UN enlists travellers to do ‘massive good’ for global health

4 March 2010

The United Nations wants to raise big money online for the global fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria by asking for small donations through the MassiveGood Initiative – which kicks off today in the United States – that will allow people to make voluntary contributions when they buy a plane ticket, or reserve a hotel room or car.

“The individual contributions may be small. But the thinking is big. Through this partnership between UN agencies and the travel business, ordinary people will have the opportunity to do massive good for global health,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at today’s launch, at which he was joined by his Special Envoy for Haiti and former US president, Bill Clinton.

The idea is that this will be an easy way to give, making the shopper more likely to give. “A small box with a small click” at the bottom of a travel website, as described by Philippe Douste-Blazy, UN Special Advisor on Innovative Finance for Development, at a press conference in New York.

The MassiveGood Initiative is a programme of the Millennium Foundation, an independent not-for-profit that is helping the UN achieve the three health-related Millennium Development Goals which world leaders agreed to meet by 2015, which involve improving maternal and child health, and reducing the incidence of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

All donations will go to UNITAD which is engaging with the UN to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria – which kill 4.4 million people worldwide each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Five clicks will save a life,” said Bernard Salomé, Managing Director of the Millennium Foundation for Innovative Finance for Health, noting that five clicks – the equivalent of $10 – were enough to buy a bed net which would curb exposure to malarial mosquitoes.

According to the Millennium Foundation website, it takes only $2 to treat two children against malaria, $24 to cure an adult of tuberculosis and $40 to provide life-sustaining treatment for an HIV-positive child.

The initiative will be launched in different countries in the coming months, including the United Kingdom, Austria, Switzerland, Spain and Germany.

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