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Open Eye: Celebrities volunteer for Big Nose jobs

RED NOSE Day is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2005 with the help of the Open University. Today sees the launch of this year's theme, Big Hair and Beyond, which encourages viewers to "reshape your hair, redo your face or restyle your clothes" to raise money for projects tackling poverty in Africa and the UK.

Two Open University television documentaries, co-produced with the BBC, will be screened showing some of the life-saving work funded by the pounds 337m raised by the charity since it was founded. A website for those who want to delve deeper into the issues is also being provided by the OU.

"Comic Relief is all about giving people a leg up, not a hand-out," said a Comic Relief spokesperson. "Just pounds 1 will buy a child in Africa enough exercise books and pens for one whole term of education - and in Britain, it would pay for a call made by Women's Aid to give urgently needed advice to a woman experiencing domestic violence."

Celebrities Jo Brand, Ruby Wax, Jimmy Nail, Kevin Whately, Liza Tarbuck and Nick Knowles all feature in Comic Relief's Great Big Celebrity Nose Job, broadcast this Sunday at 6.35pm on BBC1 (but check listings in case of change). The stars are paired off to work on development projects which they have to complete within 48 hours.

It's Your Comic Relief, which will be broadcast on BBC1 in March, takes British viewers to Africa to see how Comic Relief money is spent, in the company of comedian and Open University student Lenny Henry and Big Brother presenter Davina McCall.

The Open University has its own links with development projects in Africa. Its International Development Centre draws on a global network of researchers and policy makers to better address the urgent needs of communities facing poverty. DEEP, its Digital Education Enhancement Project funded by the Department for International Development, has demonstrated how laptops, hand-held computers, video cameras and a range of other ICT technology can have a big impact on children's learning and teachers' status in Africa. (See www.open.ac.uk/deep).

If you want to explore issues of international development more deeply, the OU offers a variety of courses. At undergraduate level you can choose from International Development in a World of Transition (U213), Living in a Globalised World (DD205), or A World of Whose Making (DU301). The Open University also has a well-established Masters-level programme in Global Development Management.

peter taylor-whiffen

Links to more information about these courses can be found on the Comic Relief page of the OU/BBC website www.open2.net. For more details of other Comic Relief activities visit www.rednoseday.com