Life Stories


The BBC World Service Trust is the BBC’s international charity. We use media and communications to reduce poverty and promote human rights, thereby enabling people to build better lives.

Independently funded

We are funded by external grants and voluntary contributions, mainly from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the European Union, UN agencies and charitable foundations. We receive a small amount of core support from the BBC (both in kind and cash).


We believe that independent and vibrant media are critical to the development of free and just societies.

We share the BBC’s ambition to provide accurate, impartial and reliable information to enable people to make informed decisions.

We aspire to a world where individuals and civil society use media and communications to become effective participants in their own political, economic, social and cultural development.


To achieve this vision, we partner with civil society, the media and governments to build long term development solutions. We do this by:

Where we work

We work in over 40 developing and transitional countries.


In order to achieve the most critical development goals, we focus on six key issues:

  • Education
    For example, we worked with partners to deliver radio programmes and face-to-face tutorials which taught more almost 30,000 people in Somalia how to read and write.
  • Emergency response
    We broadcast life-saving information on radio to 6.5 million people in Darfur, including two million people living in the region’s 85 camps for refugees and people displaced by the conflict in Sudan.
  • Environment
    We worked in association with Indian NGOs to deliver training to hundreds of journalists and NGOs in nine Indian states to improve the quality and quantity of environmental information published in the media.
  • Governance and Human Rights
    We work with local media to produce ground-breaking political debate TV and radio programmes in Bangladesh, which help voters hold politicians and their leaders to account. Seven million people tune in every week.
  • Health
    We worked with Indian broadcasters and government partners to produce a mass media campaign that changed the attitudes of millions of people in India to HIV-related issues, including wearing condoms and challenging the stigma and discrimination against people living with the virus.
  • Livelihoods
    We produce a national radio programme to help people involved in raising and trading livestock in Somalia. It delivered the practical skills, technical knowledge and business awareness required to increase incomes and improve livelihoods.

In total, we produced over 1,000 hours of education and health programming in 28 languages in 2006/2007. Our TV, radio and online programmes reached audiences totalling 119 million people worldwide. We also trained more than 1,500 journalists, broadcasters and support staff.

We employ over 500 staff worldwide, 80% of whom are from and work in developing and transitional countries.

In Nepal

The BBC World Service Trust established its office in Nepal in September 2007 and now employs over 30 people, working on four media projects:

  •  Drama with Katha Mitho Sarangiko, and debate with the magazine programme, Sarangiko Bhalakusari,  supporting the national campaign against gender-based violence. Funded by UK Aid.
  •  Sajha Sawal – weekly,  bi-media discussion programme, where the people hold the leaders to account. Promoting  good governance. Funded by UK Aid.
  •  Ghar Aagan,  weekly magazine programme, improving understanding of good health practices for mothers and babies. Funded by EU, UNICEF, NFHP and UNFPA.
  •  A Citizen Speaks, radio spot providing analysis and context to support people’s understanding of the constitutional process. Part of the Support to Participatory Constitution Building in Nepal (SPCBN). Funded by UNDP.