BBC World's 'The World Challenge' shortlists India's Irula Venom Centre as a finalist

MUMBAI: The World Challenge - a global competition in partnership with BBC World, Shell and Newsweek which seeks to highlight and reward outstanding examples of community enterprise and innovation - has announced that the Irula Venom Centre has been shortlisted as one of 12 finalists.

Earlier this year, BBC World received a total of 457 entries with the highest numbers coming from India with a total of 71 nominations. Forty five entries came from the United States, 30 from Nigeria , 18 from South Africa and 17 from Pakistan.



A panel of judges, including representatives from the World Bank, TVE and Triodos Bank, chose 12 unique and interesting entries to progress to the final stage. The panel recognised the innovative way in which the Irula Venom Centre (India) has been able to create employment for local tribal people, while protecting the local community from the dangers of venomous snakes.

The Irula community, not long ago impoverished, is now being employed to catch snakes and carefully extract their venom, before releasing them back into the wild. This venom is used to create anti-venom serum for the treatment of snakebites, which, in turn, protects the local community from harm. The project has been so successful that the Irula Venom Centre now supplies up to 80 per cent of the venom for India's medical needs.



A 15-minute film is being produced on each of the finalists, and these will be aired as six special programmes about The World Challenge to be broadcast globally on BBC World for six weeks from Saturday 20 August (every Saturday at 2 pm and 7 pm). Each project will also be featured extensively in Newsweek.

Viewers can vote for their favourite project through the website of The World Challenge, at The winning project will be announced in November, and will receive from Shell a grant of US$20,000.

The other shortlisted projects are: Basket Weaving (Kenya), Bio Power (Malta), Coconuts For Erosion Control (Philippines), Elephant Pepper (Zambia), Men On The Side Of The Road (South Africa), Nguna-Pele Rechargeable Battery (Vanuatu), Real Vision, Real IPM (Kenya), Resin Roof Tiles (Ukraine), Riet Vell Organic Farming (Spain), ROMP (United Kingdom), Weddings That Give Back (United States).

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