Italian Government and UNESCO Collaborate on “Radio Education” Project for Marginalized Areas in Pakistan
Islamabad: A new agreement between the Italian Government and UNESCO has been signed in Islamabad, Pakistan, focusing on the “Radio Education” project. With a budget of 990,000 Euros, the initiative aims to provide alternative educational tools to reach students and teachers in remote areas. H. E Andreas Ferrarese, Ambassador of Italy in Pakistan, and Dr. Youssef Filali-Meknassi, UNESCO Pakistan Country Representative, signed the agreement, with Mr. Francesco Zatta, AICS Islamabad Head of Office, in attendance.
The “Radio Education” project builds upon successful practices developed within the “Support to Girls Right of Education and Safeguarding Cultural Heritage through Education in Pakistan,” funded by the Italian Government and implemented by UNESCO. This initiative, which began during the COVID-19 pandemic when schools were closed and remote learning was challenging, disseminated educational programs through radio and TV, the only available media in marginalized areas. Titled “Radio – My best friend” and targeting students in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades, the programs received support from local broadcasters and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). Recognizing its impact, a new phase of the project focuses on further training for teachers, expanding to other primary school grades, and addressing the high dropout rates.
The “Radio Education – My best friend” project will benefit students in six districts across Pakistan, incorporating the involvement of local communities and the Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) to promote local cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible. Ambassador Ferrarese expressed satisfaction with this Italian commitment, underscoring UNESCO’s role in preserving Pakistani cultural heritage and promoting sustainable development. UNESCO Country Representative Filali-Mekhnassi expressed gratitude and emphasized the support for a vibrant Pakistani culture that cherishes heritage and encourages new forms of expression, fostering a richer cultural life in Pakistan that celebrates national identity and enhances understanding among its people.