What is it?
Malaria No More UK has come up with a list of seven actions it wants the public and politicians to take over the next 15 years in order to dramatically reduce deaths from malaria in developing countries. Launched on World Mosquito Day (20 August), the #malariatodolist is based on the World Health Organisation’s latest Global Technical Strategy for Malaria and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership’s Action and Investment to Defeat Malaria, both of which lay out concrete milestones and targets for defeating malaria by 2030. Hosted on the content publishing platform Playbuzz, the list has been brought to life with a series of animations featuring Ziii the malicious mosquito, which the charity is encouraging supporters to share on social media. It has also sent extra-large self-adhesive notes featuring Ziii to supporters and MPs across the country, asking them to take selfies and tweet what they are doing to help eradicate malaria.
The charity is encouraging supporters to buy beaded African bracelets for £5 from the fashion retailer Jack Wills and bottles of the newly launched 1897 Quinine Gin, available online for £39.99 from the alcohol website Master of Malt. All profits from bracelet sales will go to the charity, as will £5 from each bottle of gin sold.
How much did it cost?
Less than £5,000, which was used to produce the giant post-it notes and pay for the illustrations to be done by an external agency.
How successful has it been?
More than 300 people have promoted the #malariatodolist on Twitter, while Facebook posts about the campaign by the tennis player Andy Murray received more than 5,000 "likes" and 200 shares. Other celebrities to have supported the campaign on Twitter or Facebook include the reality TV star Joey Essex, the former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips and the soul singer Aloe Blacc. Politicians have also got involved: 18 MPs, including the shadow international development secretary Mary Creagh, promoted the list on Twitter, while a further seven MPs sent press releases about it to their local newspapers.
What the charity says
Roz Hobley, communication and media manager at Malaria No More UK, says: "Our aim with this campaign was to communicate a serious message in a populist manner to maximise public and political awareness and to inspire engagement. The campaign has so far been amplified and supported by an eclectic mix of supporters, indicative of the coalition of a wide range of partners that Malaria No More UK seeks to engage in the malaria fight. This campaign comes at a pivotal moment – there has been exceptional progress to save lives, but for this to be sustained it is vital that public support and political will continue locally and globally."
Third Sector verdict
The concept of a to-do list is compelling – it makes sense to educate the public and politicians about what members of the global health community have committed to do to combat malaria over the next 15 years. But the charity’s efforts to simplify the pledges of the WHO and Roll Back Malaria might have gone a bit too far, because what is left is a series of vague targets – such as "sustain and find new sources of funding" and "ensure life-saving prevention and treatment are available for all". It might be a good lobbying tool, but a list of more concrete ways that ordinary members of the public could themselves help to combat malaria might have been more effective. Nevertheless, the campaign has generated impressive traction among celebrities, politicians and other supporters on a modest budget, so the charity clearly deserves credit for its ability to leverage and influence its contacts to make a noise, particularly on social media.