“If you think you’re too small to make a difference you haven’t spent a night with a mosquito”.‐ African proverb
The figures are staggering. According to the World Health Organization: “About 3.2 billion people – nearly half of the world’s population – are at risk of malaria. In 2015, there were roughly 214 million malaria cases and an estimated 438,000 malaria deaths. Sub-Saharan Africa continues to carry a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. In 2015, the region was home to 89% of malaria cases and 91% of malaria deaths. In areas with high transmission of malaria, children under 5 are particularly susceptible to infection, illness and death. More than two-thirds (70%) of all malaria deaths occur in this age group. In 2015, about 305,000 African children died before their fifth birthdays” making malaria the leading killer of children in Africa. (Source: WHO 2015 statistics).
Although these figures are frightening, what is even more shocking is that these deaths are entirely preventable. Per the World Health Organization, “Increased prevention and control measures have led to a 60% reduction in malaria mortality rates globally since 2000”. This is amazing progress that brings hope that we will be able to wipe malaria off the face of the earth forever.
Eradicating malaria is the dream of South African-based Goodbye Malaria, an organization I interviewed to learn how a team of African entrepreneurs, predominantly women sprayers and socially minded businesses, are coming together to “save a life in your sleep” and eradicate malaria in their lifetime. Here’s their story.
Goodbye Malaria began as a dream of successful African entrepreneur, Robbie Brozin, founder of Nando’s food chain. Robbie traveled throughout the African continent with Humanitarian adventurer, Kingsley Holgate, who is known as the most traveled man in all of Africa. During their travels, Robbie realized that malaria was killing so many people and no one was doing anything about it. In fact, malaria is the number one killer of children in Africa, yet is entirely preventable.
Inspired to do good and fight to end malaria, Brozin along with three other African entrepreneurs founded Goodbye Malaria in February 2013. Goodbye Malaria helps to raise funds to support on the ground malaria elimination programs in Mozambique, to educate and advocate against malaria all while creating employment across the continent. Their beautiful online shop which sells products that “save a life in your sleep” offers African-made pajamas, bracelets, slippers, pencil boxes and teddy bears, all which employ local women and protect families in Mozambique against malaria.
How it works:
Goodbye Malaria employs a crew of both male and female sprayers (over 70% of the sprayers are women) who go house to house within the communities and spray the inside of the homes with a specially formatted insecticide to kill malaria-transmitting mosquitoes. Goodbye Malaria provides extensive training for the sprayers whose job is not easy. They must wear heavy, protective uniforms and masks in often very hot weather. Yet, the job is rewarding and there has been much success. In Southern Mozambique’s Maputo Province, the results from a preliminary pilot project from the first Goodbye Malaria spray round started in October 2013 show that the population of Boane district has been protected for two consecutive years, and prevalence has been reduced by 70%.
Goodbye Malaria Women Sprayers
Although Goodbye Malaria is based in South Africa, South Africa does not have malaria. Mozambique was a logical place for Goodbye Malaria to start their work since it borders South Africa, has a high rate of malaria transmission, and also has special ties with the Nandos and Goodbye Malaria founder Robbie Brozin. Nando’s famous chicken originated in Mozambique. Their award-winning “peri-peri” sauce is made from red hot chilis grown there. Goodbye Malaria works directly with the government of Mozambique and other non-profit organizations on the ground in two large areas of the country. Roughly 200,000 people have been impacted by their work yet there is much more to do.
“Save a Life in your Sleep”:
Goodbye Malaria operates as a Social Benefit Organization (SBO) not a NGO (non-governmental organization) meaning in addition to outside funding, they also use profits from products to go directly to support their operations on the ground. Goodbye Malaria’s tagline is “Save a Life in your Sleep”. By shopping at Goodbye Malaria’s online store, your purchase helps in two ways. First, by creating jobs that support local South African entrepreneurs. Second, the proceeds directly fund the spray program in Mozambique.
The head of Goodbye Malaria’s merchandizing, Kim Lazarus explained that the products are all about changing lives and saving lives. There is a link between how woman in South Africa are making products that will make a difference in the lives of their sisters in Mozambique. It is a wonderful concept.
