A billboard in Lusaka, Zambia says “United we can beat Malaria: Remember to sleep under your insecticide treated mosquito net every night.” The Lutheran Malaria Program in Zambia is working together with governmental and non-governmental organizations to implement their malaria prevention and control programs.
The ELCA Malaria Campaign is working together with Lutheran companions in 12 countries in Africa to prevent and control malaria. These malaria programs, supported by ELCA gifts and implemented by our Africa companions, work together with national malaria control programs and other non-governmental organizations whenever possible. This makes it possible for the churches to contribute to the wider Roll Back Malaria (RBM) movement, whose motto is “a global partnership for a malaria-free world.”
Roll Back Malaria’s vision is of a world free from the burden of malaria. Below are some of the objectives that RBM seeks to achieve:
Beyond 2015, all countries and partners sustain their political and financial commitment to malaria control efforts. The burden of malaria never rises above the 2015 level, ensuring that malaria does not re-emerge as a global threat.
In the long term, global malaria eradication is achieved. There is no malaria infection in any country. Malaria control efforts can be stopped.
These are laudable objectives, and they are obtainable when global partners come together. The ELCA Malaria Campaign is proud to seek to contribute to this wider network of global partners working to make malaria history.
I highly recommend a new video that was just released by Roll Back Malaria, entitled “Malaria and Poverty.” It lifts up the need for continued support of malaria control and prevention programs, and emphasizes the role that malaria plays in the cycle of poverty. Take three minutes to watch this video now!
Last year, I had the opportunity to meet Ms. Shah when she gave a colloquy presentation at Wartburg College, in connection with their Wartburg Malaria Initiative. I was impressed with her sincerity, her depth of research and the clarity of her presentation.
As I watched the talk, I was additionally struck by the fact the Ms. Shah has a deep appreciation for what we in the ELCA like to call “accompaniment”–walking with our global neighbors in a way that is mutually accountable and mutually uplifting, and moving beyond outdated ideas and unequal relationships based on colonialism. In her TED talk, Shah asks a question that I believe is wonderfully answered through the approach of malaria programs supported by your gifts to the ELCA Malaria Campaign: ”What if we attacked this disease according to the priorities of the people who lived with it?”
I encourage you to watch the video, which can be seen below or accessed here. It will be 15 minutes well spent!
Lucas Owuor-Omondi coordinates the Lutheran Malaria Program of the Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa.
Lucas Owuor-Omondi is one of the global Lutheran partners who are implementing malaria programs with support from the ELCA Malaria Campaign. Lucas coordinates the LUCSA Malaria Program, which is an umbrella organization that supports 5 (soon to be 6) Lutheran Malaria Programs in Southern Africa—programs in Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and soon also in Namibia.
During a visit to Zimbabwe in March, Lucas was asked about the importance of long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nts to the malaria programs in Southern Africa. His answer to that question can be seen in this video below.
In the video, Lucas references the “four pillars,” which are the four key elements of the Lutheran Malaria Programs in Southern Africa. They are:
1.) Increasing the capacity of Lutheran churches to do excellent malaria work (through training and support of staff)
2.) Malaria Prevention and Control (through community education, use of nets, removing mosquito breeding grounds, etc.)
3.) Malaria Diagnosis and Treatment (through access to medication and rapid diagnostic tests, training of health professionals and volunteers, and strengthening of Lutheran health facilities)
4.) Sustainable Livelihoods (through helping communities create Savings and Loans programs and supporting income-generating projects)
As you watch the video, you’ll see that each of these key elements—each of these four pillars—is connected with each of the other three pillars. These are comprehensive malaria programs that approach the issue of malaria from all angles, and always with a community perspective.
“Zimbabwe is one of our five countries within the Regional Malaria Program. One of our interventions is, of course, the net. What we’re doing at the moment is: within our specific areas, we have gone through the process of educating, creating awareness, sensitization. But now we have gone beyond that, to emphasize specifically on messages that are directed towards behavior change. We are already seeing some results.
“But the challenge that we are faced with, is that the mother in that household (which is our unit of practice) has to make a very difficult decision: Which of the children—if she has 5 children—which of the children to have with[in] the net, and which of those children to have outside the net. So this presents itself with a challenge. The government, of course, has done its bit in terms of providing nets, but still we have the problem of nets.
Nets are one key component of a comprehensive, community-based malaria program.
