|Nothing But Nets to get 'American Idol' exposure|
Adijat Akeem tucks her child safely beneath an
insecticide-treated mosquito net at her home in Lekki, Nigeria. The net
was provided by the United Methodist-supported Nothing But Nets
campaign. UMNS photos by Mike DuBose.
A UMNS Report by Deborah White*
April 16, 2007
The Nothing But Nets campaign will gain worldwide exposure before
millions of people April 24-25 when the United Methodist-supported
anti-malaria initiative is among charities featured on the top-rated
"American Idol" television show.
Fox reality show, which is rated No. 1 in the United States, will
present a two-night "Idol Gives Back" charity special to raise awareness
and money for organizations that help poor children in the United
States and Africa.
The people of The United Methodist Church are founding partners in
Nothing But Nets, which fights malaria by purchasing and distributing
insecticide-treated sleeping nets in Africa. A donation of $10 covers
the cost of delivering one net and teaching a family how to protect
children from malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Malaria kills more than a
million people per year, and 90 percent of those are African children.
Bishop Thomas Bickerton expressed excitement that the life-saving
campaign will reach its widest audience yet and gain mainstream exposure
through "American Idol," which attracts about 26 million U.S. viewers
each episode and reaches audiences in about 150 other countries.
"It really is this blending of secular and sacred and, as that
continues to unfold in exciting ways, it gives us more and more
possibilities to prevent a disease that prevents a child from having a
long, sustained, fruitful life," said Bickerton, president of the United
Methodist Commission on Communication.
“The inspiring thing for me is that more people are getting the message.”
–Bishop Thomas Bickerton
"The inspiring thing for me is that more people are getting the
message. 'American Idol' provides the opportunity for millions of people
to get the message."
In early April, Major League Soccer became another partner in Nothing
But Nets, which has raised $4.6 million since 2006 - enough to buy and
distribute 460,000 nets. Other partners include the United Nations
Foundation, the National Basketball Association's NBA Cares and Sports Illustrated.
Fox is working on "Idol Gives Back" with Charity Projects
Entertainment Fund, which will distribute money raised to Save the
Children and other U.S. organizations helping children living in
disadvantaged areas of America. In Africa, the money will be distributed
through the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Save the Children, Malaria No More,
Nothing But Nets and The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and
On the TV show's first night, "American Idol" sponsors will make a
donation for each vote cast by viewers for their favorite singers. On
the second night, viewers can make their own donations via toll-free
lines and online.
Sports Illustrated columnist Rick
Reilly visits with school soccer players in Lagos, Nigeria, during a
2006 Nothing But Nets delegation trip to the West African county.
The shows will coincide with Malaria Awareness Day, April 25, when the
Council of Bishops has urged United Methodists everywhere to skip lunch
and donate $10 to send a mosquito net to a family in Africa. April 25
has been observed as Africa Malaria Day since 2001, but this year
President Bush proclaimed the day as Malaria Awareness Day in the United
"Bed nets are the most cost-effective way to protect children from
the mosquitoes that carry this killer disease," said Bishop Janice
Riggle Huie, president of the Bishops Council. "This is an easy,
tangible way to make a difference."
To donate to Nothing But Nets, visit www.NothingButNets.net or go to The United Methodist Church's Web site at www.umc.org/nets. United Methodists also can give through their churches by designating their gift for Advance #982015.
*White is associate editor of Interpreter magazine, published by United Methodist Communications.
News media contact: Deborah White, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or email@example.com.
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