Apr 29th, 2013 5:37 PM UTC
By Erin Finucane
I have always been enamoured with power of film in advocacy work; the way it provides an emotional channel for people to connect to an issue. So when our premiere screening of Mary and Martha was met with great success, we thought, why not host another three?
Last week—the week of World Malaria Day— ONE Brussels brought Mary and Martha to Belgium and the international community. We kicked off with a screening for ONE members at Cinéma Aventure in downtown Brussels, attended by international activists from across the country.
Next, we took the powerful story to the European Parliament, with more than 30 attendees from the EU institutions, EU and African governments, and civil society. French MEP Michèle Striffler, Standing Rapporteur for Humanitarian Aid, made the introductory remarks:
“Malaria continues to be one of the most serious challenges to global health…The progress that has been achieved so far in the fight against malaria is increasingly threatened by a shortfall in funding. It is essential to keep up the fight. Malaria will remain a constant threat as long as the disease has not been completely eradicated.”
Our final Mary and Martha screening was hosted at KU Leuven, a university in the Flemish region of Belgium with a specialisation in international development cooperation. The screening, widely attended by students and alumni of the International Cooperation for North-South Relations program, was preceded by a fascinating discussion about film in advocacy, the role of students in global development, and ultimately how we can work together to bring the fight to eradicate malaria (and extreme poverty) to Belgium’s Flemish region.
Malaria kills 655,000 people every year. However, the majority of these deaths could be prevented, through simple and inexpensive interventions such as bed-nets, indoor spraying, antimalarial medicines, and treatment for pregnant women.
We share Richard Curtis’ hope that the film has inspired viewers to “be part of the movement that makes sure that in our lifetime we save millions and millions and millions of children’s lives, unnecessarily lost.”
Find out more about malaria from the people who dedicate their lived to eradicating it – watch our Google+ Hangout from World Malaria Day last week
Apr 25th, 2013 9:55 AM UTC
By Malaka Gharib
Today is World Malaria Day and we’re asking ONE members to join the global movement to eradicate it. This deadly but preventable disease, spread by mosquitoes, causes 660,000 deaths a year – 90% of them in Africa.
Thanks to political will and sustained investment, together the world has saved 1 million lives in just a decade. And 50 countries are on track to reduce malaria by 75% by 2015.
So how can you get involved? We’ve made it easy for you. Here’s some of our favorite World Malaria Day actions from our friends and partners. And you can do them all online!
1. Join our World Malaria Day Google+ Hangout
Join ONE and our friends at the Centers for Disease Control and Malaria No More UK for a Google+ Hangout to hear first hand from the people who dedicate their lives to fighting malaria around the world. We promise there will be no jargon, no complicated science—just the truth about this incredible battle to save lives and how you can contribute to it.
2. Protect The Global Fund
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria works really hard to save lives around the world. But they need continued funding from world leaders to keep driving down these diseases. Take our one minute action and tell leaders to scale up their commitments.
3. Download South African superstar Yvonne Chaka Chaka’s new track
Recorded in support of United Against Malaria and The Princess of Africa Foundation, her performance of Hearts on Fire closed the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament earlier this year in Johannesburg. Warning – it’s catchy.
4. Fight back with facts
Impress your friends and family with facts about malaria. Did you know that 3.3 billion people – half the world’s population – is at risk of malaria? We like the facts on Roll Back Malaria’s website.
5. Buy a United Against Malaria beaded bracelet
They look amazing, AND you’ll be helping the campaign to eradicate malaria. The sales of these bracelets benefit the South African beaders who make them too.
Malaria is an important issue for us here at ONE, and World Malaria Day is a great opportunity to share the work our partners are doing.
Help us to remind the world that malaria is preventable, treatable and although we’ve made real progress, there is still a long way to go.
No parent should lose their child to malaria – keep acting and keep sharing to keep the fight alive.
Apr 19th, 2013 11:55 AM UTC
By Helen Hector
World Malaria Day is on Thursday 25 April, we’re marking it by inviting you to our Google+ Hangout where you can hear first hand from the people who dedicate their lives to fighting malaria around the world.
If no have no idea what a Google+ Hangout is and are about to click away, WAIT! It’s a really easy way to get people in different places all talking to each other on your screen. You can interact by posting questions and comments, or just sit back and enjoy. You can watch the conversation live on either Google+ or YouTube. Still with us? Good.
