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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 January 2007, 10:47 GMT
MBE for Afghan radio show creator
Rachel Ellison
Rachel Ellison said the programme is "changing lives"
The creator of a BBC radio programme aimed at giving support and advice to women in Afghanistan has been awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours.

Rachel Ellison, who set up Afghan Woman's Hour, was given the honour for promoting human rights and female empowerment in the country.

The weekly show gives advice on gender issues, features female role models and offers solutions to everyday problems.

The programme now has funding in place for the next six years.

'Proud'

Rachel, who worked as a BBC News correspondent before setting up the programme, said she was shocked at receiving the award.

"I nearly fell down the stairs when I opened the letter," she said.

"The letter said I had been recommended and then I had a phone call saying the award had gone through.

"It is a real honour. I'm also so proud of the professional attitude shown by my team throughout all of this as they go out reporting for the programme."

'Changing lives'

The BBC World Service Trust programme was initially given pilot funding by the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign Office's Conflict Prevention Pool.

Rachel then managed to win a further 2.7 million of funding from the Foreign Office's Global Opportunities Fund "Engaging with the Islamic World".

"This programme is changing people's lives for the better," Rachel said.

"Some women in Afghanistan are still treated brutally by society and this programme attempts to give them a route to self empowerment."




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