Working on a USAID project, a young woman establishes a platform to bring together fellow broadcasters in support of municipal programs
12 MARCH 2012 | HELMAND, AFGHANISTAN
After anchoring “Our City, Our Home,” a radio show made possible by USAID’s Regional Afghan Municipalities Program for Urban Populations (RAMP UP)-South, Ozra Ahmady found her voice, as well as a platform to promote citizen engagement in municipal services.
A journalism graduate from Kabul University, Ozra worked part-time jobs in radio and television stations to pay for her education. When she joined the USAID project staff in her hometown of Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province, she anchored a radio program for the women-run Radio Muska dedicated to communicating municipal messages to citizens. Ozra co-anchored segments with members of women’s shura to reach out to home-bound women in Helmand. She blazed the trail by inviting a famous mullah, Ahmad Mukhtar from the Ministry of Haj and Religious affairs for an interview on the topic of “Should men assist their wives at home?” The program was a memorable public broadcast segment in one of the most conservative, male-dominated regions in Afghanistan.
Weeks after the last episode, 23-year old Ozra led a workshop for women broadcasters to emphasize media’s social responsibility, and invoked their commitment to support municipality-led programs. Together with 20 other women, Ozra is currently working on a new project -establishment of the Women’s Press Center and Women’s Journalist Association in Helmand Province.
“Ozra’s work is a realization of her dream,” says Rashia Boluch, a member of the Provincial Council of Helmand, “Her work brought us all together.”
Ozra also does advocacy work with women and leads outreach campaigns. Currently based at the Municipal Office of Lashkar Gah, Ozra can claim a place in history as the first woman to have worked in the municipality’s public office. Her fortitude and determination to work in a traditionally male-dominated field makes her a role model for every woman and girl in Lashkar Gah.
Last updated: January 12, 2015