We took a closer look at Goodbye Malaria, an entrepreneurship initiative to fight malaria.

Malaria is treatable and preventable, but it still claims the lives of nearly 655 000 people around the world every year. In October last year, a group of African entrepreneurs got together and decided it was time to eradicate the disease completely, while creating a sustainable path to development of the African continent. They started Goodbye Malaria as a social enterprise campaign to eliminate malaria through prevention, treatment and eradication programmes across Africa.

Goodbye Malaria raises funds through the sale of quirky, locally made shweshwe pyjama bottoms – which can also be worn as leisure pants – and handcrafted teddy bears. It has also teamed up with another social enterprise, Relate Bracelets, to produce signature Goodbye Malaria bracelets.

Says Goodbye Malaria project manager, Allana Finley, “Our main objective is to raise funds from the sale of the pants, which support our net distribution and spraying initiatives, while creating jobs, raising awareness and supporting local entrepreneurs.

“If a mother and child are covered with a mosquito net at night, they can sleep safely and peacefully. So the idea for the pyjamas is to be covered, peaceful and to save a life in your sleep. We use iconic shweshwe fabric, as it is synonymous with African culture and tradition. It is 100% cotton and all the elements – the fabric, PJ pants, labels and swing tags – are manufactured in South Africa and in Swaziland, supporting local business.

“We also wanted to personalise the design without spoiling the true shweshwe patterns, so we worked together with the fabric designers and we incorporated our Goodbye Malaria citronella flower into the centre of the circles.”

About the teddy bears, Finley says, “We wanted to find an imaginative way to use the fabric offcuts left over from the manufacture of the pants, so that’s what the teddy bears are made of. No one is too young or too old to receive a teddy!

“Each teddy is made by hand and each piece of the teddy is unique, as it is beautifully embroidered by a group of very talented ladies who earn money from every piece. The teddies are named Mashozi – ‘the woman who wears the pants,’ to honour the late wife of anti-malaria warrior, Kingsley Holgate. These two dedicated their lives to handing out nets to communities all over Africa, saving thousands of lives in the process.”

Lauren Gillis, co-founder of Relate Bracelets, says, “The funds from the PJ pants and the bracelets go to Roll Back Malaria and the Global Fund to Fight Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

“These groups do life-saving work to eradicate malaria in Africa, through the distribution of mosquito nets, vaccines and treatments.”

Goodbye Malaria’s mission is multifold. “We aim to eliminate malaria in Africa and support the goal of saving 4.2 million lives by 2015, eradicate poverty by supporting African entrepreneurs, improve local economies, and increase malaria advocacy by creating a fresh voice for the malaria community,” says Finley.

Anyone can get involved in supporting the cause by buying a pair of Goodbye Malaria’s PJ pants or a colourful Goodbye Malaria bracelet.

The PJs and bears can be ordered via email at allana.finley@sonhossocialcapital.com. The bracelets are available on the Relate Bracelets online store at shop.relate.org.za

Says Gillis, “Make sure you know where your money is going when you buy a cause bracelet – each bracelet comes with a pewter ‘R’ bead, a mark of our commitment to authenticity and transparency. If it doesn’t have the ‘R’ bead, then it is not a Relate bracelet.”


This article was first published on 05 September 2014, click here to see the original.