In 2010, Lions and LCIF received an initial grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help fight measles within four specific regions: Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mali and Nigeria. Lions involved in this pilot initiative focused their efforts in three main areas: (1) advocacy at the local, regional and national levels (2) direct involvement in social marketing and mobilization (3) financial support. The efforts by Lions and the Measles Initiative partners were tremendously successful, resulting in 41 million children being vaccinated within these four countries.
Because of the success of the pilot initiative and the role Lions serve within communities around the world, the Gates Foundation awarded LCIF a US$5 million challenge grant in October 2011. Lions and LCIF were asked to match this funding with US$10 million – providing a total of US$15 million for the fight against measles. Lions met this challenge in October 2012, helping to vaccinate more than 150 million children against measles in 2012.
In addition to providing financial support, Lion members began actively supporting vaccination campaigns within several regions: Cameroon, Haiti, Kenya, Nepal, Kenya, Uganda, and Zambia. Lions within the pilot areas continued their advocacy efforts and Lions clubs within many of the measles priority countries actively began planning for upcoming campaigns.
Now, LCIF continues efforts to help children around the world through these vaccinations by committing to raise US$30 million by 2017, the 100 year anniversary of Lions Clubs International. If Lions and LCIF meet this goal working alongside the GAVI Alliance, the contributions will be matched by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, allowing LCIF and Lions to provide US$60 million for vaccinations.
There remains much work in the fight against measles, but Lions have the power to help eliminate the disease. By contributing to LCIF, Lions are helping children in all countries where measles remains a heavy public health burden. Lions’ donations are combined with all donations to the Measles Initiative in order to have a greater impact around the world.
In a survey of nearly 1,700 Lions before the pilot program began, 90 percent of Lions expressed support for the Lions Measles Initiative, and 90 percent of Lions indicated personal motivation to contribute to the program. Comments included: “This is an amazing opportunity to help eradicate a disease!” and “Measles affects children and sight, so it’s a logical extension of what we already do.”
Lions also believe that the One Shot, One Life: Lions Measles Initiative is a great opportunity for membership growth and that partnerships with the Gates Foundation and others from the Measles Initiative are valuable long-term.
To support LCIF and the One Shot, One Life: Lions Measles Initiative, please donate online. Contributions are eligible for Melvin Jones Fellowship recognition.
To read the latest measles elimination efforts of Lions and to learn about other measles updates, visit the Measles News section of our website.