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NEW YORK -- Population Communications International today announced that philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates have given a grant of $1.8 million through the William H. Gates Foundation to the independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving women's reproductive health and population trends through socially responsible mass media programs around the world.
The grant will provide general support for PCI's entertainment-education programs, mainly soap operas with social themes that address population, reproductive health and environmental issues.
Developed by PCI and in-country teams around the world, these unique programs feature culturally appropriate characters and story lines designed to educate and empower people to make informed choices and adopt healthy behaviors. PCI currently has radio and television programs underway in Brazil, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saint Lucia and Tanzania.
"We are delighted and grateful that Bill and Melinda Gates are committed to improving the lives of women and children in developing countries through this contribution," said David J. Andrews, president of PCI. "Organizations like PCI rely heavily on individual, foundation and corporate support to create programs that truly communicate with people on the wide range of health, social and environmental issues that threaten to compromise our future."
In the United States, PCI encourages producers and writers in the entertainment industry, including daytime soap operas, prime time programs and computer games, to recognize contributions they can make towards increasing the public's awareness of important social and public health issues.
"We are pleased to support programs that bring access to health information to women worldwide," said Bill Gates Sr.
Founded in 1985, PCI is funded entirely by contributions from individuals, foundations and agencies. Then 8,200 individual members contribute nearly half of PCI's annual budget. PCI's international programs are often produced with collaborative funding from local broadcasting agencies, commercial sponsorship and/or the United Nations.