solutions,” said Massoumeh Torfeh, the Director of Strategic Communication and Spokespersons Unit (SCSU). “We will hear from relevant government officials, UN agencies and funds, and the international community as well as independent experts.” The subjects chosen are from UNAMA’s mandate as approved by the Security Council in March 2012, but they also form everyday issues in Afghanistan.

The first documentary addresses social welfare and unemployment, reflecting the UN’s commitment to sustainable economic growth. Here the documentary investigates why despite all international efforts unemployment continues to be a major cause for concern. The second documentary examines the ongoing issue of concern: violence against women. It is directed by Alka Sadat, a young female Afghan director whose documentary about Maria Bashir, the prosecutor for Herat province, won awards at film festival around the world. “We have tried to draw on a variety of Afghan talent,” says Massoumeh Torfeh. The series is directed by some of the best young Afghan documentary makers and produced in conjunction with Radio TV Afghanistan (RTA). The researcher for the documentaries is Sediq Zaliq, a senior journalist for Afghanistan Today and a former Deputy Chief Editor for Kabul Weekly.

“Our work combines capacity building, cooperation with RTA and support for young talents in Afghanistan,” says Massoumeh Torfeh.

Later episodes will look at the participation of women in the political process, protection of civilians in armed conflict, good governance, elections and electoral institutions, media development, and human rights with a special focus on the rights of women and children, plus two documentaries on the peace process in Afghanistan. It is hoped that the series will bring to public discussion and debate concerns that people of Afghanistan have about the past ten years and their critical view of the role of the Government and the international community.

These documentaries represent part of UNAMA’s campaign to communicate with the people of Afghanistan. Later this year SCSU will also launch a TV and radio drama serial called “Our Street”. This serial will “draw on UNAMA’s mandate subjects weaving them into the drama storyline trying to create debate and discussion on daily issues whether social, cultural or political,” says Ms. Torfeh. It also offers practical information on where and how people can find help and support when facing these everyday problems. The serial advisor is the prize winning film director of Afghanistan, Siddiq Barmak. “We are honored that Siddiq Barmak, who is also a UNAMA Peace Ambassador, has offered us so much support and advice on getting these projects off the ground.”