BBC World Service multi-media project wins award

LONDON: Digital Destinations, a multimedia project developed by the BBC World Service Trust in collaboration with BBC News Online, BBC Science Radio Unit, World Service Education Commissioning, and BBC World Service Bengali and French for Africa Sections, received the NetMedia EOJ Award for Technology in Barcelona a few days ago.

World Service Trust director Stephen King said, "The success of Digital Destinations shows what can be achieved when different parts of the BBC work together. Making information and communications technology more accessible and relevant to people in the developing world helps bridge the digital divide between the information rich and the information poor."

The project brought together a series of BBC World Service radio programmes; the BBC News Online interactive web-site Digital Destinations; and a video, which was shown at a UN ICT Task Force meeting in Geneva in February 2003.

Radio programmes were produced by BBC World Service's Bengali Service and French for Africa Service. The English series, From Dakar to Dhaka, Connecting Communities, was broadcast in October 2002 as part of the weekly BBC World Service programme Go Digital.

The project's radio producers, on-line journalists and filmmaker travelled together to visit grassroots projects in two contrasting developing countries - Bangladesh and Senegal to explore how grassroots projects were helping to alleviate poverty and bridge the digital divide in the developing world.

In Bangladesh it showed how women village dwellers were making a living by renting out airtime on their mobile phones; examined the fight against corruption using digital maps with a computerised national database to decide where new roads or schools should be built and looked at a school using wireless technology to introduce pupils in the countryside to the internet.

In Senegal it showed a health centre using computers to keep traditional healing knowledge alive; how an NGO was dealing with the lack of text books by putting together its own and making it available on the internet.

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