Every 60 seconds, a child dies from malaria.
It’s one of the biggest killers in the world, but one South African organisation aims to educate the world that the fight against malaria is worthwhile – because elimination is possible.
Saturday 25 April is World Malaria Day and in 2015 the global theme is: “Invest in the future, defeat malaria”.
“That’s exactly what we need to do. We’ve made a significant impact to date, but we can’t stop now. We have to keep our foot on the accelerator,” says Sherwin Charles, chief executive officer of Goodbye Malaria.
Founded by African entrepreneurs, believing African creativity can solve Africa’s problems, Goodbye Malaria is making a huge difference in one small region of Southern Mozambique, with plans to expand their spraying programmes.
In one year in one small area in the Boane District of Mozambique, Goodbye Malaria has sprayed around 30 000 houses and protected around 120 000 people.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 3.2 billion people around the world are at risk of contracting malaria and, in 2013 alone, they estimated that around 198 million cases occurred, of which 584 000 people died. Most of the deaths were children under the age of five years old.
“I think the most important thing we do is the impact that we make,” says Robert Brozin, founder of Goodbye Malaria and fast food chain Nando’s.
It’s not just about writing a cheque for Corporate Social Investment (CSI), but rather about boots on the ground.
“We physically go there. We get actively involved and see the impact we are having on people’s lives,” says Brozin, adding that the spraying programme has resulted in a significant reduction in the prevalence of malaria.
The Goodbye Malaria initiative raises funds that go to the Global Fund and Roll Back Malaria, to support on-the-ground malaria control programmes in Mozambique.
Part of Goodbye Malaria’s funding comes from the sale of products, including Shweshwe-printed pyjama pants and teddy bears, as well as beaded Relate Bracelets.
The bracelets have a tangible impact, with the sale of just one allowing Goodbye Malaria to purchase a sachet of insecticide that will spray, and therefore protect, two homes for six months. The average household contains three people.
Relate Bracelets Chief executive officer Neil Robinson says that Goodbye Malaria is one of many causes they support. This 100% not-for-profit social enterprise not only raises funds through the sale of the bracelets, but creates employment for the beaders who make the bracelets as well as running youth development initiatives.
“Our goal this year is to sell 60 000 bracelets per month and therefore raise and give away R1-million each month to a range of worthy causes,” adding that if every South African purchases just one bracelet a year, it would increase the funding of these organisations to a quarter of a billion rand annually.
The colourful beaded bracelets in support of Goodbye Malaria are currently sold in Due South stores around South Africa, and from the Relate Bracelets and Goodbye Malaria websites.
“There’s a direct correlation between the sale of the bracelet and the spraying,” says Brozin.
“By buying a bracelet, or any of the Goodbye Malaria products, anyone can get directly involved in having an impact on the fight against malaria.”
The programmes in Mozambique also create employment opportunities as the sprayers are local to the region. The workers, around 70 of them, all use WHO-approved insecticide and protected gear.
“We’re creating massive employment,” says Brozin.
“A huge number of people are getting behind the malaria issue, but we could help a lot more people if the support keeps growing.”
This article was originally published on iAfrica.com.