17 Dec 2010

YouTube backs Open University appeal for Africa

A teacher at Isithsaba Junior Primary School, South Africa

A teacher at Isithsaba Junior Primary School, South Africa

The Open University (OU) is one of only two UK charities to have been invited to take part in YouTube’s Project for Awesome 2010 – an initiative to promote international charities addressing global challenges on the video sharing website.

The OU has created two films within the theme of ‘Innovation in Education’. The first highlights the global challenges of health and education. The second showcases the OU’s work to address these issues. The videos will be shown at a live show in Los Angeles on Saturday night (midnight GMT) and will be available on YouTube for at least 24 hours.

Members of the public are encouraged to view the videos in order to push the clips to the front page of YouTube, which will increase exposure of the featured charities. Links from the clips will enable people to make a donation.

Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor at The Open University, said: “We create incredible educational content, much of which we make freely available. Literally millions of people access The Open University through channels like YouTube, providing a gateway to a world of knowledge.

“Our free educational materials are also transforming the lives of some of the most disadvantaged people in the world. So, we help train teachers, doctors and healthcare workers in countries where they are desperately needed.”

The Open University is currently working to help a number of countries meet their Millennium Development Goals. It is providing education and training to teachers in sub-Saharan Africa through its TESSA (Teacher Training in sub-Saharan Africa) project which has already helped to train over 300,000 teachers in 12 African countries, and is providing training to 31,000 Community Health Workers in Ethiopia as part of its HEAT (Healthcare Education and Training) project.

As part of its mission to widen access to learning, the OU is continually looking at innovative ways to provide educational content. In 2008 the university launched its ‘OUView ‘channel on YouTube to enable people to access educational videos online. It also makes course materials available for free through its OpenLearn website, which was developed to widen participation in education and has had 11 million visitors to date, and over 28 million people have downloaded the OU’s free educational podcasts through its presence on iTunes U.


For more information about the projects which will be featured in the OU’s videos, go to:

The second UK charity featured is bullying prevention charity, Beatbullying.

Project for Awesome (P4A)
P4A was set up by two brothers in the US, Hank and John Green. Hank and John are responsible for the popular VlogBrothers Channel on YouTube and for creating Nerdfighters.

The brothers launched P4A in 2007 and decided to ‘take over’ YouTube for a day to promote charities. They did this by ensuring a common template on all charity videos created by the YouTube community so that they featured all over the YouTube website.

YouTube has embraced the project this year and will be hosting a four-hour live show on the day the videos go live to celebrate and raise awareness of the initiative and causes represented this year.

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