Soccer-themed Ebola campaign aims to rally Africans
A Liberian soccer star has already recorded a pop song to raise awareness about Ebola in West Africa (Aug. 18, p. 36). Now, a new public education campaign is using soccer imagery to rally West Africans to fight the disease.
The Africa United campaign launched this month with a pair of videos. “West Africa vs. Ebola” features British actor Idris Elba as a soccer coach giving a stirring locker room speech to West Africa to prepare for the “life or death” match against Ebola. He describes tactics to avoid the virus and explains symptoms.
Elba also recruited a roster of African soccer stars for another spot, “We’ve Got Your Back,” in which the players acknowledge that healthcare workers are the real heroes. Each player wears a jersey bearing the name of a healthcare worker in tribute to “the world’s most important team.”
Elba, familiar to devotees of the HBO drama “The Wire” for his portrayal of entrepreneurial drug kingpin Stringer Bell, helped develop the campaign, which is a joint effort with the CDC Foundation and international health and aid organizations.
Elba, left, whose father grew up in Sierra Leone, is the “creative force” behind the campaign. Donations will benefit the CDC Foundation’s Global Disaster Response Fund and UNICEF.