Can social upliftment methodologies offer critical lessons to help the world deal with the COVID-19 pandemic?

The short answer is yes. The key behind any successful social upliftment project is partnership - the compounding effect of people working together to solve a problem through creativity and innovation. The same principle applies to coronavirus. A collective consciousness and sense of responsibility is our only hope to flatten the curve and eradicate the virus.

As World Malaria Day on 25 April approaches, it serves to highlight the power of partnerships and the impact they can make. Malaria kills more than 400 000 people each year - yet this number is in decline thanks to tireless work by organisations like Goodbye Malaria, whose fight against this devastating disease has secured the protection of over 1.7 million people, thanks to preventative spraying of their homes, among other initiatives.

Goodbye Malaria is one of the longest-running partners of Relate Bracelets, which celebrates its 10th birthday this month, having raised over R11 million for the fight against malaria, through the sale of more than 1 million cause-specific bracelets. Overall, however, Relate Bracelets has during the past decade raised an impressive R60 million for over 100 charities around the world working to improve the lives of the less fortunate, while providing employment opportunities for many of South Africa’s most marginalised citizens.

While World Malaria Day is this year largely overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic, Relate founder Lauren Gillis says it remains important to not only mark the day, but also to use the opportunity to share - and apply to the current reality - the invaluable lessons that have emerged from this and other similar partnerships in respect of economic, social and health priorities. Partnerships like the one between Relate and Goodbye Malaria will be crucial to the efforts to rebuild when the world emerges from global lockdown.

Gillis, along with Sherwin Charles, CEO of Goodbye Malaria and board member of President Ramaphosa’s Solidarity Fund, have learnt critical lessons from their businesses which they want to see put to good use in the current crisis.