Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Twittering for bed nets

Celebrities will begin to send Twitter messages today to raise awareness about malaria. Bill Gates, Colin Powell and Shaquille O'Neal are some of the celebrities that will encourage their followers to buy mosquito blocking bed nets.

Tonight's American Idol will also raise money for malaria fighting with money going the United Nations Malaria No More campaign.

From Reuters, writer Alex Dobuzinskis tells us more about the events.

Organizers of the Twitter fund-raising push are working with the United Nations Special Envoy for Malaria, Ray Chambers.

"It's one of the few campaigns I'm aware of where $10 buys a bednet which can save a child's life," Chambers told Reuters. "The tangible feel of it is greater than any other campaign I've been exposed to."

Malaria causes more than 1 million deaths annually worldwide, but the problem is most acute in Africa.

On Wednesday, singing contest "American Idol," the top-rated program on U.S. television, holds its "Idol Gives Back" show. That too will ask for public donations for malaria relief, as well as charities working with children and poverty in the United States.

The Twitter campaign is a way to build that awareness, because collectively, the participants have 50 million followers on social networking site Twitter.

Organizers said it was unclear how much money will be raised through the campaign, which was inspired by a race a year ago between actor Kutcher and news outlet CNN to be the first to reach 1 million followers on Twitter.

After Kutcher won the contest, he donated $100,000 to Malaria No More, which is one of the groups that will benefit from this latest Twitter campaign.

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