The online shop at Goodbye Malaria offers some wonderful products for sale and provides shipping right in the US. Every product is made in South Africa, and the products are 100% transparent, sustainable and ethically sourced.
Homemade “Shwe Shwe” pajama bottoms: Shwe Shwe is a popular South African fabric. It is bright, colorful and authentic. The idea behind the pajamas is that you are covered at night while someone else sleeps safely at night in Mozambique (as mosquitos mostly bite at night). They also make pencil boxes, hats, and slippers out of the same cotton fabric.
Teddy Bears: The homemade teddy bears are another special story. Each bear is unique and made by a different woman. The bears are called the “Mashozi” bear which means “the woman wears the pants”. The name came after Kinsley’s late wife who was an inspiration.
Bracelets: The Goodbye Malaria bracelets are made by the “go gos” – a term used for grannies who watch children who lost their parents from HIV/AIDS. Making the beads and bracelets provides them with extra income and they also involve the children in the process.
I thoroughly enjoyed my Skype call with co-founder Kim Lazarius. When I ended the call, I sat in wonder and amazement feeling completely inspired that there are such amazing people in the world doing good and saving lives, with passion. I instantly ordered a pair of Goodbye Malaria pajama bottoms for myself for the holidays. When I wear them, I can think about how fortunate I am to not have to worry about malaria but also that I’m hopefully saving a life while I sleep.
To learn more about Goodbye Malaria, click here. To view their online shop, click here.
This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Nicole Melancon of ThirdEyeMom.com.
That’s a termite mound, not a rock!
I’ve reached a time in my life when it’s easy to be anxious about so many things. I think that most mothers of small children, whether living abroad or not, are often plagued by the anxiety bug.
For the last six years, my family and I have lived in Congo and we’re moving away in just a few weeks. I find myself thinking back to all those worries, big and small, that I had about raising two kids in the proverbial “heart of darkness.”
So as an exercise of gratitude and reassurance before we begin our next African adventure, I’ve been reflecting on all the what-ifs –real and imagined – that never came true.
Those mosquito bites never led to malaria.
There were no broken bones, stitches or other ailments that couldn’t have otherwise struck us in the United States.
Getting stopped by the police was never more than a hassle and a good story.
Our girls made it to and from school every day without incident.
We never ran out of quality disposable diapers, Sensodyne toothpaste, or anything else we hoarded from home.
My shoes held up.
Every fever went away without too much suffering.
Nothing was ever stolen (that we noticed).
No one was bitten by a snake or spider and a few worms in the feet were no big deal.
The termites never swarmed and carried our children away.
The vehicles always returned to their respective lanes before a head-on collision.
No one was lost in an angry mob.
We never got sick from all that “questionable” food.
That crazy Congo lightning never came through our window and zapped me in my bed.
Both of my pregnancies were picture perfect.
The electricity always came back on.
The water always returned.
The internet was always repaired.
The planes did not crash.
We made friends. Good, lifelong friends.
And no one is worse for the wear.
As infinitely grateful as we are for all these things that never happened, we’re even more so for everything that did. We had two beautiful children, our family learned a new language and we reached far out of our comfort zone. We will forever be connected to the culture and people we grew to love in Congo.
I hope that the next time everyday stressors take over, I’ll be able to stop and think about this list and remember more often than not everything is alright in the end.
What things have you worried about that never ended up happening?
This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Sarah Sensamaust. You can find Sarah blogging with Jill Humphrey at Mama Congo.
Photo credits to the author.
So what kind of impact can you make with a Twitter party for social good?
Last night, after our #Moms4MDGs chat, we ran a TweetReach report.
In the past week, our collaborative efforts under the #Moms4MDGs hashtag have reached over 1.1 million Twitter accounts and made over 5.8 million Twitter impressions. There were also 160 contributors to the hashtag and 569 retweets. Tweeters from North America, South America, Europe and Africa joined in!
