For one Afghan girl journalism prevails over medicine
25 October 2009 - She has her two legs firmly on two different boats – journalism – and the other is the hope of her parents – to be a medical doctor.
Ultimately, 19-year-old Faza Noorzai thinks, her choice will prevail in her long-term career.
“My parents are very happy that I will become a doctor,” beamed Ms Noorzai.
“And, I am happy that I am already a journalist.”
Though her family didn’t force her to join the medical faculty, she added, it is their hope that she becomes a doctor, not a journalist.
Ms Noorzai goes to the private Ariana University in Jalalabad every afternoon for her medical course.
But, it is Sharq Radio and Nargis Radio – run by the Shaiq Media Network – where she starts her day at 7:30am and works as a newscaster and a reporter until 1pm before heading to the university.
She again returns to her office in the evening for an hour to record evening news bulletins.
“I am very happy that I use all my time and don’t waste any bit of it,” said Ms Noorzai, at a journalism training course in Jalalabad, organised by the Afghan media development NGO Nai.
She didn’t want to be photographed due to cultural sensitivities.
The training was supported by Internews, an international media development organization that supports local media worldwide.
About 20 journalists from four eastern provinces of Afghanistan – Nangarhar, Kunar, Laghman and Nuristan – participated in the training that had sessions on Afghanistan’s electoral system, the situation of the Afghan media, different ways to develop news-based events into different kinds of features, news writing and role play among others.
The Jalalabad leg of the training was the last in a series of trainings organized across the country in the first three weeks of October.
More than 160 journalists were trained in Mazar-i-Sharif, Herat, Kabul, Kandahar, Bamyan and Jalalabad.
According to Jan Forrester, the Media Training Consultant with Internews, with the aim of honing the journalistic skills of journalists like Ms Noorzai, Internews and Nai are currently working on establishing journalism training hubs in Mazar-i-Sharif, the central highlands and Jalalabad within the next six months.
Ms Forrester said the Internews trainings don’t just end inside training rooms, rather it begins there.
“Learning doesn’t always happen in the training room,” she said. “It (training) is also the coaching afterwards. It’s quite valuable.”
Post-training coaching was an integral part of a series of pre-20 August election trainings conducted by Nai, with support from Internews.
Ms Forrester said the manager of a radio station in Herat, Farya, called the Internews trainers to ask about how to conduct a pre-election roundtable with the provincial Governor, among others.
“Some trainers received phone calls and emails asking to check their writings,” said Ms Forrester.
Mohibullah Wakilzada, a journalist from Nuristan, and Mohibullah Moheb from Laghman, who received the training in Jalalabad, said they have now learnt more skills.
“The media in Nuristan are weak and they need to be empowered,” said Mr Wakilzada, who works for the Kalagoosh Radio.
Mr Moheb chipped in: “Very few journalists are here (in the training hall). There are several others outside. I hope they can also participate in future trainings.”
By Tilak Pokharel, UNAMA