In response to the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa, the UN Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign — a global, grassroots campaign to fight malaria in Africa — announced an urgent appeal to help the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) provide 150,000 bed nets to families fleeing famine and drought.
“Malaria is a leading cause of death among refugees,” said Paul Spiegel, Chief of Public Health at UNHCR. “In addition to food and water, we need bed nets to keep these families safe.” Refugee camps are crowded and typically located on swampy plots of land, creating an environment where malaria-carrying mosquitoes multiply quickly and easily carry the disease between people. Access to insecticide-treated bed nets can help curb the spread of malaria by up to 90 percent.
Protecting refugees has always been a priority for Nothing But Nets. In April, the grassroots campaign sent more than 60,000 bed nets to families escaping the conflict in Cote d’Ivoire and in 2009, Nothing But Nets supporters helped UNHCR send enough nets to cover more than 1 million refugees in Africa — the number of refugees on the continent at the time.
“We’re proud to join UNHCR in protecting the hundreds of thousands of families in the Horn of Africa who need our help immediately,” said Chris Helfrich, Director of Nothing But Nets. “We’ve worked with UNHCR for years to protect refugees across Africa, and working with our supporters and partners across the U.S., we will reach the goal of sending 150,000 bed nets as quickly as possible.”
Within hours of Nothing But Nets’ call-to-action, two of the Campaign’s long-running partners came forward to kick-start the appeal: The United Methodist Church donated $100,000 and the Union for Reform Judaism pledged $20,000 toward the goal. Together, these initial contributions will send more than 12,000 life-saving nets to protect thousands of families from malaria.
Tweet me: Join @NothingButNets & rally for #refugee families in the #HornofAfrica – they need nets now! Just $10 can save a life: http://bit.ly/qsxUQC
In Africa, every 45 seconds, a child dies from malaria, which is easily prevented through the use of an insecticide-treated net. The nets create a protective barrier against mosquitoes at night, when the vast majority of malaria transmissions occur, and are the most cost-effective method of preventing the spread of the disease.
Anyone can join the fight against malaria with a $10 donation. 100 percent of each donation goes to purchasing a net, delivering it to a family, and educating communities on its importance and proper use.
Bed nets work: according to The World Health Organization, enough bed nets have been delivered to cover 76 percent of the 765 million people at risk for malaria, and in three years, 11 African countries have cut malaria rates in half.
To date, Nothing But Nets has raised more than $35 million to distribute more than 4 million nets to families throughout Africa. For more information, please visit www.NothingButNets.net.
About Nothing But Nets
Nothing But Nets is a global, grassroots campaign to save lives by preventing malaria, a leading killer of children in Africa. Inspired by sports columnist Rick Reilly, hundreds of thousands of people have joined the campaign that was created by the United Nations Foundation in 2006. Campaign partners include the National Basketball Association’s NBA Cares, The people of The United Methodist Church, and Major League Soccer’s MLS W.O.R.K.S. It only costs $10 to provide an insecticide-treated bed net that can prevent this deadly disease. Visit www.NothingButNets.net to send a net and save a life.
About the United Nations Foundation
The United Nations Foundation, a public charity, was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities. We build and implement public/private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and work to broaden support for the UN through advocacy and public outreach. Through our campaigns and partnerships, we connect people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. These campaigns focus on reducing child mortality, empowering women and girls, creating a new energy future, securing peace and human rights, and promoting technology innovation to improve health outcomes. These solutions are helping the UN advance the eight global targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). For more information, visit www.unfoundation.org
Negin Janati, United Nations Foundation