“The most recent studies say that if we can get a 75% net coverage, we are moving in the direction of reducing malaria, the burden of malaria significantly, and [then] we can even talk about eradicating malaria. So for us, the nets are central. If we can get that support to increase the number of nets that we are already providing, it will be a big plus in our program.
“On our part, we are of course trying to address this through our fourth pillar, which is sustainable development. Through this we are trying to encourage income-generating activities. Hopefully that the money generated will go, part of it will go, into the purchase of nets. This is not a “wild card,” so to say, because we have seen it happen. [For example] in our Malawi program, where the program is using the self-help groups and Savings and Loan groups as an entry point, not only to educate the communities, but also to educate the surrounding communities other than the congregation.
“So for us, nets [are] essential. Thank you very much. “
Erin Strybis is one of the Marketing Managers who works at the Churchwide office of the ELCA. Today, ALDE (the Association of Lutheran Development Executives) published an article written by Erin, entitled “Wisdom Wednesdays: Presenting the Right Image.”
In the article (which you can read here), Erin talks about how the ELCA chooses and uses photographs that uphold human dignity.
You may have noticed that the photos used in the ELCA Malaria Campaign don’t show sick children dying from malaria. Instead, they show the skilled volunteers and health care workers who are implementing impactful programming. They depict program participants who have benefited from Lutheran malaria programs. They show children and families whose lives have changed for the better.
Erin writes: “I have a responsibility to tell the story of our organization’s work in a powerful way, but in a way that is grounded in our mission. I try to use photos that are authentic, uplifting and show how our work is relational. The alternative is just not right for our organization. We are telling a larger story: a story of hope, faith and the way God calls us to work in the world together.”
Thank you, Erin, for putting into words the strong relationship we have with our companions all over the world– and the care we take with the words and images that we choose to represent the great work that we are privileged to be a part of!
Average knowledge retention rates among students are much better when they are able to learn in a participatory way. Lutheran malaria programs in Africa encourage participatory learning!
Research has proven that participatory learning brings better results than passive learning. If you hear a lecture about a subject, you retain about 5% of the content, on average. (Hmm… not so great.) If the teacher uses audio visuals or a demonstration, then the rate of retention goes up to about 25%. (Getting better.) If you participate in a discussion group or are able to physically do the thing you’re learning about, retention rates exceed 50%. (Pretty respectable!) And–best of all– if you teach others what you have learned, you tend to remember 90% of the subject matter! (Now that’s learning!)
Malaria programs supported by the ELCA Malaria Campaign use a variety of teaching methods to ensure that community members are able to learn and internalize important information about malaria. In many places, children and young people are among the most important teachers.
In Burure, Zimbabwe, there’s an elementary school that educates 1,000 students. The Lutheran Malaria Program in Zimbabwe has done a great job of educating schoolchildren about the causes and transmission of malaria, what to do when symptoms arise, and how to keep themselves and their families safe. And now the students are ready to be leaders!
Below are two videos from Burure, Zimbabwe, showcasing students who have learned this material so well that they are able to teach others.
In the first video, we meet a girl in the fifth grade at the Burure elementary school. She presents a poignant poem about malaria, written by her class. Watch the video here (or on our YouTube station):
The words shared by this student:
I am in Grade 5A. I am here to present our poem about malaria:
North and South, East and West
Everywhere you go
People all cry, “Malaria, malaria, malaria”
Yesterday it was my brother
Today it is my sister
People are suffering everywhere…
Malaria, malaria, malaria
Headaches and vomiting
People are suffering from it
Malaria, malaria, malaria
Here is a second video depicting students from the elementary school in Burure. These students have written and choreographed songs to educate their families and their community about the dangers of malaria, and what they can do about it. Watch the video here (or on our YouTube channel):
Both in Africa and across the ELCA, youth are taking leadership. I am proud to belong to a national church and a global church with such strong young leaders.
(Many thanks to Pastor Steve Herder of Ascension Lutheran Church in Thousand Oaks, CA for sharing these videos with us!)
Proceeds from The Lutheran Center book sale benefited the ELCA Malaria Campaign
The ELCA’s Churchwide Office in Chicago, otherwise known as The Lutheran Center, recently hosted a used book sale to benefit the ELCA Malaria Campaign. Staff members were encouraged to donate their used books to the sale. Many generous donations led to a very robust sale with an abundance of titles. Shoppers seeking to find a bargain could also do some good, as all proceeds were donated to the Malaria Campaign.
