Fighting Malaria in the Social Media Age

by Virginia Sowers
ChildFund Community Manager

As the social media minder at ChildFund, it’s continuously fascinating to engage in—and learn from—social actions that come to life via Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and result in a degree of change in the world.

As we lead up to World Malaria Day, Sunday, April 25, we have an opportunity to watch social media do what it does best—motivate people to act.

Last month, Ray Chambers, the United Nations Special Envoy for Malaria, announced the formation of a Social Media Envoy group in support of malaria control. Now that’s a desirable title — social media envoy.

“In our efforts to reach the Secretary-General’s 2010 goal of universal bed net coverage, and to reach the longer term goal of near-zero deaths from malaria by 2015, it is critical that acceleration continue in the malaria control movement,” he said.

The social media envoys plan to take one social action, such as a tweet or a Facebook wall post, in support of malaria control at least once a month over the next year. Their first organized social action is set for Sunday.

The envoys include a mix of celebrities, news personalities and social media gurus such as Anderson Cooper, Arianna Huffington, Larry King, Alyssa Milano, Peter Cashmore (founder of Mashable), Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker, Biz Stone (co-founder of Twitter), Randi Zuckerman (Facebook’s director of marketing) and Sarah Brown (of number 10 Downing Street).

I’ve set up the full list on Twitter. You’ll find Randi Zuckerman at www.facebook.com/Randi.

I invite you to follow this unfolding story via social media—better still, engage in the conversation and take action to help children in Sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 90 percent of malaria deaths occur.

I’ll be blogging again later in the week about ChildFund’s work in malaria prevention and treatment. And I’ll be ChildFund’s own social media envoy on Twitter.

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