Together, our guests will cut through the clutter and answer questions like:
We promise there will be no jargon or complicated science—just the truth about this incredible global battle to save lives and how you can contribute to it.
Our resident global health expert Erin Hohlfelder will be hosting some special guests and talking about how we can eradicate malaria, the technology that’s available, current on the ground projects, the progress already made and the challenges ahead.
If you have a question for any of our guests, leave it as a comment below and we’ll try and answer as many of them as we can during the event.
Apr 12th, 2013 2:04 PM UTC
By Erin Finucane
This week, ONE Brussels premiered Mary and Martha, Richard Curtis’ highly-charged emotional drama about two mothers (played by Hilary Swank and Brenda Blethyn) who emerge from family tragedy and fight for the eradication of malaria.
The film was screened to a packed cinema of more than 200 stakeholders from the EU institutions, NGOs, senior officials from aid and health ministries, and global health experts. It was followed by a Q&A featuring screenwriter Richard Curtis, ONE Europe Executive Director Adrian Lovett, and Jo Yirrell, Special Ambassador for Malaria No More and the inspiration for the film. The panellists discussed the making of the film and the future of the fight against malaria.
Both Dr. Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund for AIDS, TB, and Malaria and EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs addressed the influential audience and spoke of the importance of continuing global fight to eradicate malaria.
Malaria is a preventable and treatable mosquito-borne disease that kills 655,000 people every year—mostly children under five years of age in Africa.
As clearly noted in this painstakingly emotional film, the majority of these deaths could be prevented through simple and inexpensive interventions such as bed-nets, indoor spraying, antimalarial medicines, and treatment for pregnant women.
The Mary and Martha premiere coincided with a key donor meeting in Brussels on the future financing for the Global Fund, a global leader in the fight against infectious diseases that channels half of all international financing for malaria. In the autumn of 2013, aid donors will pledge how much money they will contribute to the Fund for the next three years. This week the Global Fund announced it needed an estimated $15 billion to continue its work. As Mary’s father says in the film when talking about funding for malaria, “Politics is a pie, it’s just a question of how we slice it”.
As World Malaria Day approaches on April 25th, ONE is working to raise awareness about malaria and the lifesaving interventions that could lead to the eradication of the disease. You can take action now by urging world leaders to keep up their support for the Global Fund, which also fights HIV AIDS and tuberculosis.
Mary and Martha will be broadcast in Belgium on April 25th on Vitaya at 21:05h and April 26th on Plug RTL at 20:40h. It will also be shown in the US on HBO on April 20th.
Tune in and spread the word by tweeting your reactions using #maryandmartha.
Apr 10th, 2013 6:30 PM UTC
By Erin Hohlfelder
15 Instagram buy-outs; 384 Lionel Messis; 1 London Olympics; or 30 million iPads. These are just a few of the things you could have purchased if you had a spare $15 billion burning a hole in your pocket recently (and really, don’t we all?). But yesterday, the Global Fund added a big item to that list that’s much more compelling: the chance to help save lives and control AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria in hundreds of countries around the world.
As donors meet today and tomorrow in Brussels, the Global Fund unveiled $15 billion as its “replenishment ask”—the amount it hopes to raise from interested stakeholders over the next three years to support its work. If you have followed this issue with us for a while, you will know that this is a process the Global Fund goes through every three years. In the last replenishment for 2011-2013, they succeeded in getting commitments totaling just under $12 billion, so this year’s replenishment will represent a big step up.
In a time of economic restraint in most donor countries around the world, coming up with $15 billion will require more than just digging under the couch cushions. It will require donors like the US to fight back against potential budget cuts, and maintain a leadership role in funding; President Obama’s 2014 budget out today, which includes a $1.65 billion request for the Global Fund, is a first key step.
It will require Europeans to step up their commitments, just as we asked of them in our World AIDS Day 2012 report. It will require new donors, both from Europe and from emerging economies, to invest for the first time. It will require African nations, whose citizens are some of the most heavily impacted by these diseases and whose economies are in some cases growing the fastest, to recommit to spending 15% of their national budgets on health.
It will require new partnerships with the private, faith, and NGO sectors. And it will absolutely require ONE members from around the world to use their voices, put pressure on each of these groups, and let them know that they will be celebrated and supported for doing the right thing.
The work will be hard. But if we can to find a way to get the Global Fund the $15 billion it needs, and if we can convince other actors to continue scaling up their other health investments, too, we can achieve some pretty historic things. In fact, the Global Fund estimates that if collectively we could help fill the majority of a global $87 million funding gap for the three diseases, the world could look quite different by 2016:
That’s a world so beautiful it would be worth Instagramming 15 times over.
