Group shifts focus from Sderot’s rockets to solar technology

PR organization NU Campaign decides to champion non-profit Jewish Heart for Africa, providing Israeli solar technology to bring electricity to remote African villages.

The NU Campaign, which brought you the 15-second Sderot T-shirt, has taken up a new campaign, CEO David Kramer told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. The PR organization for social causes has decided to champion the non-profit Jewish Heart for Africa (JHA), an organization that provides Israeli solar technology to bring electricity to remote African villages. Earlier this year, JHA brought electricity to its 100,000th African.
“There’s no better time for such a campaign than with the first African-located World Cup [in South Africa] coming up,” Kramer explained. NU Campaign decided that their new focus would be Israeli contributions to Africa and after researching the organizations working on the continent, they reached out to Sivan Borowich-Ya’ari’s JHA.
“They were only too happy to partner up and we were very impressed with their can-do attitude,” the young social entrepreneur told the Post.
Jewish Heart for Africa purchases Israeli solar technology and installs it using local contractors in African countries like Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia. The electricity generated powers refrigerators for medicines at medical clinics, lights in schools and water pumps.
Such seemingly simple changes can make a vast difference, Borowich-Ya’ari has previously told the Post. Water pumps save village women hours of travel to find drinking water each day, while electricity for lights extends the day itself into the nighttime hours, thus increasing productivity.
NU Campaign features “T-shirt with a cause” awareness-raising campaigns. Their first campaign focused on Sderot and the 15 seconds residents had to find cover after the Color Red missile warning system sounded. The designer T-shirt featured a large number 15 on the front, made up of words describing unique elements of Sderot, while the story of Sderot and its struggle against Kassam rockets from Gaza appeared on the inside of the shirt near the wearer’s heart.
“We want to tell the human story, the narrative that goes beyond talking about the conflict,” Kramer elaborated.
Now, NU Campaign is going even further marketing-wise. In addition to the T-shirt, they’ve put together a video and a Facebook page. The T-shirt features the continent of Africa and the country of Israel, solar panels and electrical appliances – all in the shape of a light bulb.
“The idea is to use fashion for activism. The T-shirts are designed by world famous T-shirt designers and are high quality. The idea isn’t to shout out the message, but to enable the wearer to decide how she/he wants to deliver the message,” Kramer said.
“It’s almost effortless advocacy,” he added. Proceeds will go to cover the costs of the campaign and to JHA. Kramer himself, originally from South Africa, is leaving this week for South Africa with a bunch of T-shirts to liaise with the South African Jewish community about promoting JHA.
“We feel it is a great way to draw attention to Israeli contributions to Africa,” he said.
NU Campaign has also made up a special set of JHA shirts designed to look like Australian soccer jerseys and have teamed up with the Hagov Bar in Jerusalem to screen Australia’s World Cup matches. Five percent of the proceeds of the evening go towards JHA as well.
NU Campaign has also turned to social media outlets to try and raise awareness.
“These are the first World Cup games since social media really got going. During the last World Cup, social media was still in its infancy,” according to Kramer.
To capitalize on the new marketing outlets, NU Campaign produced a 40-second video clip featuring a sect of Ugandan Jews, which JHA has helped, singing “Am Yisrael Hai” and “Shalom.” They’ve also created a Facebook page and vastly upgraded their own Web site, where JHA is the featured cause and information about their other causes can be found.
Thus far, they’ve sold over 2,000 T-shirts for all their various causes.
NU Campaign is only three years old and Kramer feels its just beginning to hit its stride now.
“It took us awhile, but I think we’re beginning to get there. Of course, there’s an endless list of ideas to be implemented and an endless list of organizations to be helped,” he said.
Among the ideas – getting Israeli singers to wear the T-shirts on stage. Hip-hop group Hadag Nahash has already worn the 15-second T-shirt on stage and Kramer said they were in talks with many other big-name groups. He’s also been talking to some of the biggest social welfare organizations in the country about collaborating.
“NU Campaign has decided to focus on one issue at a time, so until after the World Cup, we’re totally focused on Jewish Heart for Africa. After that, we’ve got another campaign idea, which I can’t reveal yet,” Kramer said.