Nothing But Nets

A new partnership between
“sacred” and “secular” designed to save lives has been

Malaria kills. Send a net. Save a life.

Acting on this simple message can save the lives of millions of children who are infected with malaria. A child dies every thirty seconds from the disease which is preventable and can be treated with early intervention.

A global, grassroots campaign to prevent death by malaria was announced today in New York by Bishop Thomas Bickerton, resident bishop of the Western Pennsylvania Area of The United Methodist Church and Mr. Michael Madnick, executive vice president of the United Nations Foundation.

Nothing But Nets is a fundraising and distribution program for mosquito nets that will protect sleeping children from malaria-carrying insects. Nightfall is the prime time for these mosquitoes to feed. Children and pregnant women are more susceptible to the parasite born by the mosquitos, according to United Nations Foundation staff person, Elizabeth McKee, who briefed media in New York.
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The initiative was inspired by an article written by columnist Rick Reilly of Sports Illustrated. He challenged “anyone who has ever cut down a net, jumped over a net, watched the New Jersey Nets, worn a hair net, or thought of Angelina Jolie in fishnets” to donate $10 to purchase insecticide-treated nets. Reilly’s readers, most of whom are males between 18 and 30, contributed $1.2 million.

The UN Foundation picked up on this interest and sought major partners whom they felt could anchor a wider appeal. Agencies of The United Methodist Church, joined the partnership.

Reilly delivered a podcast thanking the people of The United Methodist Church for their support of the initiative. A crew from United Methodist Communications traveled with Reilly to Nigeria last week to document a net distribution program. This visit will be reported in a variety of media in coming days.

Press Briefing
Gen. Sec. Randy Day, General Board of Global Ministries and Bishop Bickerton at Nothing But Nets press briefing.

In several interviews during a busy morning of media appearances, Bishop Bickerton said the partnership “is a natural. The church has extensive service ministries to prevent and treat malaria and other diseases of poverty and has long supported the humanitarian outreach of the United Nations.”

Bishop Bickerton is president of United Methodist Communications which is one of the general agencies of the church engaged in the partnership. Before the launch he presented the initiative to the United Methodist Association of Communicators, the Connectional Table, a coordinating body of the church, and the Council of Bishops, receiving affirmation from all three. General Secretary Randy Day of the General Board of Global Ministries also participated in the launch.

In addition to United Methodist Communications, the General Boards of Global Ministries, Church and Society and Youth Division of the Board of Discipleship are supporting the global health effort.

Additional partners have joined the initiative including: AOL Black Voices, Rotarians’ Action Group on Malaria (RAM), and Unwired Appeal.

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