** AINA**, a French organization founded by photojournalist Reza Deghati, fosters strong civil societies and empowers citizens of conflict and post-conflict areas through media training, publishing, information, and communication. 10x10 is inspired by AINA’s work in Afghanistan on behalf of children’s media and literacy. 10x10 will be traveling to Afghanistan this summer in preparation for filming one of our stories there.
While Afghanistan has been in and out of the international media’s spotlight for decades, its people have struggled to raise their own voice above the din of war. Weapons have seemingly replaced cameras, microphones, and pens as a means of expression, and women and children, in particular, have been brutally repressed by the violent regimes of competing warlords, the Taliban, and extremists.
Since 2001, AINA has been working to provide Afghanis with an outlet for their stories and perspectives. They have trained over 1,000 women and men in media and communication skills, with more than 90 percent now employed using these skills. Beyond providing a means of expression, AINA contributes to a growing, public conversation in Afghanistan and has focused on using these channels to reach the illiterate population with information and an informal education.
AINA’s work now includes eight publications, including two women’s magazines and one children’s magazine, Parvaz, which reach millions. Over one-million Afghanis have viewed thirty AINA-produced mobile educational films, and their female-led radio stations broadcast across the country. In 2005, the first AINA-produced documentary, which was done by an all-female team, was nominated for an Emmy. All of AINA’s efforts are meant to create sustainable media enterprises that are locally produced, managed and staffed.
As Reza has put it, “educated children and an independent media in Afghanistan represent a vastly more powerful force in the battle against extremism, oppression and intolerance, than any army.” We are excited to join AINA in building this movement.
Photo sources: AINA, National Geographic, Ashoka