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Write your way overseas with the Guardian

15 May 2008

Land rover driving along dirt trackRichard Mark Dobson/BRCIf you’re interested in writing, then the Guardian International Development Journalism competition 2009 is your opportunity to win a trip to visit an overseas project.

Run in partnership with the British Red Cross and other charities, the competition is open to amateur and professional writers and highlights crucial issues in the developing world, which are often overlooked or underrepresented by the media.

The challenge is to write a feature on an aspect of global poverty that deserves greater media exposure. The eight best amateur writers and eight best professional writers will have their articles published online at

The finalists will then be flown to a developing country to research a new assignment. These pieces will be published in two Guardian newspaper supplements, after the announcement of the two winners at an awards ceremony in November 2009.

Journalists and aid agencies

Along with the British Red Cross, the competition is being run in partnership with Marie Stopes International, African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF), Farm Africa, Find Your Feet, International Childcare Trust, One World Action and Panos London.

Journalists and humanitarian agencies have a long history of working together in conflict zones and disasters. Aid workers need coverage for their operations, and the media often relies on them for access to the people affected. But the relationship has always been tricky.

Nick Young, British Red Cross chief executive, said: “Aid agencies feel the media neglect some emergencies and cover others superficially. Journalists don’t always understand the difficult conditions relief groups work in and how that affects what they can do for the media. This competition offers us the chance to bridge this gap – to enable us to influence the next generation of journalists and to show the complexity and the real people behind the stories.

Working together

“At the British Red Cross we have worked in partnership with other agencies, editors and academics to narrow the gap between us. Our Dispatches from Disaster Zones initiative brings together journalists and aid agencies to debate and identify practical actions to improve relationships as well as the reporting of humanitarian stories.

“Clearly, this has never been more vital as the increasing impact of natural disasters is being felt worldwide. There is growing evidence that, as a result of climate change, natural disasters will increase in frequency and impact, affecting many more people.

“Humanitarian organisations, donors, governments and the media must continue to work together to give a voice to those whose stories all too often go untold and unheard. This competition matters because it challenges this neglect and unnecessary, silent suffering.

“We all have a part to play and I urge everybody to support this important initiative. For some this may mean entering the competition*, for others it will mean taking the time to read and learn from the stories that are produced. Whatever your contribution, whether big or small, together we can make a difference.”

*Staff and volunteers of the British Red Cross are not eligible to enter the competition

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