Islamabad: A new agreement has been signed today between the Italian Government and UNESCO for a project titled “Radio Education”.
Thanks to a 990,000 Euro budget, it aims to target children in some of the most remote areas of Pakistan through alternative educational tools to reach students and teachers.
Andreas Ferrarese, Ambassador of Italy in Pakistan and Dr. Youssef Filali-Meknassi, UNESCO Pakistan Country Representative, signed the agreement, acknowledged by Mr. Francesco Zatta, AICS Islamabad Head of Office.
“Radio Education” has been designed to expand some of the best practices learned within the framework of the “Support to Girls Right of Education and Safeguarding Cultural Heritage through education in Pakistan”, funded by the Italian Government and implemented by UNESCO, currently in its final phase.
During the observance of lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic, the closure of schools and difficulties in adopting remote learning techniques limited educational activities, pushing UNESCO and AICS to choose educational programmes that were disseminated by radio and TV, the only media available in these marginalized territories. With the title “Radio – My best friend”, targeting kids in 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades, these radio and TV programmes were implemented thanks to local broadcasters’ support and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). Its impact was profoundly recognized, leading to a new project focused towards enhancing this initiative through additional trainings for teachers, extension to other primary school grades and targeted activities to monitor the alarming dropout rate.
The beneficiaries of the “Radio Education – My best friend” project shall be students from six districts in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (Kohistan, Mohmand, Swat), Sindh (Tharparkar) and Baluchistan (Ziarat, Jaffarabad). They will be benefiting from an approach that combines involvement of local communities and the support provided by the Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI). This methodology is critical for the integration of educational modules along with interactive activities aimed at promoting local cultural heritage, tangible and intangible, sometimes ignored by communities of beneficiaries.
Ambassador Ferrarese showed great satisfaction for this new Italian commitment. AICS Islamabad Head of Office stressed on the importance of this opportunity, saying that UNESCO represents “a key partner to support Pakistani cultural heritage safeguard, a sustainable development tool that AICS wishes to promote”. UNESCO Country Representative Filali-Mekhnassi highlighted gratitude and said that “UNESCO Islamabad office with the support of AICS is ready to support a vibrant Pakistani culture, that is true to its past and looks to the future by cherishing heritage and unleashing new and inspiring forms of expression for all through a flourishing of arts and culture across Pakistan that enriches lives, celebrates national identity and builds understanding between people.”
The Italian Agency for Development Cooperation has been established by Law in 2014 to finance, implement and monitor development projects and humanitarian aid programmes funded by the Italian Government in several development countries. In 2023, AICS works through 19 regional and national offices fostering partnership with local authorities, Italian civil society organizations, international and local organizations and a wide range of stakeholders.
AICS Islamabad is funding several initiatives adopting the Theory of Change approach to achieve 2 specific results: (i) Protection of cultural and natural heritage increased and economic opportunities and job creation linked to culture and sustainable and responsible tourism are supported, (ii) capacity strengthened for recovery and adaptation to risks related to climate and natural disasters.