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By: Rachel Henderson

Malaria Advocates Rally in Washington for World Malaria Day

May 25, 2017

This is the third and final day of the campaign’s annual Leadership Summit to train and mobilize the next generation of grassroots leaders in the fight against malaria. “We have the opportunity to end malaria in this generation,” said Margaret Reilly McDonnell, director of Nothing But Nets. “Our advocates are incredibly dedicated to this fight and want to help us save lives.”

In response to dramatic proposed funding cuts to foreign assistance programs and UN agencies engaged in life-saving work around the world, Nothing But Nets champions will meet with their members of Congress to help ensure the U.S. does not back away from its commitments to the fight against malaria and maintains a strong relationship with the United Nations. The Summit is hosted alongside JCI USA, a leading partner in grassroots advocacy, with more than 30 Jaycees in attendance from chapters across the country. During the Summit, champions heard from television broadcaster and malaria survivor, Charlie Webster, and model, DJ, humanitarian, and president of Stand 4 Education, Mari Malek, along with several other UN and malaria leaders to learn the necessary skills to build awareness and advocate for crucial funding for the United Nations, the President’s Malaria Initiative, and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. “Last August, malaria almost claimed my life,” said television broadcaster and athlete, Charlie Webster. “If by telling my story, I can save just one life, everything I went through was worth it. This disease is preventable and treatable – we can end malaria in our lifetime.”

Nothing But Nets also announced its “P.L.E.D.G.E. to Protect” vulnerable refugees, children, and families from malaria, reflecting its ongoing commitment to achieve the United Nations-led Sustainable Development Goals and to support the concerted worldwide efforts to end malaria. The P.L.E.D.G.E. is an acrostic representing the full spectrum of the campaign’s work: (P)rocuring and distributing life-saving bed nets; (L)everaging its partnership with the UN and other organizations; (E)ngaging advocates and policymakers to secure critical U.S. funding; (D)elivering diagnostics, treatment, innovating tools, and education to health workers; (G)rowing its base of champions, partners, and donors to fight malaria; and (E)nding malaria for good.

In recognition of World Malaria Day and its P.L.E.D.G.E. to Protect vulnerable families, Nothing But Nets is rallying partners and grassroots supporters to deliver 25,000 urgently-needed bed nets to refugees and displaced families in South Sudan. Several partners have made commitments this month – The Benito and Frances C. Gaguine Foundation will match funds donated towards this goal. Leading bed net manufacturer, Sumitomo Chemical Co., renewed its annual commitment to match up to 350,000 nets to inspire campaign donors to join the fight to defeat malaria this year.

Virtual reality was a new theme throughout the Leadership Summit. Last month, Nothing But Nets launched its first-ever virtual reality film, “Under the Net,” a short documentary featuring Amisa, an 11-year-old girl living in the Nyarugusu Refugee Camp in Tanzania. The award-winning film was shared with Summit participants and discussed by the filmmakers and VR experts from Secret Location, Discovery Communications, and The Newseum, which featured “Under the Net” as a Top Ten VR Film in its December showcase. Champions will take “Under the Net” to Capitol Hill today to share with their members of Congress and staff. “Virtual reality has the power to connect audiences in an emotional, authentic way with what it’s like to live as a refugee impacted by malaria,” said Rachel Henderson, communications manager for Nothing But Nets. “We hope that Amisa’s story can inspire people to take action to help us save even more lives.” Every two minutes, a child dies from malaria.

Nothing But Nets is the world’s largest grassroots campaign fighting this disease caused by a single mosquito bite. The campaign has raised $60 million and delivered over ten million nets and other malaria interventions and treatment through its UN partners to protect refugees and vulnerable families. Since 2000, there has been incredible progress made to defeat the disease – more than 6.8 million lives have been saved, and child mortality rates have decreased 71% in sub-Saharan Africa. Anyone can send a net and help save a life – visit to learn more.

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Rachel Henderson Communications Manager, Nothing But Nets


About Nothing But Nets

Nothing But Nets is the world’s largest grassroots campaign to save lives by preventing malaria, a disease which claims the life of a child every two minutes. 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. Nothing But Nets has raised over $60 million to help deliver ten million bed nets to families in need, along with other crucial malaria interventions. In addition to raising funds for its UN partners, Nothing But Nets raises awareness and voices to advocate for critical malaria funding for the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. It only costs $10 to help save lives from this deadly disease. Visit to defeat malaria.

About The United Nations Foundation

The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by philanthropic, corporate, government, and individual donors. Learn more at:

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