Afghanistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world – and this is especially true for women. Female literacy levels are on average 17%, with high variation, indicating a strong geographical and gender divide. Rates as low as 1.6% are found in two southern provinces of the country. Women continue to be the number one victims of the country’s 30 years of warfare.

NGOs like the ZALAAN Foundation are trying to change this. ZALAAN is a nonprofit organization operated by Afghan volunteers from around the world. The Foundation promotes access to education and literacy, creates educational content and develops software applications to help the underprivileged and war-affected communities in Afghanistan work towards a brighter future.

The ZALAAN team of volunteers are currently working to translate Audiopedia content to Pashto. Audiopedia contains vital information about health, family, work and much more. This information is translated in text format, and will subsequently be converted to audio. Once it is ready, it will then be distributed using Qwifi and Audiopedia player devices in rural Afghanistan, especially in marginalized communities. Qwifi is a simple, accessible and cheap technology that can provide free audiovisual content to marginalized populations. It can be used in any scenario where information and knowledge transfer is required and where parts of the target audience have access to smartphones. Qwifi serves the content by creating a local Wifi network, without the need of any internet connection and independently from the electric grid.

Trusted local community influencers identified by ZALAAN will help distribute the Qwifi devices to community based literacy groups, libraries, schools and other NGOs actively promoting literacy in rural Afghanistan. Audiopedia and ZALAAN rely on volunteers’ support to help translate this vital content to Pashto, and bring the Qwifi device to Afghanistan. Our collective efforts will help provide vital information that can save lives and promote healthy and educated communities in rural Afghanistan. Please volunteer today to help translate Audiopedia to Pashto!

Marcel Heyne

Founder of Audiopedia and director of URIDU. URIDU is a German NGO that is providing illiterate rural women with vital knowledge.