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Afghanistan Week

“So, a lot of Norwegian organisations host Afghanistan-related events in the course of a year. What if we can get them to gather it all in the space of one week and call it Afghanistan Week? That way, we would get maximum effect and visibility for Afghanistan.”

Reaching out despite few staff

NAC operates with the theory that if the Norwegian public and politicians are informed and understand Afghanistan’s blights, they are more likely to show solidarity with the Afghan people. The challenge is: how do we reach out with information to our key audiences with only two permanent staff in Norway, and volunteers who also have jobs and other duties that take up their time?

Working together for maximum effect

To counter the limitations of the small overhead operation in Norway, NAC has focused on strategic alliances with partners with similar interests and ambitions. This was the basic idea for Afghanistan Week, which has now been held two times: in March 2014 and 2015.NAC worked together with two of Norway’s top research institutions in the field, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), and the Chr. Michelsen’s Institute (CMI) in Bergen, who joined NAC as the main organisers. NAC also invited the network of Norwegian NGOs working in or with Afghanistan, to contribute, which they did. Other partners joined in along the way. Several Afghan guests were invited to the events, some big names like Nader Nadery, others up and coming like Shaharzad Akbar.

The results: astounding

“Ah, so that’s why Afghanistan has been so much in the media these last days!” exclaimed a friend to one of the Oslo staff when hearing about Afghanistan Week 2015. In Norway, media coverage on Afghanistan has been in decline since 2010. Other places and other issues have captured the headlines. But this week, Afghanistan again captures the front pages, the feature interviews and prime broadcasting time on tv and radio, with varied, in-depth coverage on Afghanistan, rather than just short notices on violent acts. Afghanistan experts, both Norwegian and visiting, get interviewed by almost every national media in Norway in the course of the week.

We know that we reach out to the right people, because we see them there. Not only are the events well attended by the general public, but there is also a solid representation of high-ranking Norwegian diplomats and other officials working on Afghanistan. In addition, the Afghan guests have meetings with key parliamentarians, the ministry of foreign affairs and the director of the Norwegian agency for development cooperation, Norad. 

Norwegian Afghanistan Committee
Addresse:  Nawai Watt, Street # 03 •  Postal addresse:
work # 148 Shahr-i-Naw, KabulAfghanistan

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