An Information Lifeline to Afghanistan
Journalist Edward Girardet has spent over three decades reporting from humanitarian and conflict zones in Africa, Asia and elsewhere. Girardet first began covering Afghanistan several months prior to the Soviet invasion in 1979 and sees the need now more than ever to effectively communicate the history behind the country’s years of war and destruction and explain why so few aid efforts have actually led to positive change. Girardet maintains that only with solid reporting and appropriate transparency can ordinary Afghans hope to benefit from genuine recovery efforts.
Girardet publishes The Essential Field Guide for Afghanistan, a print and digital resource that collects hard-to-find information about a country and a war that is too often out of sight in mainstream media. The guide includes articles on Afghan politics, health, culture and history along with basic logistical information.
Girardet and co-editor William Dowell have recently published a fourth edition of the guide and the editors have commissioned fully revised essays and infobriefs to reflect the new realities in the spheres of security, humanitarian aid and reconstruction. A new element inspired by Giradet’s work with the Fetzer Institute features Afghanistan initiatives that are making a difference and succeeding against all odds.
Projects like Kabul at Work, a media outlet that provides an extraordinary glimpse into the people who make the Afghan capital work and Skateistan, an effort to bring skateboarding to the youth of Afghanistan while building tolerance and civil behavior based on trust. These positive stories demonstrate the resiliency of the Afghans and their desire to form their own future. They also illustrate the powerful impact that is a result of authentic and compassionate collaboration between Afghans and foreign advocates.
The EFG series arose when the United Nations, NGOs and others involved with Afghanistan during the late 1990s realized there was no practical and quick reference handbook on the country and its ongoing conflict and humanitarian situation.
This is a project of the Fetzer Advisory Council on Information and Communications.