One program of the UN Foundation that has achieved a great deal of success thus far, but continues to need an army of citizen foot soldiers to mobilize the masses in order to help wage a war on the dreaded disease of malaria, is called Nothing But Nets (http://www.nothingbutnets.net).
Nothing But Nets is an initiative born from a column written by Mr. Rick Reilly of Sports Illustrated. The purpose is to combat malaria, a disease transmitted by mosquitoes affecting the lives of many- mostly children- in Africa. There are 10 new cases reported every second, and a child dies in Africa every 45 seconds as a result of malaria. In addition, the economic toll on the continent of Africa is staggering; it costs $12.5 billion per year, monies that certainly can be spent on development in many of the continent's most impoverished countries.
It is unconscionable for me to think this is all very preventable through some very low-cost solutions. For a contribution of $10, a purchase can be made of an anti-malaria insecticide-treated bed net that can service a family of four. By accessing the Nothing But Nets website, an individual can make their tax-deductible donation and save lives several continents away. It is really that simple! However, this does not occur without action taken by good people who wish to do the right and moral thing. I urge you to do so today.
There are some other ways, I feel, that could go a long way toward helping to assist in the battle against malaria. With the new school year upon us, I personally call upon administrators and teachers to engage their students in what would be an excellent school wide project.
A fundraising campaign started for Nothing But Nets where students would become actively involved in the community by educating the public about the program and seeking donations for bed nets. Also, with the fall high school sports' seasons beginning, what a great team building exercise this would be to engage each of the players in a campaign to raise money to help those less fortunate.
Imagine the story each student could tell when their parents ask them: "What did you do in school today?" "I saved a life" How unique!
To illustrate what your donations can specifically accomplish, it is worth noting a few success stories from the program. This story begins on the Ethiopian-Eritrean border, an area known for a significant conflict that occurred from May 1998 to June 2000. In two refugee camps, Mai-Aini and Shimelba, insecticide-treated bed nets provided protects the refugees from malaria. Through joint collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Nothing But Nets, monies are being raised to expand distribution to camps in 15 African countries.
Another excellent story, conveyed by the UN Foundation's executive director of global partnerships Ms. Elizabeth McKee Gore on the organization's website (http://www.unfoundation.org/our-impact), discusses the plight of a young seven-year old Eritrean girl named Selam. Her ordeal begins with the young girl attempting to find family who she believes may be in the refugee camps. The next part is very moving: The little girl, alone, actually walked from Eritrea to Ethiopia. Can any parent even begin to imagine what they would feel if they knew, their seven-year old was doing something like this?
Nothing But Nets was able to furnish young Selam with a bed net that would protect her from any potential threatening mosquito bites causing malaria. What could be more devastating than to have this young girl travel this distance, make it to the refugee camp, and then possibly contract malaria when all that was needed was a simple, low-cost bed net to protect her. Fortunately, one was provided for her with the assistance of many citizens making generous donations.
These are just a few of the many success stories that are occurring because people have made a conscious decision to take a stand locally to effect change globally.
For further information on how you can support the UN Foundation's work, please log onto their website at http://www.unfoundation.org or to become involved with the Northern New Jersey Chapter of UNA-USA log onto http://www.unausa.org/join. Together we can make a difference.