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United Methodists embrace the fight against malaria

April 8, 2008

SUMMARY: The Fight Against Malaria is viewed as a critical entry point into the larger arena of The Global Health Initiative of The United Methodist Church. A recently completed feasibility study revealed that United Methodist want to increase the availability of medicine, expand public awareness of health issues, mobilize and train health workers. Those were three of nine global health-related goals for The United Methodist Church tested in the recent survey and embraced by local church leaders and pastors.

Published by the Global Health Initiative (GHI), the research indicates United Methodists strongly support the denomination's commitment to conquering malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis.

The GHI
The GHI proposal, to be discussed at the 2008 General Conference, would build upon the recent success of United Methodist ties to the Nothing But Nets ™ crusade against malaria. In addition to educating the public and helping in the fight against malaria, the GHI would expand the church's relationship with the United Nations Foundation and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Three-Phase Research Study
GHI commissioned Community Counseling Services (CCS), Chicago, to conduct the study to determine the potential for a United Methodist educational and fund-raising effort. CCS developed a three-phase research program involving personal interviews with 100 national United Methodist leaders; 11 geographically dispersed focus groups with local church leaders, clergy and members; and an online survey of more than 1,200 respondents around the world. The program assessed five factors critical to a successful fund-raising effort:

- Receptiveness to the case for support of the initiative
- Willingness to support the goals outlined in the case
- Willingness to volunteer on behalf of the campaign
- Willingness to give a gift
- Impressions of support throughout the denomination

CSS found all of the "feasibility" factors tested scored favorably in support of adopting the $75 million minimum level.

Online Survey Results
The results were extremely positive with more than 90 percent of respondents showing support for the denomination's involvement in fighting malaria.

 

Support for UMC Involvement in Fighting Malaria

 

Very Supportive

Somewhat Supportive

Under 100

57%

38%

100 to 249

69%

28%

250 to 499

67%

30%

500 or more

85%

12%

Support for the GHI was strong regardless of church size.

 

Support for UMC Involvement in Fighting Malaria - By Church Attendance

 

Very Supportive

Somewhat Supportive

Clergy

66%

25%

Leaders

50%

40%

Members

49%

43%

Other

62%

30%

Survey participants suggested The United Methodist Church's priorities should focus on increasing the availability of medicine, expanding public awareness of health issues, and mobilizing and training health workers. Nevertheless, all nine goals presented in the study receive strong support among respondents.

Despite the unusually high campaign goal, many respondents believe the amount is achievable, although many feel unsure the total amount can be raised. Less than 10 percent indicated the goal is unachievable.

 

Is Campaign Goal of $75 to $100 Million Achievable?

 

Yes

Unsure

No

Clergy

45%

46%

9%

Leaders

37%

57%

6%

Members

29%

63%

8%

Other

36%

54%

10%

Many respondents also expressed a willingness to contribute time and money to the campaign. Approximately 20 percent of local church leaders, pastors and members are willing to make a five-year pledge or join a committee related to the Initiative with another 50 percent answering "maybe."

Partner Relationships
The GHI Campaign to Fight Malaria also calls for active partnerships with The United Nations Foundation and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Survey participants strongly supported cooperation with other organizations.

 

Reaction to UNF and Global Fund Partnerships

 

Positive

Mixed

Negative

Clergy

63%

28%

8%

Leaders

54%

40%

6%

Members

57%

40%

2%

Other

70%

23%

7%

Since this research, The United Methodist Church has been invited by The United Nations Foundation to apply for a grant to support a malaria-focused fund-raising and educational campaign through the GHI. The grant would provide up to $5 million to support the Campaign to Fight Malaria.

For additional information on the Global Health Initiative of the United Methodist Church, go to www.umc.org/globalhealth.