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The Global Fund and Partners are “United Against Malaria”


By: Celia Deitz, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is currently engaged in an exciting and innovative partnership that brings together high-profile figures from the world of sports, politics, non-governmental organizations, global health, and business in the run up to the World Cup in South Africa this summer.

This new campaign, called United against Malaria (UAM), was initiated by Comic Relief, Johns Hopkins University, Malaria No More, ONE, PSI, PATH, Roll Back Malaria and the UN Foundation. Although the focus is on advocacy, the Global Fund has been selected as beneficiary for fundraising associated with the campaign.

The objective of UAM is to turn the tide on a disease that kills an African child every thirty seconds by the next World Cup in 2014. UAM aims to change people’s behavior by encouraging families to sleep under nets and take other steps to combat the disease. It also aims to drive concrete action from African corporate and political leaders to tackle malaria in the run up to the World Cup in South Africa.

On the business front, UAM has gained a significant number of private sector partners that are currently working to raise awareness of malaria and, in some cases, to raise money to fight malaria in Africa. All funds raised by the UAM campaign will finance malaria prevention and control in Africa via Global Fund malaria grants.

One such exciting project, the UAM Bracelet Campaign, was originally initiated by Nando’s Peri-Peri Restaurants in South Africa and has now been embraced by other partners including Anglo American, Super Sport, MNET, de Beers, BHP Billiton, Coca Cola Africa Foundation, Kentaro, and Protea Hotels, who are all committed to being “malaria free” companies. The bracelets are made in small production units in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, providing a unique opportunity for would-be workers who would otherwise be inhibited by the scarcity of jobs and their own lack of skills. Many have migrated from destitute rural areas; most of them are HIV positive. The campaign hopes to distribute one million bracelets before the World Cup this summer, which would mean US$1 million to the Global Fund to buy bed nets for people across Africa who cannot afford them. The UAM bracelet campaign promotes a social business model that generates income for individuals who have few work skills and live in areas where jobs are bitterly scarce.

In addition, between the 24th and 26th of November 2009, housemates of the television show Big Brother Africa highlighted the critical need and importance of malaria prevention through a series of tasks including installing, mending and sleeping under insecticide-treated bed nets. They were also tasked with making UAM beaded bracelets, lending their publicity to raise awareness of malaria and advertise this fundraising initiative. The TV channel M-Net that airs the program and the production company, Endemol, donated 50 percent of the revenue earned from SMS messages sent by Big Brother Africa viewers during this time period to the Global Fund. The contributions are particularly significant as they mark the first African private sector donations to the Global Fund.

Moreover, MTN Group Limited, a leading multinational telecommunications company, is launching an SMS campaign that will capitalize on their broad footprint to raise funds to kick malaria out of Africa. MTN is the only African global sponsor of the World Cup in South Africa and are capitalizing their role to raise awareness and educate people about malaria prevention and treatment.

Partnering with the private sector has brought opportunities and resources to the fight against malaria that would have otherwise not been possible. Activities carried out by the private sector through the UAM campaign represent some of the first widespread initiatives by the African private sector and prove that initiatives by businesses are extremely effective and play a key role in fighting malaria and other diseases in Africa and worldwide.

For more information please visit United against Malaria, the Global Fund project page or contact Dida Connor, Senior Communications Liaison Officer, Private Sector and Non-government Donors Team, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria