We have consistently recognized that an educated and informed Afghan public is essential to fostering Afghan ownership of the development process. With this in mind, Development and Humanitarian Services (DHSA) founded its non-profit media wing Killid, which translates to “the key”. Our vision was to create a media organization dedicated to educating and informing the most underserved communities across Afghanistan. The conception of Killid resulted from the synergy between people who understand the importance of investing in Afghan media and a belief that all Afghans deserve equal access to information.
We began with Killid magazine, a weekly magazine discussing news, current affairs, and topics that interest Afghans. The writing was in simple Dari and Pashto to make it more accessible. We founded Killid on March 21st, 2002, the first day of Nawroz (New Year) in Afghanistan, to symbolize a new era.
We distributed the first print run of Killid magazine in Mazar-i-Sharif, Balkh, home to the Sakhi Shrine visited by hundreds of thousands of Afghans on the first day of Nawroz. We also distributed the magazine on routes along the way in Baghlan, Parwan, and Kabul provinces. We charged 2 Afghanis for each copy, not to cover costs but as a symbolic gesture of our belief that Afghans should invest in local media.
With Killid magazine, we pioneered printing and distributing outside of Kabul province. We established 600 distribution points in all 34 provinces within eight months. On International Women’s Day in 2003, we founded Mursal magazine, a women’s weekly magazine dedicated to covering issues of importance for Afghan women and families. When we founded Killid magazine, we had a weekly print run of 5,000, which increased to 25,000 magazines. We began Mursal with a weekly print run of 17,000 magazines. Our ambition was to reach as many Afghans as possible. However, due to financial constraints, we had to be strategic. As such, we prioritized distribution in provincial centers and other major cities and towns.
Decades of war and instability have deprived many Afghans of seeking formal education, resulting in a country with a low literacy rate. We knew that to reach more people and promote equal access to information, we had to turn to Afghanistan’s most inclusive news format. So on August 19th (Afghan Independence Day) in 2003, we launched Radio Killid in Kabul province. We founded Radio Killid Herat two years later, on August 19th, 2005.
By 2018, we ramped down the print news division at Killid for three reasons. Firstly, we recognized we could reach a much wider audience through the Radio Killid Network, our website, and our social media platforms. Secondly, with the increase in cellular internet penetration rates across Afghanistan, many Afghans have access to and prefer to get their news from social media. Therefore, to adapt to a societal shift in news consumption, we decided to shift our focus to broadcast and digital. Last and perhaps most importantly, we recognized the significant impact it would have on helping us reduce our ecological footprint.
Presently, we have ten radio stations, namely in the provinces of Kabul, Baghlan, Kunduz, Balkh, Herat, Nimroz, Kandahar, Ghazni, Nangarhar, and Khost, which make up the Radio Killid Network. We also currently have 32 affiliated radio stations across Afghanistan in our network. Due to the strategic locations of our radio stations, our content is accessible to a third of Afghanistan’s population. At Radio Killid, our unique blend of public service programming–cultural, political, humanitarian awareness, developmental, and educational–news, entertainment, and music reaches millions of listeners. In addition, our original programs and public service announcements are shared with our network’s affiliated radio stations throughout Afghanistan for rebroadcast for free.
Over the years, we have been a trusted partner of international donor agencies, NGOs, and foreign diplomatic missions, including the European Union, UNICEF, UNDP, USAID, and International Rescue Committee for provincial and national public service campaigns on issues ranging from children’s rights, youth engagement, public health, and elections.
We founded Killid at a time when Afghanistan had a fledgling free press. We have since cemented our position as one of the guardians of Afghanistan’s rich local media. We take immense pride in the hard work our journalists and the entire team at the Killid Group have put into advancing press freedom in Afghanistan.
Moving forward, Killid will continue to uplift the most underserved, impoverished, and isolated communities across Afghanistan. We founded Killid with the mission to promote equal access to information, but beyond that, we want to give these communities a voice.Therefore, Killid will focus on developing its investigative journalism division, researching issues such as domestic violence, women’s rights, and environmental and social protection.