An Afghan woman waits for customers during farmers day at an agriculture fair in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, March 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

VOA Afghan radio show helps women obtain business loans

Several Afghan women were able to apply and receive business loans thanks to VOA’s Dari/Pashto radio show.

A recent broadcast of the popular show for women, NajibaNoshaba, featured guest Guljan Zmarai, head of the Afghan Women’s Business Federation. During the show, a large number of women called in, asking how they could get small loans to start their own businesses. Zmarai was able to provide them with detailed information on the membership and loan application process and provided callers with her direct telephone number for those in need of assistance. Dari/Pashto radio says at least eight listeners had received loans as a result of their broadcast.

Dari/Pashto radio airs a weekly, mixed language call-in radio program dedicated to Afghan women. NajibaNoshaba launched in 2014 with the goal of getting Afghan women to take part in civic debates and on-air discussions of issues that affect their lives. The show’s hosts, Najiba Salam and Noshaba Ashna, are both women, along with its producer, Nagis Zalmai.

They have adopted the motto: “No men allowed,” to encourage women to call in to the show. Rather than focusing on macro issues, such as women’s rights, which might come across as dry and abstract, they decided to focus on issues that women struggled with in their daily lives: health care, literacy, and economic opportunities. By the third month of the show, they had fielded more than a dozen calls per show from once-improbable places: Uruzgan, Khost, Helmand – the Taliban heartland.

The hour-long broadcasts can be heard every Tuesday across Afghanistan.