This partnership is said to be the first of its kind, and comes after the BBC World Service was given permission last year to seek external funding where appropriate to “top up” its income from the licence fee.
The partnership means the foundation will support content across the whole BBC World Service Group, beginning today, Wednesday October 14, with an 8-part weekly video, text and audio series called “Women of Africa” highlighting the role played by unsung women heroes across the continent.
Content will also include a BBC Global Questions debate – in English and Swahili – to be recorded live in Nairobi, Kenya, in November, titled “What does equality mean for women in Africa?”
The content will conclude by March 2016 with an 8-part series of weekly video, text and audio modules highlighting the work of young women African entrepreneurs.
Controller of World Service Languages, Liliane Landor, says: “Our female audiences around the world tell us they want to hear more women’s stories and voices on BBC programming, and over the last few years we’ve been working to make this happen. Our partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will give this work a real boost.”
The content will be carried across BBC World Service Group international platforms, including BBC World Service language services across Africa, BBC World Service English, BBC World News and BBC.com/news.
Further details of scheduling will be available shortly.