ASPIRE: Engaging Citizens & Their Leaders in Dialogue on Human Rights

The ASPIRE (Afghanistan Supporting Islamic Human Rights Education) project is an innovative combination of radio programming, leadership training and civil society networking. ASPIRE brings local religious leaders and government officials in eight provinces together to initiate community conversations about the connections between human rights, tolerance and civic responsibilities within an Islamic context and with relevance to the Afghan Constitution. Through two training sessions – human rights and media and communication skills, participants learn how to take part in and lead community forums that connect Islamic principles with human rights, tolerance and civic responsibilities. They also learn to promote moderate Islamic ideas through the media – predominantly radio – and in the public sphere. Following the provincial-based trainings, participants lead a roundtable discussion on various human rights topics attended by representatives from civil society, local government and local media. The forums are recorded and packaged into entertaining and informative programs which serve as a platform for moderate Islamic leaders to get their voices heard with a view to influencing national dialogue on the multiple and complex issues that Afghanistan faces today.

This local and national radio broadcast complements the roundtable forums in order to reach the general public who are not able to attend. Each broadcast captures audio from the roundtable sessions, questions from attendees, voices of citizens on the street, inquiries from the local media, and interviews with Islamic leaders and government officials responding to citizens’ concerns.

The ASPIRE project creates opportunities for engagement between religious leaders, local government officials and civil society representatives in an attempt to bridge the gap between the national government and its citizens on human rights, particularly their compatibility with the Afghan Constitution and Islamic principles, to strengthen national unity. ASPIRE is supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

Success Story

Human Rights in Islam


Media Links

Audio Listen to a short English translated episode of the ASPIRE program