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Reaching the Unreached Through Radio – An Uks-PANOS Initiative

Lyari’s young women speak out about girls’ education, garbage and early marriages in a series for radio, ‘Awaaz Hamari Quwat’

KARACHI, March 7: ‘Of women, for women’ and most importantly ‘by women’ – this is how one can describe a radio programme launched in Karachi at a hotel on March 7th 2011, a day before the International Women’s Day. Awaaz Hamari Quwat is a series of 10 radio programmes produced as part of the project ‘Reaching the Unreached through radio’, featuring the voices of young women from Lyari on issues that are important to their lives – girls’ education, women’s health, pollution, the impact of drug addiction, and early marriages.

Though these are voices of the women of Lyari, their stories will resonate among women across Pakistan.

Awaaz Hamari Quwat brings together Panos Pakistan and Uks Radio Project as partners with Ilm-o-Huner, a non-formal school and vocational training centre in Lyari’s Khadda Memon Society, where the 25 girls who produced the series are enrolled in secondary school and in training courses. The series was produced with support by OXFAM (Novib).

Since May 2010, this dynamic group of 30 young women has learned how to use voice recorders to record interviews, vox pops, oral testimonies and discussions with women, young and old - and a few cooperartive men - from their neighbourhood. The young women are between 15 – 25 years of age, many of them having resumed their studies at Ilm-o-Huner after an early marriage disrupted them. 

The series has been produced by Uks Radio Project and has aired on an FM channel in Karachi.


Project Details

Background of the Project:
Reaching the Unreached was a year-long project in which Panos trained about 30 girls from a non-formal education and training centre, Ilm-o-Huner, in Lyari’s Khadda Memon Society (UC4), Karachi, in radio production. The radio team of about 30 girls produced a series of 10 episodes of a radio programme on issues of concern to women and girls of the community, with a focus on reproductive health. The radio programme were broadcast on a local FM radio station.

Training in Radio Production May 11-14, 2010
In May 2010, Panos’ key partner in this activity, Uks Radio Project, conducted four-day trainings for 20 girls between the ages of 14 – 21 in producing a series of radio programmes on issues of importance to their lives. Among the issues identified are

  • girls’ education
  • women’s health
  • pollution/urban environment
  • water (availability/scarcity)
  • drug addiction and the impact of this on women’s lives
  • gender discrimination
  • inflation
  • women’s use of public transport (harassment etc.)


Following the training, in which girls were given audio recorders, and taught how to use them to carry out and record interviews, vox pops and ambient sound, the girls spent four months learning to use the recorders to collect ‘voices’ for their radio programmes. During the workshop, Uks and Panos helped the girls develop a programme grid and assign topics to each participant. Over the summer, Panos and Uks paid periodic visits to Lyari and met with the girls to assess their progress, listen to their recordings, and provide on-the-spot feedback and guidance on technical aspects as well as on content.
Refresher Training – September 16-18 and November 1-5
In September, a three-day refresher training workshop was scheduled to further assess progress and provide additional training in any aspects of recording or interviewing which the girls had difficulty with. This training had to be cancelled after the first day because of violence in Karachi. The next and final refresher training was scheduled for November 1 – 5 where the girls were given intensive training in interviewing (left over from the cancelled training earlier) and in using Adobe Audition editing software to edit their recordings. Girls also practiced script-writing and presentation, and chose a team of 6 scriptwriters for the series as well as a presenter. A technical team was also put together, based on the trainer’s assessment of the girls’ ability to work with the software, to start putting together the various episodes of the series.

During November-December, Uks supervised the completion of all the recordings and began finalizing episodes. In January 2011, Uks Karachi office was formally opened equipped with up-to-date studio facilities and in February, the finalization of the radio programmes took place in Karachi and at Islamabad studio's for mix downs. Broadcast commenced sometime in March once all the episodes were ready-to-air.


Project’s Key Individuals

Social Sector Support Service  (the NGO that runs Ilm-o-Huner)

Abdullah Khadim Hussain            
Syed Afsar Rizvi                               


Uks Radio Project

Tasneem Ahmer                             
Saadia Haq                                         


Panos Pakistan

Natasha R Qamar                           
Sahar Ali