ELCA General Secretary David Swartling is the one who first voiced the idea of a book sale. David also serves on the ELCA Malaria Campaign’s National Leadership Team (our volunteer board). The Book Sale was organized and rolled out in just a few days. Many staff members came together quickly to make it a success!
ELCA World Hunger Staff members, Nate and Justin, browse books at The Lutheran Center Book Sale
Our Lutheran Center colleagues brought hundreds of books to sell ranging from children’s books to novels to science fiction. There was also a healthy selection of theology text books – as one might expect from a book sale at the national church office!
The book sale raised $950 to support prevention, education and treatment interventions for malaria. Thanks to all of our great colleagues who donated books, advertised the sale, volunteered their time, and made additional donations to the Malaria Campaign.
Additionally, there were 32 boxes of unsold books donated to WINGS (Women in Need Growing Stronger). WINGS helps homeless and abused women and children by offering integrated services that meet their needs for shelter, education, guidance and support. They provide safe, secure living environments that allow women to go to school, work, and achieve financial and emotional independence. We were glad that this event benefitted our local community in Chicago, as well as benefitting the work of our companions in Africa.
Book Sale Publicity
Shoppers look through the many and varied titles at the book sale
Recently, Juma Sumahil received a grant from the Lutheran Malaria Program in Mozambique, which helped him to begin his malaria-fighting small business: he makes pottery. Here is his story, in photos and video:
Juma Sumahil is a participant in the Lutheran Malaria Program in Mozambique, which is funded by the ELCA Malaria Campaign.
With the grant he received, Juma purchased a kickwheel and built a kiln in his backyard.
By selling his pottery, Juma generates income for his household.
His pottery creations also have an impact on his neighbors: Juma’s water jugs always come with covers–a barrier to prevent mosquitoes from laying their eggs in the standing water inside the jug.
Juma also creates ceramic water filters, which protect his neighbors from water-borne diseases.
In Panyagor, Twic East County, South Sudan, today is a banner day. Today, our companions in South Sudan celebrate the launch of the Lutheran malaria program there. The program is fully supported by your gifts to the ELCA Malaria Campaign, and is implemented by our partners in the Lutheran World Federation. The program will be active in Twic East and Duk Counties.
For more information about some of the challenges facing this region, and the other ways in which Lutheran World Federation is at work there, please check out this video, entitled “Beseiged by Water: Building a dyke and a future in Twic East.” (Around the 6:00 mark, there’s a great depiction of the impact that a Village Savings and Loans group can make in a community!)
Program staff in South Sudan have been working hard to create local relationships, and many high-profile guests will be attending the launch celebration today. These guests include the District Commissioner, representatives of several government departments (Health, Education, Gender, Social and Child Welfare, Agriculture, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene), community organizations, local chiefs, and representatives from several non-governmental organizations. These guests are signaling their intention to support the Lutheran malaria program, which will greatly contribute to its local impact.
The Lutheran malaria program in South Sudan launches its program today with a celebration in Panyagor, Twic East County.
As the program launches, several priorities have been identified for September:
Identify and train malaria promoters
Identify and register at-risk households in the program area
Train school leaders on malaria prevention and control
Work with health facilities to educate pregnant women on malaria during pre-natal visits
There is much to celebrate in Panyagor today, thanks to your generosity. In the coming month–and in the coming years– the Lutheran malaria program in South Sudan will change lives. As donors and supporters of the ELCA Malaria Campaign, we celebrate alongside our sisters and brothers in Panyagor today–together, we’re making malaria history!
We are pleased to announce that a new Malaria Campaign video is now available online! This two-minute video is a collection of stories, testimonies and updates from the Lutheran Malaria Program in Zambia. The ELCA Malaria Campaign staff had a tremendous opportunity to travel to Southern Africa in March of 2013. While there, we gathered stories, pictures and video of the great malaria interventions that are happening on the ground. We have been sharing stories and photos on our blog steadily ever since. We are glad to announce that the first video field report is ready!
The video was debuted at Churchwide Assembly as a part of Campaign Coordinator Jessica Nipp Hacker’s presentation. The video shows the work of the Lutheran Malaria Program in action, and the gifts of this church make this life-changing work possible. Consider showing it for your next Temple Talk or Fellowship Hour. You can download the video by visiting the ELCA Malaria Campaign website here, view the video below, or find it on the ELCA’s YouTube channel.