Australia’s Movember spreads in Tel Aviv

If you’ve walked around Tel Aviv in the past few weeks and seen some suave looking men with facial hair you might think that moustaches are trendy again (were they ever?).

In reality, the opposite is true. These men have put aside their vanity to sport a moustache throughout the month of November, thanks to Alex McCauley.

Alex, a diplomat at the Australian Embassy, brought the Australian initiative “Movember” (a combination of November + Mo, as Aussies fondly call a moustache) to Israel last year and was part of a team of three to promote the cause. This year, on the campaign’s tenth anniversary, he has nine lookalikes and they have already raised $1575. Altogether, in the past four years his whiskers have raised an impressive $4795.

Movember - Alex
Alex McCauley rocking his Mo

Why the need for Movember? On average men die almost five years younger than women. The suicide rate is about four times higher for men than women and more than four men die prematurely each hour from potentially preventable illnesses.

Movember aims to create a greater awareness and understanding of the mental and physical health risks men face, getting them to take preventative action to remain healthy and ensuring that when they are sick they know what to do and take action. Movember’s tagline, changing the face of men’s health, aptly describes the challenge of participating in Movember – changing one’s appearance by growing a moustache for 30 days, and therefore changing the understanding and attitudes men towards their health.

As a result of Movember 69% of Mo participants had a general check up with their doctor, 79% discussed their health with others and 43% became more aware and educated about the health risks they face.

Alex McCauley and Ben Rhee - Movember brothers
Alex McCauley and Ben Rhee – Movember brothers

Movember has raised about $50 million so far in 2013, with Canada, the US, the UK and Australia the top contributors. There are 21 countries with official Movember participation (not in Israel yet, though Alex is working on it).

In 2012 over a million people participated in Movember worldwide, raising more than $141.5 million and was ranked in the top 100 best NGOs in the world by the Global Journal based on three key main criteria: impact, innovation and sustainability. Not a feat to be taken lightly, with an estimated 5 million NGOs around the world.

About the Author
Esti Sherbelis is PA to the Ambassador and Assistant Public Diplomacy Officer at the Australian Embassy in Israel