Step By Step: Informing and Empowering Tribal Pakistan

Equal Access Pakistan distributes radio sets to vocational and technical education students as part of the youth engagement program.

Equal Access has created a new type of ‘behavior change’ radio program that offers Pakistanis living in tribal areas a community-focused alternative to the propaganda currently dominating the airwaves through illegal FM broadcasts by militants. “Kadam Pa Kadam” is an innovative Pashto-language show that includes panel discussions, news updates, one-on-one interviews, storytelling, songs, and a serial drama to discuss and promote the Government of Pakistan’s development priorities in the tribal belt.

“Kadam Pa Kadam” utilizes respected local voices to communicate to tribal populations by blending “news you can use” with time-honored traditions of storytelling through drama, music and poetry. This type of nuanced, culturally sensitive program embraces the unique elements of Pashto culture, customs, and history, providing a credible and trusted local flavor to the message content.

The programming includes:

  • Namar Pa Chinrono – A serial drama on women’s education with first-hand testimony and personal stories of people from FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
  • Zama Kalay Zama Koor – A panel discussion focusing on youth.
  • Ledal Kathal – A feature on culture.
  •  A Kayabay Safar – A panel discussion with doctors focusing on health issues in FATA and KP.
  •  Amail – An audience response segment.
  • News You Can Use – Practical information to help citizens access important public services and promote security & livelihood improvement. Notifications of employment opportunities; crop price updates; scholarship opportunities; and weather & security updates. Advice on accessing public health services and guidance to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) on how to obtain public assistance and donor services.

Produced in Peshawar by our talented local team, more than 765 episodes of the 30-minute show have aired on PBC-Radio Peshawar since the first broadcast in March 2009. The show is produced by Umar Nasir, a veteran radio producer and winner of the President of Pakistan’s Award for Excellence. The programming blends traditional and innovative approaches to deliver messages emphasizing the positive aspects of progress & development (such as job creation, respect for human rights and women’s rights within the context of Islam, tolerance in religion, improved livelihoods, agricultural development, safe health & hygiene practices, education for all and civic participation).

According to a recent public opinion survey conducted in FATA by SEBCON LTD, “Kadam Pa Kadam” is growing in popularity and has succeeded in producing nuanced radio content that offers a viable alternative to extremist messaging by advocating for the real needs of the underserved tribal population. The results of the SEBCON survey are consistent with additional anecdotal evidence compiled from feedback gathered from phone calls, letters and SMS text messages. Using SMS and mobile technology we are engaging our listeners through polling and surveys, increasing dialogue, gathering valuable information from our audience and creating programming tailored to address their needs and interests.

Equal Access has also formed 20 listening groups including 8 women’s groups in FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. These groups gather to listen to radio episodes and discuss the issues and themes presented within the context of their daily lives as well as to identify changes they can make within their families and communities.

Success Story

Dreaming of Peace