London — Comic Relief, the hugely popular UK charity, is pulling out all the stops for its biannual Red Nose Day fundraising campaign today, bringing substantial visibility and support for child immunisation in the developing world.
As a GAVI partner, Comic Relief is featuring immunisation as one of the key issues of Red Nose Day, getting communities throughout the UK engaged in having fun, wearing spongy red noses while helping to change the lives of people in need - including the families and communities to which GAVI is devoted.
You can join the fun, too. Red Nose Day is celebrated today on BBC One live television with a telethon that runs from 7pm-1:30 am GMT, packed with top celebrities, comics and singers. Several of them journeyed to Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and other GAVI countries to support immunisation programmes and will appear in appeals videos.
The funds raised during Red Nose Day for immunisation are being matched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through the GAVI Matching Fund. To date, Comic Relief has raised US$ 24 million for GAVI programmes over the past year (including the match).
"Raising cash this Red Nose Day can help change lives forever," says Comic Relief CEO Kevin Cahill. "Comic Relief spends the money raised to help change the lives of poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged people, including through the purchase of vaccines for children across Africa."
GAVI Envoy Bill Roedy and UK official Stephen O'Brien also have written pieces today about the importance of Red Nose Day.
Under the GAVI Matching Fund, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to match up to US$ 50 million donated by companies, foundations, their employees, customers and business partners. The British Government's Department for International Development (DFID) is making a similar match of up to £50 million in pledges by UK organisations.