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UNICEF NZ goes "Under Cover" to save lives

UNICEF NZ (UN Children’s Fund)
Media Release

UNICEF New Zealand goes “Under Cover” to save lives

NEW ZEALAND, 29th October 2009 – This week the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) New Zealand launches a ground breaking online campaign. The campaign is called UNDER COVER because UNICEF wants every child at risk of getting malaria to sleep safely under the cover of a life-saving net.

UNICEF Online Marketing Manager Liz Phillips says that every thirty seconds a child dies from malaria ¬¬– a figure that is unacceptably high. Malaria is a preventable disease spread by mosquitoes. It claims the lives of 1 million people per year, mostly children living in Africa.

UNICEF New Zealand aims to raise $385,000 to buy 35,000 life-saving bed nets for children. The UNDER COVER campaign is part of a global UNICEF drive to deliver 25 million bed nets to children in malaria endemic countries by the end of 2010.

“We are asking Kiwis to help UNICEF protect children from malaria by visiting and purchasing a bed net for just $11.

What’s unique about the UNDER COVER campaign is that we are using a widget, an online fundraising tool that people can add to their websites, blogs and social networking pages, allowing them to set their own personal fundraising targets and invite others to help them raise money for UNICEF.

We expect this new way of fundraising to be simple, rewarding and fun because family and friends can visit a person’s Facebook page, blog or website, donate $11 and save a child’s life. For businesses, adding an UNDER COVER widget to their site is a cost effective way to engage in corporate social responsibility”, says Ms Phillips.

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To get your own UNDER COVER fundraising widget go to Or alternately just visit the site and make a simple donation.

Money raised will be used to help people like Saweba Abu, a young mother who knows the dangers of malaria all too well. She has one child – but she has given birth to three. Saweba has already lost a son and a daughter to malaria. The thought of losing another fills her with dread. “Always in my heart,” says Saweba holding her only remaining baby, “I worry that I might lose another child.”

The good news is that significant advances are being made in the global fight against malaria – largely through the provision of insecticide treated bed-nets to people at risk. Costing just $11 each, bed nets provide effective protection, halving the number of children who become unwell, and reducing child mortality by 20 per cent.

“What is more, just one net can provide protection for a whole family”, says Ms Phillips.

Malaria Facts and Figures

UNICEF is a global leader in the fight against malaria.

• 40% of the world’s population is at risk of contracting malaria.

• Malaria infects 350-500 million people each year.

• One in five of all childhood deaths in Africa are caused by malaria.

• Malaria victims develop high fevers and suffer from severe convulsions, anaemia and other complications. In children it is usually fatal with 72 hours.

• Malaria infection during pregnancy is associated with severe anaemia and other illness in the mother. It causes low birth weight among newborns and has life long effects on child health and development.
• Malaria has serious economic impacts in Africa. It slows economic growth and development and perpetuates the vicious cycle of poverty.

How you can help

Visit and purchase a life saving malaria net for a child for just $11, or sign up for a widget to add to your website, blog or social networking site.

Where the money goes

Money raised will be used to buy malaria nets for children living in Africa. UNICEF New Zealand aims to provide 35,000 bed nets as part of a global UNICEF drive to provide 25 million bed nets to children at risk.


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