Out of everything I have done on campus as a Malaria Fellow with Nothing But Nets and the Religious Action Center, the most successful endeavor has been my advocacy work. After kicking off the fellowship in D.C. with meetings on Capitol Hill, I was very motivated to come back to my home district in Madison, Wisconsin and meet with my members of Congress, as well as give my peers the amazing opportunity to advocate about the importance of strong U.S. leadership and funding in the fight against malaria.
When I got confirmation that my first meeting would be with Congressman Mark Pocan himself, as opposed to a member of his staff, I was overjoyed. I rallied three of my friends to join me at the meeting. We met the night before the meeting to go over key notes and pointers, until everyone was ready.
Our meeting went really well. Our points were well received by Rep. Pocan, and he even expressed strong interest in joining the Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases Caucus in the House of Representatives, a group working hard to increase support within Congress for the fight against malaria. Leaving the meeting, my friends’ faces were full of smiles. They felt the difference they made in that meeting and were ready for another one. As they described it, meeting with Rep. Pocan was not much different from having a conversation with a friend.
The next two in-district meetings went just as well, and I brought eight other students along with me. Providing them with this experience was just as rewarding as the difference we made advocating to our elected leaders. We told staff for Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Sen. Ron Johnson about Nothing But Nets and what we planned to do around campus to raise awareness for the campaign and malaria. They were very receptive and impressed with our work – even expressing interest in attending an event.
Now, not only are my members of Congress more informed about malaria, I also have eight more girls involved and engaged in meaningful advocacy actions. With this new experience and knowledge, my friends can now go on to have more meetings with their elected leaders and feel comfortable to advocate and educate the rest of our student body about the impact of malaria, the amazing work of Nothing But Nets and UN partners , and the critical role that the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the President’s Malaria Initiative play in combating this deadly disease.
Interested in taking advocacy action for Nothing But Nets? It’s simple!