Malaria is a global concern, but more than 90% of malaria-related deaths occur in Africa. Thus, when the United Against Malaria campaign looked at ways of becoming sustainable, of committing long-term to the fight against malaria, it naturally found inspiration in the colorful beads of Africa, once and now a significant part of African art and commerce.
The United Against Malaria bracelet is a powerful symbol of hope for those affected by malaria, HIV/AIDS, and poverty. The unique “two-disease” fundraising model generates resources for life-saving mosquito nets in Africa. For every bracelet sold, at least $1 goes to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, which has provided nearly 90 million insecticide-treated nets to malaria-endemic regions since 2002.
Another $1 provides wages for the South African men and women who make the bracelets, an employment project of the Relate Trust. Mostly pensioners, these individuals affected by HIV/AIDS are lifting themselves out of poverty, despite local unemployment rates of more than 50%. The remaining $1 of the purchase price covers materials and marketing, greatly subsidized by UAM corporate partners.
A simple string of beads that mimics the campaign logo, the UAM bracelet is a symbol of unity. It represents the diverse partnership that has formed to leverage the global popularity of football to raise awareness about malaria, mobilize resources, and generate political will. Though developed by Nando’s and other corporate partners, the bracelet bears no company logos. Instead, a pewter charm with a map of Africa bears the words “United Against Malaria.” A smaller bead with an “R” for Relate lends authenticity to the bracelet.
The campaign’s goal is to sell a million bracelets before the 2014 FIFA World Cup, with at least $1 million to be given to the Global Fund. This represents the largest donation of its kind by an African corporate alliance and signifies a shift from dependence on foreign aid. To date, hundreds of thousands of bracelets have been sold, many by African-based corporations who have pledged their support to the fight against malaria.
Celebrities and sports stars have also joined the cause. During Africa’s first World Cup, South African singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka, footballer Mark Fish, and explorer Kingsley Holgate brought the bracelet to the public eye, as did the national football team of Ghana, who rallied to a quarter-final finish, further than any other African team. Sixty million viewers also saw the bracelet in episodes of “Big Brother Africa,” a popular, international television show that raised funds for malaria through SMS technology.
Despite these successes, the campaign must sell more bracelets to make malaria history. Distributors in South Africa include Exclusive Books, Out of Africa, and select Nando’s.
BEADS THAT SAVE LIVES
Aims to raise $1 million for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria
Benefits African communities at risk of malaria; disadvantaged men and women affected by HIV/AIDS in South Africa
Created by Nando’s, with support from South African private sector partners, and the Relate Trust
Represents an outward commitment to the fight against malaria; a sustainable, domestic financing mechanism in Africa
Costs $5, R25
“The beads keep us busy, help us earn money, and allow us to help others. I would like to encourage anyone who reads this to buy bracelets because they are helping people to be safe from malaria.” -- Thelma M., 75, Cape Town, South Africa
“The aim of the bracelet project was to create a call to action for the campaign, something funky and cool that ordinary people could buy into. It has since created jobs. It has provided treated nets for families and communities across the continent. It has brought people together globally and educated them about malaria. It has become a symbol of being ‘malaria safe.’” -- Sherwin Charles, Nando’s
TO ORDER ONLINE
In bulk, email the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org (or email@example.com if in the United States or Canada): name, organization, position, phone, fax and email contacts, shipping address, billing address, VAT number (for South African firms), desired quantity of bracelets (in boxes of 100), and desired delivery date. (Bracelets ship upon receipt of payment.)
Individually, buy online at www.unitedagainstmalaria.org.
For more information, please contact the Relate Trust: (T) +27 (0) 21 422-3977 (E) firstname.lastname@example.org.