Painting a red nose on an aircraft seems a quirky way to draw attention to a fundraising campaign, but it’s delivering results for children around the world.
British Airways has been doing it since 2010 and since then its customers and staff have raised over £20 million (about R384 million) for the airline’s Flying Start Partnership with Comic Relief.
That money has been used to support more than 620 000 people in some of the world’s poorest communities.
It has provided vaccinations to over 100 000 children in countries across sub-Saharan Africa, protecting them from potentially deadly diseases.
In South Africa it has supported a healthcare project called Mothers2Mothers that helps to prevent the transmission of HIV from mothers to their babies.
In Kenya it has empowered young girls through a project that aims to raise awareness to address gender-based violence.
In Ghana it has encouraged women to build careers in IT though a technology bootcamp and an accelerator programme for those who come up with viable business ideas.
Most recently British Airways announced that money collected through Flying Start will be used to support people affected by the cyclone in Mozambique.
The funding will be used to provide emergency shelters, essential food, water purification tablets and health assistance.
Unveiling the red-nosed aircraft, the airline announced that it aims to reach £25 million (about R480 million) by the end of 2020. Of this £2 million (about R38 million) will be specifically invested in projects which focus on early childhood development in communities British Airways flies to.
Its continued support for Mothers2Mothers will enable it to launch new project work in Ghana.
Alex Cruz, British Airways Chairman and CEO, said: “We’re proud of our longstanding partnership with Comic Relief and what better way to get involved in Red Nose Day than to fly a giant red nose around the globe on one of our aircraft.
“Comic Relief does fantastic work in the UK and overseas. The funds raised by Flying Start so far are testament to the generosity of our customers, the hard work of our Flying Start team and everyone that supports that work.”
Liz Warner, CEO at Comic Relief, commented: “British Airways is a fantastic partner that has given us a tremendous level of support since the Flying Start partnership began in 2010. Hitting the £20 million mark a year ahead of schedule is an incredible achievement and something we at Comic Relief are extremely grateful for.”