Sauber Petronas, the Swiss-based Formula One team, has joined forces with two United Nations institutions in a partnership that is unique in Formula One history. The objective is to bring HIV/AIDS awareness messages to a wide international...
Sauber Petronas, the Swiss-based Formula One team, has joined forces with two United Nations institutions in a partnership that is unique in Formula One history. The objective is to bring HIV/AIDS awareness messages to a wide international audience and to mobilize resources for AIDS-related projects in countries worst affected by the disease.
Team Sauber Petronas will offer the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) space to mark its race cars with the slogan "STOP-AIDS" and the red ribbon symbolizing AIDS in three FIA Formula One Grands Prix on three different continents: Monza (15 September - Italy), Indianapolis (29 September - USA) and Suzuka (13 October - Japan).
"The initial idea for this project came up after the international conference on AIDS in July in Barcelona, when employees of team Sauber Petronas felt that we should try to help in some way," explained Team Principal Peter Sauber. "I contacted Adolf Ogi, the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, who was instrumental in bringing us together with the right people at UN."
This initiative will support fundraising for two projects that provide housing and care to AIDS orphans in Botswana where close to 70,000 children under the age of 15 have lost one or both parents to AIDS. The two AIDS orphan projects in Botswana are being managed by local communities and funded by UNDP.
The House of Hope project provides home-based care for the terminally ill as well as education, training and welfare services for AIDS orphans. It is based in Palapye district, where 40% of pregnant women are HIV-positive. The Maun Orphan Care programme in Ngamiland district was created as a community response to the increasing number of orphans. The centre provides food, clothing and counseling services to orphans.
Adolf Ogi said: "This partnership is another example of constructive cooperation between the world of sports and the United Nations. The high profile of Formula One racing is exactly the type of platform that the worldwide fight against AIDS requires."
"We are proud that team Sauber Petronas can do its part to fight against an epidemic that has become one of the main obstacles to health and development in many countries," commented Peter Sauber. "It is clear that all sectors of society, including motor racing, can contribute to the effort to halt the spread of AIDS."
"The epidemic is getting worse, but there is a ray of hope," said Noerine Kaleeba, a senior adviser at UNAIDS. "Prevention works. By raising awareness through initiatives such as this one, we hope an increasing number of people will learn to protect themselves from HIV infection, and will care for and support those infected and affected."
"This is an outstanding opportunity to mobilize individuals and alert them to the fact that HIV/AIDS is threatening any global progress we have made in the fight against poverty," said Satya Oblet, male top model and UNDP's appointed spokesperson on HIV/AIDS.
On average, live TV broadcasts of Formula One reach 350 million spectators per race. In 2001 alone, Formula One races and related news coverage were viewed by a cumulative total of 54 billion viewers, making it one of the most-watched sports in the world.
Information on the UN HIV/AIDS projects can be found on the website www.stop-aids.com. Donations to UN HIV/AIDS projects may be made at www.stop-aids.com