Building Democracy in Afghanistan
In 2003, Pete McLain and Charles Madinger were early employees at an NGO startup called Voice for Humanity. VFH had invented a digital audio player intended for churches to use in their missions efforts. Unfortunately, no one was showing interest. The first free and fair democratic elections in the country of Afghanistan, where most of the population could not read, provided an opportunity to test the technology. McLain and Madinger worked with locals in Afghanistan to produce and record 16 hours of stories, songs and dramas in eight languages. These recordings were loaded onto 68,000 digital audio players for people to listen to in small groups. These groups discussed the recordings and were better able to grasp the principles that would make democracy work in their country. Over six months, three million people heard these recordings and the impact on the elections was unmistakably positive.