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Sri Lankan Safe Lamp Project Wins Prestigious World Challenge 09 Competition


This Saturday, BBC World News broadcasts the final programme of the World Challenge 09 series, announcing the Safe Bottle Lamp Project as the winner. The Sri Lankan initiative produces inexpensive lamps from recycled glass as a solution to burn risks in developing countries. 

Burns caused by makeshift kerosene lamps are a common problem in parts of Sri Lanka, where a fifth of the population has no access to electricity. These accidents often cause severe pain, scarring and sometimes even death. To prevent these injuries a Sri Lankan surgeon, Dr Wijaya Godakumbura, has designed a simple lamp using recycled glass, which can be easily mass produced at a low cost.

Now in its fifth year, World Challenge remains extremely popular, with more than 127,000 people around the world voting online for their favourite finalist. The final programme airs on BBC World News this weekend, showcasing the presentation ceremony hosted by the BBCs award-winning presenter Zeinab Badawi. The Safe Bottle Lamp Project will receive a US$20,000 prize grant from Shell. Details will also appear in Newsweek magazine. 

Two runner-up projects will each be awarded US$10,000 by Shell.  The first runner-up is Danamon Go Green, an Indonesian initiative dedicated to converting traditional market waste into organic compost to be distributed among local farmers. Second runner-up is BTTR Ventures, an American project that aims to turn one of the largest waste streams in America into a highly-demanded, nutritious and valuable food product for local consumers.

Paul Gibbs, Head of Programmes, BBC World News says: Over the last five years, the unique projects featured in World Challenge have continued to amaze and inspire BBC World News viewers. The competitions ongoing success and popularity illustrates an unwavering interest globally in the field of sustainable development.

Rhona Murphy, Publisher and Managing Director, Newsweek International says: World Challenge continues to cast a wide net for sustainable ideas that benefit people – and the planet. Newsweek is proud, with partners Shell and BBC World News, to celebrate the fifth anniversary of this global call to action.

Bjorn Edlund, Executive Vice President, Communications, Shell says, “Organisations and businesses of all sizes, including Shell, are increasingly looking for technologies and ways of doing business that have a more positive impact on the environment. It’s humbling to see so many small projects achieving this against such challenging circumstances and at Shell, we are pleased to honour and support all those involved in World Challenge, and particularly the winning project, for their outstanding achievements.”

World Challenge is a global competition rewarding grass roots projects that give something back to their communities. It is run by BBC World News, the BBCs international news channel, and Newsweek, the weekly global current affairs magazine, in association with Shell. To mark the fifth anniversary, this years series included a special celebratory programme, World Challenge Five Years On, looking back at previous winners and how the projects have developed since.

The World Challenge 09 Final will broadcast at the following times: 5 December 14.30 GMT and 6 December 3.30, 08.30 and 18.30 GMT


About BBC World News

BBC World News, the BBC’s commercially funded international 24-hour news and information channel, is owned and operated by BBC World News Ltd, a member of the BBCs commercial group of companies.  BBC World News attracts 74 million viewers a week, is available in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide, and reaches 292 million households and more than 1.7 million hotel rooms.  The channel’s content is also available on 81 cruise ships, 46 airlines, 35 mobile phone networks and a number of major online platforms including  For further information on how to receive BBC World News, download schedules or find out more about the channel, visit

About Newsweek

Founded in 1933, Newsweek provides comprehensive coverage of national and international affairs, business, society, science and technology, and arts and entertainment.  Headquartered in New York, Newsweek has bureaus located in the U.S. and around the globe. In addition to its U.S. edition, Newsweek publishes three English-language editions overseas and is the only news magazine with seven weekly local-language editionsin Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Polish, Arabic, Russian and Turkish.  The magazine appears in more than 190 countries.

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