Apr 7th, 2013 8:00 AM UTC
By Guest Blogger
This post is by Katri Kemppainen-Bertram, ONE’s Policy Associate on Global Health.
Today is World Health Day and this year’s theme is high blood pressure – not something you often hear about at ONE.
It’s an issue that is mostly seen as a rich world disease, whereas infectious diseases (such as HIV, tuberculosis or malaria) are associated with developing countries. However, health issues like heart disease, cancer, asthma or diabetes (so-called non-communicable diseases, or NCDs) are also on the rise in Africa.
By 2030, NCDs are projected to be the main cause of death in Africa. So inevitably, they will represent a growing set of challenges for the global health community and the world’s poorest countries.
Today is also a time to for us to reflect on some immense achievements that have been accomplished in global health in the past years. Coinciding with the last 1,000 days before the 2015 expiration date of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), we should think about we’re heading in the years – and decades – to come.
Many of the current MDGs focus on the most pressing health challenges in the developing world such as AIDS, TB, malaria, and maternal and child deaths. ONE has just published a report on how far we have come on those goals– and how we can sprint to the finish line in 2015.
Sprinting to 2015 is vital, but people working on development – and people living in developing countries, will not stop then. A second date looms in the future: 2030, the target date for the next MDGs. A change in disease burden around the world – and how we are able to combat these health problems – is part of what is currently being discussed. What is realistically achievable – in a cost-effective way that targets those most in need – poses another set of questions.
Each sprint, and every long race, consists of many, many single steps. Our health challenges and the work we do to combat them may look different in two years or two decades, but fighting to significantly reduce or even eradicate deaths from both infectious and non-communicable diseases will inevitably be an important global effort for years to come.
Mar 23rd, 2013 8:00 AM UTC
By Helen Hector
Sunday 24 March is World TB Day. Historically, TB has killed more people than any other disease. Surprised? I was too.
ONE has been campaigning to make sure world leaders keep money coming into the Global Fund, our most effective weapon in the fight against HIV AIDS, TB and Malaria.
Get yourself educated about threat that TB still has for millions of people around the world with this great infographic, then sign our petition to tell world leaders to step up their support for the Global Fund.
Feb 28th, 2013 5:44 PM UTC
By Helen Hector
If you are in the UK, make sure you catch Richard Curtis’s new film Mary & Martha tonight at 8.30pm on BBC1.
Starring Hilary Swank and Brenda Blethyn, it’s a moving story of two women who lose their sons to malaria in Africa, and dedicate their lives to campaigning against the disease. Here’s a trailer:
Malaria is preventable and treatable, but a child in sub-Saharan Africa still dies from a mosquito bite every minute.
So what can we do to turn this around? Just as Mary & Martha discover, simple solutions like getting bed nets and malaria treatments within easy reach of people across Africa costs money that a lot of poor countries simply don’t have. It’s not just the supplies themselves, it’s the infrastructure of health centres and trained health workers needed to support that.
The Global Fund is the most powerful weapon in the fight against malaria. 8.7 million lives have been saved in the last ten years thanks to projects that it supports.
Joy, who is 3 and lives in Kenya, is one of the lucky ones. She developed a severe case of malaria and needed urgent hospital treatment, but was able to get the life saving treatment she needed. Read her story, as told by her father Winston here.
2013 is a crucial year for the Global Fund, with donor countries pledging how much money they will give to the fund for the next three years. We are making real progress, but if governments don’t keep the money coming in, they will be putting millions more lives at risk.
ONE is campaigning to make sure the Global Fund is able to keep on fighting malaria, and making sure more children like Joy make a full recovery.
Jan 18th, 2013 9:44 AM UTC
By Guest Blogger
Guest blog post from Malaria No More.
Last summer the Confederation of African Football endorsed United Against Malaria partnership – of which Malaria No More is a key member – as a premier social cause of the most-followed events in Africa: the 2013 Cup of Nations (AFCON) football tournament.
The most revered champions of Africa’s best loved sport talking about malaria during Africa’s most watched public events? A captive audience of 6.6 billion people, most of them living in malaria-endemic Africa? What could be more captivating!
The biggest names in African football and the top political leaders in Africa’s malaria fight signed onto the campaign, and lent their time to record public messages about malaria for their African audience. These include five elite footballers and five African presidents, including football legends Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto’o, and the first-ever female African head of state, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. TV, radio ads, and billboards were created which feature the players and presidents, targeting policy-makers and decision makers about investments in malaria programs, as well promoting calls-to-action with simple steps to prevent and treat malaria.
Didier Drogba’s Malaria Prevention PSA
To ensure these malaria messages are heard by football fanatics continent-wide, 10 pan-African TV/radio stations, including the biggest radio station in Africa and the official football tournament channel, advertisements in over 10 countries, and 75 billboards in more than 13 countries are helping get the job done.
In addition to the tremendous media support, the campaign launched at the African Union Summit to include more African Heads of State, and a TV spot about the campaign aired during the AFCON Draw and East Africa CECAFA tournament. During the AFCON games, the campaign will be included during AFCON half-times (when football fans are already tuned into watch their favorite footballers), in AFCON sportscasters’ dialogue during televised games, and at the AFCON Final Game’s closing ceremony?
Football stars in malaria prevention billboards around Africa
For Africa’s social media users, a 2-minute quiz is available on the United Against Malaria Facebook page for the chance to win Drogba-autographed swag, like a football or a jersey.
Dec 3rd, 2012 5:06 PM UTC
By Nealon DeVore
Our next finalist for the 2012 ONE Africa Award is the dynamic organization Friends of the Global Fund Africa, or better known as Friends Africa. I visited Friends Africa in Lagos last month to hear their incredible story.
After serving as a technical advisor on Global Fund-financed projects in Nigeria for three years in the early 2000s, Dr. Akudo Ikemba realized that more needed to be done in order to ensure the effectiveness of Global Fund monies on the ground. She also saw an untapped need to raise awareness and support for the Global Fund amongst African citizens. When she saw some of the work being done by Friends of the Fight (USA) and Amis du Fonds Mondial and other Global Fund partners, she realized that Africa needed its own “Friends” that could bring governments, business leaders and citizens together to build support for the Global Fund and further its work by raising funds and commitments from African political and corporate leaders. At about the same time, the Global Fund invited Dr. Ikemba to discuss the formation of a partner organization for Africa and a few months later, Friends Africa officially opened its door in Lagos.
Since 2006, Friends Africa has been at the forefront of building and demonstrating African support for the Global Fund. It has raised commitments of $31 million through its Africa Champions from Health campaign, which enlists former heads of states and political leaders to call on African governments to support the the fund’s work. Through its Gift from Africa program, it has secured an additional $5 million from the private and corporate sectors for the Global Fund since 2010.
How does it do this? By strategically using former African heads of state, titans of business, and artists to engage governments and leading enterprises to obtain commitments for the Global Fund. As the developed world faces budget and fiscal crises, it is increasingly important for the developing world to not only support the work of institutions like the Global Fund, but also contribute to its functioning and financing. Friends Africa is doing just this.
Raising the funds and financing for an institution like the Global Fund, though, is just one side of the coin that is Friends Africa. In addition to its high level advocacy, Friends Africa is changing the face of the fight against HIV, malaria and tuberculosis every day. They have extensive programs that are building capacity at local, national and regional levels to engage in advocacy and direct services in their communities. Moreover, Friends Africa is also leading the charge in engaging small to medium enterprises – not just corporate giants – on the policies they have in place for their employees facing these diseases. Friends Africa is truly leading an African response to an African problem, taking the fight to the board rooms and the store rooms of African businesses. To truly turn the tide against these killer diseases, Friends Africa has gone where many have yet to tread—to the enterprising leaders and employers of a bulk of Africa’s hardworking citizens. Friends Africa is not only funding the fight, but also changing the face of these diseases to reduce stigmatization and stereotypes.
And while high-level and grassroots advocacy is a big part of Friends Africa’s work, Friends also produces reports that policy makers and citizens can use around the continent. They are impacting the debates without necessarily being in the room, and leveraging a network of consultants to provide technical assistance to governments seeking funding for reproductive health and HIV projects. As one can see, Friends Africa not only advocates at all levels, but also provides its own substantive contribution to the ongoing struggle against these diseases.
The International ONE Blog is a daily log of the anti-poverty movement. The site is operated by ONE staff, with guest contributions from ONE volunteers, members and allies.
The content of each post and each comment represents the views of that author and does not necessarily reflect the views of ONE. ONE does not support or oppose any candidate for elected office, and any post expressing support or opposition for a candidate is not endorsed by ONE.