A project of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for Communication Programs.



The MTN Group is a telecommunications services provider in 21 countries across Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. As the first and only African global sponsor of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa and a member of United Against Malaria, MTN identified malaria control as one of the key legacies of the World Cup. Since joining UAM, MTN has leveraged its technology and communication platforms to educate communities through radio, television, SMS, billboards and fliers. With 91 million subscribers in Africa, the company has tremendous visibility and reach.

To educate its 28,000 at-risk employees, MTN committed to being Malaria Safe in all 16 of its African markets. It used e-mail, SMS, and internal communication campaigns to raise awareness throughout the company. And in South Africa, it rolled out an intranet-based education program with detailed descriptions of the disease and prevention strategies. It also distributed UAM bracelets, which raise funds for life-saving mosquito nets in Africa.

Beyond its efforts to communicate malaria messaging and raise funds for nets, MTN has employed a vast human network in its fight against malaria in Africa. It made malaria the focus of its annual “21 days of Yello Care” service initiative wherein MTN volunteers distributed 28,000 mosquito nets to at-risk community members, including pregnant women in rural areas. They also visited orphanages and hospitals, sprayed and cleaned schools, and equipped mobile clinics. In all, some 34,000 employees participated in malaria-themed activities during the 3-week campaign. 

Indeed, the spirit of partnership has been the golden thread of all of MTN’s efforts. The company has partnered with South African explorer Kingsley Holgate, governments, NGOs, civil society, and multinationals such as Nando’s and Standard Bank. All of the funds it has raised through bracelet sales and fan parks will go to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

“For MTN, the malaria drive is part of our broader quest to make a measurable contribution to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, especially with regards to eradicating malaria,” says Nozipho January-Bardill, Group Executive Corporate Affairs Director of the MTN Group.


Headquarters: Johannesburg, South Africa

Network: 21 countries

Employees: 34,000

Industry: Telecommunications

Challenge: To educate and protect MTN customers and employees from malaria


Education:  34,000 employees educated through internal health training (malaria awareness and prevention education quiz)

Protection:  28,000 nets distributed with partners in malaria-endemic countries

Visibility: Support for Kingsley Holgate’s UAM 2010 Expedition and the UAM bracelet campaign to raise funds for the Global Fund

Advocacy: Text messages sent to subscribers in 16 operating countries in Africa to raise awareness and commitment levels to use malaria prevention tools.