Fashion and sports follow Live Aid's lead
You watched or supported the televised Live Aid ``global jukebox'' rock concert that raised millions for famine relief to Africa? Then mark two more dates on your TV viewing schedule, for the offspring of Live Aid -- Fashion Aid and Sport Aid:
Nov. 5. Fashion Aid aims to hit satellite TV to raise more money for Africa. (Story on the hazards of misdirected food aid, Page 11.)
Starting as a young boy's plan to hold a fund-raising fashion show at his school, the idea has grown into a gala night at the Royal Albert Hall in London. It is to include top French, United States, and other designers unveiling special fashions -- and appealing for funds.
Can fashion command a big TV audience? ``We think so,'' says spokeswoman Ann Marie Fitzgerald in London. ``There'll be tie-ins with fashion magazines and the industry . . . top models will be used, and we'll feature the best in British design.''
On the organizing committee: Jasper Conran, son of business tycoon Terence Conran, and designer Michael Armenia.
The second or third week in May next year. Sport Aid will stage a week of athletics, soccer, boxing, wrestling, martial arts, and perhaps more in Birmingham, England.
It will culminate in a ``Race Against Time'' marathon for 100,000 runners in Britain and, it is hoped, many more in other countries at the same time.
``We'd want 1 million pairs of feet running in marathons around the world on the same day to raise funds,'' says co-organizer Chris Long, a London businessman.
``The UK events will be held indoors in the National Exhibition Center in Birmingham. We plan to have them matched by special events in the US. We're planning to have the whole week on satellite TV, and we're talking to TV people in the US. I can't say more just now.''
Both events are being organized by separate committees that approached rock singer Bob Geldof and British architect Kevin Jenden, leaders of the Band Aid Trust. It was Band Aid that organized the all-star hit record ``Feed the World'' in Britain last Christmas and the Live Aid concert in Wembley Stadium, London, July 13. A simultaneous concert was held in Philadelphia.
``We've approved both ideas and we've asked the two committees to do the organizing,'' said Mr. Jenden, director of operations of Band Aid Trust, in an interview here.
Another part of the Live Aid future: an ambitious plan by Live Aid volunteer staff called ``Schools for Africa.'' The aim is to encourage British and Irish schools to donate 6,000 tons of whole-wheat flour, sugar, dried split peas, and lentils for African relief.
Volunteers hope US schools will follow the example of the British and Irish schools. Nationwide advertising starting this month urges schools to use vouchers to apply for six reinforced 55-pound cloth sacks. Cost: $5.60.
Then, children are to bring food items to school. The filled sacks are to be taken to one of British Rail's 600 Red Star parcel offices. The railroad has agreed to carry the sacks of food free of charge to ships that will take the food to Africa.
The idea taps the same youthful idealism that caused the original Band Aid record to sell 6 million copies and raise about $15 million. A US companion disc, ``We Are the World,'' generated millions more dollars.
The Live Aid concerts in London and Philadelphia have raised at least $56 million worldwide, with almost $28 million of the total from Britain alone, Jenden says.
``There'll be more,'' he predicted. ``Forty million pounds is what we know we're getting. Money keeps coming in. One million letters were still unopened in the US last week, and the appeal telephone line has been reopened there.''
Pop stars Mick Jagger and David Bowie have just recorded a single and made a video of ``Dancing in the Street,'' shown during the Live Aid concert. Proceeds go to the African fund, Jenden says.
``Live Aid has three dilemmas,'' commented a private British aid agency official who is in touch with the organization. ``It's collected more than it thought it would. It must find a place to start in Africa, which is a complex place. And, to be powerful in the rock world doesn't mean power in the development world: Development aid is a tough business.''
So what's being done with all the money? Jenden acknowledges that as large as the funds raised might seem, they are ``drops in the ocean'' compared to Africa's needs.
Right now, Jenden and fellow volunteers are visiting Africa, talking to the US Agency for International Development and to private aid groups on both sides of the Atlantic, seeking ideas on spending the money.
As he prepared to leave for Ethiopia himself, Jenden ticked off actions financed so far:
One thousand tons of grain, 1,150 tons of sugar, 740 tons of dried skim milk powder, 140 tons of high-energy biscuits, 34 four-wheel-drive vehicles, nine trucks, 19 water tanker trailers, 200 tons of diesel oil, and other emergency supplies dispatched to Port Sudan and the Ethiopian port of Assab.
All aid so far has gone to Ethiopia and eastern Sudan, ``but we plan to move wider afield now, and we're looking at projects elsewhere,'' Jenden said. The Sahel countries (Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, and Burkina Faso) are the next logical target.
Live Aid is cooperating with a sister organization in Los Angeles to charter an aircraft to fly $750,000 worth of medical supplies to UNICEF in Mozambique.
``We will soon have running in Sudan 140 lorries [trucks],'' Jenden said. ``Logistics is crucial . . . at the moment.
``We bought up a fleet of lorries from an oil drilling company which was lying unused. We're bringing in 94 lorries from the Middle East.
``In the middle of August we'll start moving grain by road from Port Sudan to El Fasher in western Sudan. We're hoping to move 3,500 tons a month.''
Aid officials say the minimum need for 2 million people starving in remote areas around El Fasher is 1,200 tons a day. Much less has been getting through because the one railroad to the west is periodically washed out by heavy rains. More road transport is urgently needed.
Band Aid and Live Aid money has airfreighted 40 tons of water pipes to help supply the big new refugee camp for Eritreans at Girba in eastern Sudan.
``So far,'' Jenden said, ``we've talked to UNICEF, Oxfam, Save The Children, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR], the Irish agency Concern, and the US group CARE.''
How did Jenden, a commercial architect whose work in London includes designing fast-food stores, become involved with rock singers and famine?
``I was working in Ethiopia last year designing Red Cross emergency warehouses,'' he said. ``I had also a camp for 4,000 orphans. . . . A big project I was working on was canceled through lack of funds. I returned to London and offered to work as a volunteer.''
Early in January this year, he received a phone call from a man he'd never met: Bob Geldof, lead singer for The Boomtown Rats, the Dublin man who had organized the instantly-successful Band Aid record last Christmas.
At a meeting in the offices of Phonogram Records in London's plush Bond Street, ``Geldof poured all these documents onto the floor and said, `What will I do with these?' '' Jenden recalled. ``They were proposals to use Band Aid money on aid projects. I've been working with him ever since.''
Band Aid Trust commissioners are theatrical manager Chris Morrison, solicitor John Kennedy, BBC controller Michael Grade, promoter Harvey Goldsmith, president of CBS records Maurice Oberstein, Bob Geldof, and Midge Ure of the group Ultravox.