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Social Media Aims To End Malaria

Brian Solis Posted by

Sunday, April 25th was World Malaria Day and the United Nations is placing its hopes on you and the social graphs you’ve nurtured to finally end this deadly, yet preventable disease.

You see, every 30 seconds, a child in Africa dies from malaria and every 10 seconds, another case is diagnosed. That might not mean a lot to you…I’m sure where you are right now is probably the furthest away from Malaria and Africa. But even where you are, right now, you’re in a place to actually save a life…literally.

Please join the efforts to #endmalaria. All it takes is a $10 donation. Please click here to donate now.  Or, text the word “NETS” to 864233, and a $10 donation will be charged directly to your cell phone bill.

100% of the proceeds will be given to UNICEF, used to buy treated mosquito nets, the lowest cost and most effective way to prevent malaria.

Once you’ve donated, please help spread the word using the #endmalaria banner.

To kick start the effort, I reached out to good friend and one of my favorite artists, Hugh MacLeod (@gapingvoid). He designed an original piece (above) in the hopes of spreading awareness and support using art as a social object.

World Malaria Day

Sub-Saharan Africa is the epicenter of the world’s malaria control activities, with over 90% of malaria deaths occurring on the continent. Over 190 million long-lasting insecticidal mosquito nets have been delivered since 2007, covering nearly 400 million people or over 50% of the endemic population, compared to less than 10% in 2005.

On the anniversary of World Malaria Day, we are setting a goal to close the gap of bed nets needed to eradicate malaria. In order to reach this goal, we need $10, which buys a treated net to protect children while they sleep.

The World Bank announced this week that it has joined the fight against malaria. To do so, it will donate a whopping $200 million to buy 25 million nets. That massive gesture takes us half way to our goal.

Social Media Envoy

The job is far from done, more work is needed…

Last year, you might remember the famed race to 1 million followers on Twitter between Ashton Kutcher and CNN. While the number of followers was the focal point, the true agenda was to raise awareness for Malaria as well as sending bed nets to Africa.

This year, in conjunction with Ashton’s company Katalyst, United Nations Secretary- General’s Special Envoy for Malaria, Ray Chambers, announced a special Social Media Envoy group to continue the work. The Social Media Envoy group is chartered with inspiring social media audiences throughout the year in support of malaria control to achieve the Secretary-General’s goal of providing all endemic African countries with malaria control interventions by the end of 2010.

The 2010 Social Media Envoys include:

Queen Rania of Jordan

Derrick Ashong, Musician, Social Activist & Oprah Radio host

Veronica Belmont, Host of “Tekzilla” and “Qore” and Internet Personality

Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, New Jersey

Sarah Brown, of the United Kingdom

Jason Calacanis, Founder and CEO of

Pete Cashmore, Founder and CEO of “Mashable—the Social Media Guide”

Anderson Cooper, CNN Anchor of “Anderson Cooper 360”

Dennis Crowley, Co-Founder of Foursquare

Anil Dash, Director of Expert Labs and Partner at Activate

Jack Dorsey, Creator, Co-Founder and Chairman of Twitter, CEO of Square

Justine Ezarik “iJustine” Internet Personality

Mahei Foliaki, “@Iconic88” Internet Personality and Co-Founder of “The Internet Chef”

Steve Frayne, “Dynamo Magician

Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft

The Gates Foundation

Jack Gray, CNN Producer/Writer for “Anderson Cooper 360”

MC Hammer, Entertainer and Founder of

Arianna Huffington, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post

Kim Kardashian

Guy Kawasaki, Co-Founder of

Larry King, CNN Host of “Larry King Live”

Shira Lazar, Internet Personality

Loic Le Meur, Founder and CEO of Seesmic

Amy Martin, Founder of Digital Royalty

Stefanie Michaels, “Adventure Girl”, Internet and Travel Personality

Alyssa Milano, Actress

Dave Morin, Former Facebook executive- responsible for Facebook Connect and Platform

Jason Mraz, Singer-Songwriter and Social Activist

Drew Olanoff, Social Activist

Shaquille O’Neal, NBA Professional Athlete

Jason Pollock, Film Director and Social Activist

General Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State, former Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff

Jeff Pulver, Founder of 140 Characters Conference (#140conf) and Co-Founder of VoIP (Vonage)

Kevin Rose, Founder of Digg

Chris Sacca, Founder of Lowercase Capital

Ryan Seacrest, Founder, Ryan Seacrest Productions

Brian Solis, Tech Entrepreneur, Author

Jordin Sparks, Singer, Ambassador: “I’m M.A.D. Are you?” Campaign

Biz Stone, Co-Founder of Twitter

Catherine Valdes, “Catrific” Internet Personality

Khayyam Wakil, Venture Catalyst & Internet Personality

Padmasree Warrior, CTO of Cisco

Pete Wentz, Musician

Jon Wheatley, Co-Founder of

Lotay Yang, Founder and President of Black Card Circle

Tony Hsieh, CEO of, Inc.

Randi Zuckerberg, Director of Marketing, Facebook

Twitter has also joined the effort. Each time you Tweet about malaria and include the #endmalaria hashtag, your tweet will carry a special mosquito icon to increase visibility.

For more information on the Office of the Special Envoy, visit


About the Author: Brian Solis is principal at FutureWorks PR, an award-winning PR and Social Media agency founded in 1999. FW PR bridges the communications gap between companies and their customers, and between products and their specific benefits for their target markets. Solis blogs at PR2.0,, and regularly contributes to many industry trades. He is also frequently quoted in articles relating to technology trends and Marketing/PR strategies.

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