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Promoting Democracy by Strengthening the Media - Deutsche Welle

Promoting Democracy by Strengthening the Media - Deutsche Welle

Eberhard

Eberhard Sucker

SCENES FROM THE EVERYDAY LIFE OF A PROJECT MANAGER Pioneering Work: Making the Impossible Possible When the Deutsche Welle AKADEMIE team arrived at RTA headquarters in Kabul, it en- countered a bleak situation. There were no suitable rooms for training, no studio deco- ration, not even professional TV equipment. Despite these conditions, the aim was clear: putting our Afghan colleagues in a position to independently produce a news program that conformed to western standards. The project manager, Michael Tecklenburg, relates how the team succeeded in helping their Afghan colleagues to help themselves, despite the difficult conditions. It was a hearty welcome at Radio Television Afghanistan in Kabul, in those early days of July 2005. Regardless of whom I had to deal with, all were full of praise for the friendship between Germany and Afghanistan and their traditionally good relations. I was to spend eighteen months here, working with my colleagues to set up the international newsroom. But it wasn’t long before a dull, everyday project routine set in. Weeks of tea-drinking, planning and organization went by before the actual courses could begin. When they finally did get started, we realized that some department managers did not appear to be taking the project seriously. They repeatedly tried to withdraw their former employees from the training courses so that they could return to work in their own departments. MICHAEL TECKLENBURG Project manager Michael Tecklenburg at work Then some trainees demanded higher salaries from RTA and went on strike. In the end, the group had shrunk to the extent that it was clear to all of us: if we kept going like this, we would never be able to build a strong enough team for a newsroom. Help came from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. Its branch in Kabul put up some grants and that 23

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