Today, telling the United Nations General Assembly that “you’ve got to have faith to build a better world,” Ted Turner launched a new global effort, led by the People of the United Methodist Church (UMC) and Lutheran World Relief (LWR), to raise $200 million to fight malaria in Africa. The new initiative, organized by the United Nations Foundation, will:
• Educate and mobilize the UMC and LWR’s combined constituency of more than 20 million people concerned about malaria and related diseases of poverty;
• Provide financial support to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria;
• Support malaria prevention and health system strengthening efforts; and
• Advance the churches’ on-the-ground health missions.
“In today’s interdependent world, we can’t successfully address the great global challenges unless businesses and NGOs, philanthropic leaders and the faith community work together. This groundbreaking new partnership, which we have developed with generous support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will take our malaria prevention efforts to an entirely new level,” Turner, chairman of the United Nations Foundation, said. “Our collective efforts demonstrate resolve across faiths, countries, and sectors to stamp out malaria.”
Turner was joined at the UN General Assembly’s special thematic session on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by Bishop Janice Huie of the United Methodist Church and youth leader Chad Amour, on behalf of Lutheran World Relief. The MDGs are eight goals slated to be achieved by 2015 that respond to the world’s main development challenges, including poverty, children’s health, empowerment of women and girls, and combating HIV/AIDS.
“Lutheran World Relief is incredibly honored to be joining in this important effort to combat malaria,” said LWR President John Nunes. “By bringing together the power, unity, and passion of 8 million Lutherans, we know we can have a significant impact on one of the world’s most debilitating diseases. We are so appreciative of the United Nations Foundation for their work to marshal attention and resources toward the goal of containing malaria and for including LWR as a key partner in the effort.”
“Some say that envisioning a world without poverty is naïve. I say that accepting a world of rampant poverty is cowardly. Some say that poverty alleviation hasn’t produced enough results. I say that we just haven’t tried hard enough,” Turner said. “Stopping malaria will go a long way toward giving people in poor and rich countries alike new hope and confidence that we can succeed in the fight against poverty and realize the MDGs.”
“This partnership will make a difference across our churches and across the world,” said Bishop Huie. “We have worked with the UN Foundation on the groundbreaking Nothing But Nets Campaign and we’re honored to work with them and the Lutherans to eliminate malaria deaths in Africa. We are also excited about the energy, enthusiasm, and drive that our more than 12 million members worldwide will bring to this important endeavor.”
In addition to this faith-based partnership, the UN Foundation’s Malaria Partnership Initiative includes efforts to strengthen health systems (through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria and the Measles Initiative), build grassroots constituencies through the award-winning Nothing But Nets campaign, and work with Roll Back Malaria on global advocacy efforts.