The #Moms4MDGs campaign was announced last July at the BlogHER conference’s International Activist’s Panel by World Moms Blog Senior Editor, Purnima Ramakrishnan, in Chicago, Illinois, USA. We were answering the call to action to keep moms engaged with the world’s goals on topics such as eradicating extreme poverty and empowering women and girls. There are 8 Millennium Development Goals, and we have been covering one per month and have teamed up with a different organization each month that works year-round toward a particular goal.
The topic of yesterday’s #Moms4MDGs chats was on the UN’s Millennium Development Goal #6, to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. The key to tackling the world’s most pressing problems is teamwork. In the first party, we were joined by cohosts, Multicultural Kid Blogs, InCulture Parent Magazine, Girls Globe and our featured organization of the month, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, who tweeted from @gateshealth.
World Moms Blog and our contributors got the party started by welcoming guests!
Then we passed the baton to cohost Multicultural Kid Blogs, who educated us on the targets for HIV/AIDS and statistics on progress and what still needs to and can be done to fight the disease.
(By the way, the answer is c.)
This was a very popular and important tweet from the HIV/AIDS discussion:
Next, the baton was passed to cohost InCulture Parent Magazine, who announced the targets for malaria, the seriousness of the disease, and what can be done to help.
The UN Foundation and their campaign, Nothing But Nets, entered the twitter feed, which was really helpful to the conversation.
And the smart people chimed in!
Great tweets on malaria from the PM chat:
Some moms were already connecting with Nothing But Nets during the chat about getting their children involved in #MDG6! (This made us feel great!!)
And more great conversations!
Then, cohost Girls Globe took the baton and asked the party some powerful questions to stir up ideas and action towards #MDG6.
The Shot@Life campaign was also present and invited people to join them in the fight against disease and to become a Shot@Life champion when Girls Globe asked how moms of the world could get involved to reach #MDG6 goals.
And Girls Globe brought up tech and MDG goals!
Our interview was cut short during the first party with @gateshealth, but it left everyone something to come back for later that evening! Later, we learned how the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation came about and more about their global blog, Impatient Optimists.
And, they provided a mind-blowing statistic on polio, given that India was just declared polio-free for 3 years in a row this week.
But, perhaps, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s biggest, most powerful message on #MDG6 was this:
With two months still left in the 8 month #Moms4MDGs campaign, we are thrilled about how much MDG8, a global partnership for development, has played a role in all the parties throughout. World Moms Blog is proud to be meeting interesting people on Twitter, connecting with other websites geared up to make a difference and partnering and featuring foundations that are making year-long contributions to the vital goals to end extreme poverty and increase global health that the world has set.
Our next twitter party takes place on February, 15th, 2014 on MDG7, the environment from 1-2pm EST. We hope you will come out and join the momentum. Mark your calendars…!
This is an original post by World Moms Blog Founder, Jennifer Burden in New Jersey, USA.
Photo credits to the author.
Malaria has been in the news this week. Or, rather, the antimalarial medication mefloquine has been getting a lot of attention. The FDA recently issued a black box warning on this old standard for soldiers, vacationers, and expats in faraway, mosquito-infested lands. Faraway lands like the Congo, where I live with my husband and two small children.
For us, malaria is always on our minds. We think about the disease as we spray on our daily layer of chemicals in the morning, shun outside games at dusk, and gaze through the gauze of the nets above our beds just before closing our eyes at night. My son was even an Anopheles mosquito for Halloween one year. Malaria is that scary—and also that normal—for our family. (more…)
Among the many things we worry about as parents, I never thought that crocodiles would be high on the list. And then I moved to East Timor.
With any big life decision or transition there are risks and trade-offs. We knew that our family would be faced with a new set of health concerns by choosing to move to a faraway tropical island. But, we also believed that the trade offs would be worth it and the challenges manageable.
And so, we kicked into preparation mode – stocking up on regular and just-in-case medicines, soliciting advice from other experienced families, consulting medical types and health guides. We were immunized against Japanese Encephalitis, Typhoid and Rabies (at a family cost of $5,000! Thankfully reimbursed, but still). We cleared out a local store’s supply of bug spray and loaded up on sunscreen and other protective gear. We were as ready as we could be. (more…)