Television

BBC looks at how the winners of the first edition of The World Challenge 2005 are faring

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MUMBAI: World Challenge 2006 - a global competition seeking to highlight and reward outstanding examples of community enterprise and innovation - enters the final stage of this year's competition with only a few days of voting left. The winners will be announced at an event in The Hague on 6 December 2006.

BBC World had joined with Shell for the second year to run World Challenge 2006.

As a prelude to unveiling this year's winners, BBC World takes a look back at how last year's winning projects have developed in the past 12 months. The three winning finalists from the 2005 competition feature in World Challenge: One Year On, which airs on BBC World on 18 November.

In the programme, the three projects - Coconets from the Philippines, Malta's Edible Oil Company and Vanuatu's Nguna-Pele Rechargeable Battery - are revisited to find out how they have developed since the competition last year.

Last year there was tough competition among the 12 projects that made it to the finals. Finalists included a range of projects from the production of organic leather clothes in England, a tribal women's basket weaving co-operative from Kenya, chilli peppers as elephant repellent from Zambia, eco roof titles from the Ukraine, an employment project from South Africa for casual labourers and wildlife friendly wheat production from Spain.

In the 2005 competition, a public poll saw the Coconets project in the Philippines emerge as the clear winner. Malta's Edible Oil Company and Vanuatu's Nguna-Pele Rechargeable Battery project were both named as runners-up.

Dr. Justino Arboleda, general manager of Coconets, the winning project says: "When we actually won we were instant celebrities in our country and in all the newspapers and television stations and that gave our company a lot of publicity. People now deal with us as though we are a big company and we are getting larger and larger contracts."

Since last year, the company has expanded into the very poorest sections of society and bought more machinery with the prize money.

There's a similar story of growth for Vanuatu's Nguna-Pele Rechargeable Battery project. When World Challenge returned to the reef rehabilitation scheme in September, Peace Corps volunteer Chris Bartlett pointed out that before last year's competition there were only a few marine protected areas, but as a result of winning the prize money, that number has doubled - with every single village on Pele now having a conservation area. Chris says: "We see many more tourists on a weekly basis and all of that money then goes back to the local communities, which has then tripled and quadrupled the amount of enthusiasm that the local people have for conservation."

A year on, Pippa Psalia, commercial director of runner-up Edible Oil Company in Malta says, "Most certainly World Challenge has heightened the profile of bio-diesel... I think a competition like the BBC World's World Challenge, for a country as small as Malta and a novel project such as ours, gave us a tremendous boost. Not only has it heightened our profile locally but it has also given us access overseas."

Robert Lamb, series producer of the World Challenge 2006 programmes says, "What comes through strongly is that it was not just the prize money that was most valuable, but also the publicity through the BBC World and Newsweek coverage. It has the knock-on effect of creating a lot of local press coverage. In that way others have been inspired, which after all is the real purpose of the World Challenge."

The inspiration continues this year with the current competition having received a record number of project nominations earlier this year, with a total of 816 from 120 countries including, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Greece, India and Uganda - a 79 per cent increase on the 2005 competition's total nominations of 457. Voting for the 2006 competition ends on 19 November 2006 and the winner will be announced at an event in The Hague a few weeks later.

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