BALTIMORE, June 30, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Lutheran World Relief (LWR), The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the United Nations Foundation announced on Monday an unprecedented partnership to mobilize Lutherans in the United States in the fight against malaria in Africa.
The campaign, called the Lutheran Malaria Initiative (LMI), aims to raise $45 million to contribute toward the global goal of eliminating malaria deaths in Africa by 2015. Malaria, a preventable and treatable disease, continues to devastate communities and perpetuate a cycle of poverty. According to the World Health Organization, nearly 1 million people die of malaria each year and every 45 seconds a child dies in Africa. In many communities where LWR and the LCMS work, extreme poverty creates conditions that allow malaria to take hold and spread with deadly consequence.
At a news conference held Monday at Detroit's Historic Trinity Lutheran Church, leaders of the LMI partnership joined representatives from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund), to announce the campaign and discuss the crucial role of churches and faith-based institutions in the effort to end malaria deaths.
Rev. John Nunes, president and CEO of Lutheran World Relief, opened the news conference. "I am excited to be here today with the LMI partners," Nunes said. "This is a day that has been years in the making, and for which millions around the world have been waiting."
Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, spoke next. "The Lutheran footprint for providing care and mercy to those suffering is enormous," Harrison said. "For decades, we have been working with partners and fellow Lutherans at the 'end of the dirt road.' Today, we are delighted to come alongside the LMI partners to take a huge bite out of this horrid disease."
Gloria Edwards, co-chair of the LMI National Campaign Cabinet, offered insights on her inspiration for becoming involved in the initiative. "My husband and I believe in saying yes to the open doors God places before us," she said. "We went to East Africa not long ago and saw a young woman in a malaria-induced coma. We also saw other young children who demonstrated how to use a bed net, and how to let their parents know when they are not feeling well so that they can be taken to the doctor. We are excited to be a part of helping more children and families know how to prevent malaria as well as what to do when they get sick with the disease."
In closing the news conference, Nicolas Demey, corporate partnerships officer with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, said, "It is an honor to work with LMI to help end malaria deaths in Africa. We have the tools and know what we need to do to end these needless deaths. We can do it."
The news conference is available online at www.youtube.com/lutheranmalariavideo.
Following Monday's news conference, Kathy Calvin, CEO of the UN Foundation, added: "Between 40 percent and 60 percent of health care in developing countries is provided by faith-based organizations, like our Lutheran partners," Calvin said. "It is inspiring to see how the Lutheran community in the U.S. can help the UN reach families in rural villages on the other side of the world."
Lutheran World Relief (LWR)
Lutheran World Relief is an international nonprofit organization that works to end poverty and injustice by empowering some of the world's most impoverished communities to help themselves. With partners around the world, LWR seeks to promote sustainable development with justice and dignity by helping communities bring about change for healthy, safe and secure lives; engage in Fair Trade; promote peace and reconciliation; and respond to emergencies. LWR is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, and has worked in international development and relief since 1945.
LWR is a ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), individuals and parish groups in international relief, development, advocacy, and social responsibility.
The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS)
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is a mission-oriented, Bible-based, confessional Christian denomination headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. Founded in 1847, the church body, which ranks as one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, has more than 2.3 million baptized members in some 6,200 congregations and more than 9,000 pastors. In addition, the LCMS owns and operates KFUO radio, two seminaries, and 10 colleges and universities. Its congregations operate the largest Protestant parochial school system in America.
The LCMS has relationships and active mission work in some 88 countries around the world and, in the last five years, has awarded more than $35 million through more than 900 domestic and international grants for emergency response and disaster relief. Today, the LCMS is in full doctrinal fellowship with 33 other confessional Lutheran church bodies worldwide and is a founding partner of Lutheran Services in America, a social ministry organization serving one in every 50 Americans.
The United Nations Foundation (UN Foundation)
The United Nations Foundation, a public charity, was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner's historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities. The UN Foundation is an advocate for the UN and a platform for connecting people, ideas and resources to help the UN solve global problems. They build partnerships, grow constituencies, mobilize resources and advocate policy changes to support the UN's work for individual and global progress. The Foundation's work—focused on select global problems—is decreasing child mortality, improving disaster relief, protecting diverse cultures and environments, creating a clean energy future, empowering women and girls, and improving U.S.-UN relations.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (The Global Fund)
The Global Fund is a unique, public-private partnership and international financing institution dedicated to attracting and disbursing additional resources to prevent and treat HIV and AIDS, TB and malaria. This partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and affected communities represents an innovative approach to international health financing. The Global Fund's model is based on the concepts of country ownership and performance-based funding, which means that people in countries implement their own programs based on their priorities and the Global Fund provides financing on the condition that verifiable results are achieved.
Since its creation in 2002, the Global Fund has become the main financier of programs to fight AIDS, TB and malaria, with approved funding of US$ 21.7 billion for more than 600 programs in 150 countries (as of December 2010). The Global Fund works in close collaboration with other bilateral and multilateral organizations to supplement existing efforts in dealing with the three diseases.
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Lisa Bonds Ph.D.
John Arthur Nunes
SOURCE Lutheran World Relief