World Malaria Day—April 25—is fast approaching.
Led by nonprofit Malaria No More, celebrities of all calibers are using—you guessed it—social media to promote awareness for malaria (“Every 30 seconds a child dies of malaria!”), raise money for nets (“On World Malaria Day, a $10 mosquito net can protect a family as they sleep. Please donate!”) and raise even more money for nets (On World Malaria Day, $50 buys 5 mosquito nets to save lives. Please donate!”) using SMS donation technology (“Text NET to 85944 to donate $10 with your mobile”).
For example, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that Bill Gates and the former Secretary of State Colin Powell joined American Idol host Ryan Seacrest and other celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher on Idol Gives Back.
Not all tweets deliver the same message, however: Tweets such as “mosquito nets do not end malaria. they create dependency” criticize misguided celebrity “badvocacy.”
Furthermore, Karol Boudreaux at the Social Enterprising blog notes that despite the World Health Organization‘s optimistic statistics that demonstrate increased spending on malaria treatment and prevention, the reality may not be as rosy.