To counter the public opinions of suspicion and distrust of NGOs that is rampant throughout Afghanistan, ICNL and Counterpart, through the Initiative to Promote Afghan Civil Society, found a solution through dramatic film. Packaging issues relating to civli society, law, and gender issues in a dramatic – and indeed, comedic – narrative setting, and putting it all on film with famous Afghan actors would certainly attract public attention.
Jawan Sheer Haidary film production company is very famous for its series entitled “Bulbul and friends.” Bulbul is an immediately recognizable face to Afghan people; nearly all Afghan citizens know Bulbul and have watched the Bulbul series address a range of different topics, including the negative impact of using drugs, the new (2004) Afghan Constitution, and elections, just to name a few. Recognizing the importance of making a large-scale impact, ICNL contracted with Jawan Sheer Haidary film company to produce the sixth part of the series. The topic: civil society, the legal framework for NGOs, and gender issues.
On June 9, 2008, the film Bulbul and Civil Society was broadcast on the National TV of Afghanistan. Viewers responded enthusiastically to the film and the messages it contained. In the days following the film’s airing on national TV, DVD version of the film appeared in the retail markets and video shops. It has sold incredibly well, bringing much hope to the issue of the NGO legal framework in Afghanistan.