Macs are at the forefront of an entertaining radio drama that aims to educate West Africans on social and health issues, such as AIDS/HIV and local elections. The BBC's World Service Trust (BBC WST) drives the production of drama series 'Story Story: Voices from the Market', put together by sound technicians using an Apple PowerBook G4.

Darren Jordon, presenter of the BBC's One O'Clock News and weekend news bulletins, switched from Windows to Mac last year, and was tremendously impressed by the work of the small team when he visited Nigeria recently.

"I had the wonderful experience of watching the Voices radio drama being recorded," he told Macworld. "It is a hugely humbling experience watching these people, who have precious little, put together a positive and very well-produced drama that highlights real issues in their communities."

iBook appeal

The Voices project is appealing for help in its worthy cause, hoping to add a 14-inch iBook G4 to its tools.

"I know that the iBook would be put to very good use, and would help increase the production efficiency of the project and allow the local community to be more self-reliant in putting the drama together," says Jordon.

The radio programmes are accompanied by training and capacity building. Production of the drama series is taking place in Nigeria, creating opportunities for training in radio skills. They are aired on BBC airwaves and carried by radio stations throughout West Africa.

To attract the largest possible popular audience, Voices is entertaining and authentic. The project has created a fictional community living in and around a market, which experiences the type of issues ordinary people face and must cope with in their daily lives.

Talk Talk

The key characters are traders, farmers, children, young people, people with money and power, religious leaders, civil servants, commentators and outsiders. Each series has an overarching theme – roads, basic education, for example – and explores specific topics such as local elections or solid-waste management.

Interwoven are underlying stories of particular characters such as an individual learning how to live with HIV/AIDS. The programming examines issues such as poverty, and strategies of how to reduce it, ethnic tensions, civil unrest, and corruption.

Follow-up discussion programmes, called 'Talk Talk', further investigate the issues, and are held in diverse settings to reflect the full range of viewpoints and regional differences. The combination of issues raised and explored through the dramas and discussions increase the knowledge base of listeners to assist them to identify their own strategies for moving forward.

The Voices project is aided by the UK's Department for International Development in Nigeria (DFID).

If anyone would like to donate an iBook G4 to help this worthy cause, Macworld can put you in touch with the project directly or via the BBC's Darren Jordon.