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Nothing But Nets campaign gets Advance designation

Dec. 15, 2006

By Melina Pavlides*

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) -- United Methodists are being challenged to a full court press in the fight against malaria.

Now church members can help slam dunk malaria by supporting the global Nothing But Nets campaign through the United Methodist Church's second-mile giving program, the Advance for Christ and His Church. An Advance number -- #982015 -- has been added for Nothing But Nets, a global anti-malaria campaign. One hundred percent of each gift to the Advance will go to the purchase and distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets to protect families against disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Partners in Nothing But Nets include the people of The United Methodist Church, the United Nations Foundation, Sports Illustrated, the National Basketball Association's Foundation NBA Cares, Millennium Promise and the Measles Initiative. The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries and United Methodist Communications are coordinating the church's participation in the campaign.

A Web site,, was launched Nov. 14 and online donations can be made through that site. The people of The United Methodist Church have a partner page on the site. United Methodist Communications has a special Web page through in conjunction with the campaign's site. Both sites feature additional malaria initiatives of the denomination.

"Now that the fundraising portion of the Web site is in gear, we are ready to go full-steam ahead with the broader grassroots support for this initiative," said Grace Hall of the United Nations Foundation. "We want the Web site to be the central hub for all of our fundraising partners and for people to find fun and creative ways to bolster support for their teams.

"With the commitment of the people of the United Methodist Church, the goal for the NBN campaign right now is to get the word out to their constituents utilizing all possible communications channels in efforts to drive them to the NBN Web site to start a team and invite others to join," Hall added. "Within the context of The United Methodist Church alone, that means thousands of congregations all over the country. We have made it easy for those who want to join or sponsor a team to locate that team by entering the team's name or captain's first or last name."

Nothing But Nets was created by the United Nations Foundation in May, inspired by a column written by Sports Illustrated's Rick Reilly. The program was recognized Dec. 14 during the White House Summit on Malaria in Washington, which also highlighted other public and private-sector initiatives on malaria.

Inspiring team spirit

The Nothing But Nets Web team has built a site that is designed to be user-friendly, with features that individual team members can use to help them recruit members and make their pages fun and creative. For instance, teams can upload their photos and post messages to the bulletin board to talk about their experiences, challenge others and share their enthusiasm for the cause.

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose

Muji Bakare (center) receives a mosquito net from Ekanolo Oluremi, a nurse working with the Nothing But Nets campaign, at his elementary school in Lagos, Nigeria.
"We want the Web-based functioning of the campaign to inspire team spirit and competition among participating teams while making it easy for friends, family, co-workers and others to join or sponsor teams," said Shannon Raybold, Nothing But Nets Web-team builder.

The top four fundraising teams will be featured on the Netraiser team page. Teams from different churches, schools, youth groups and even different states can challenge each other to see who can come up with the most innovative and creative ways to raise money for the cause. All of the Netraiser teams will be able to identify their affiliation to partners.

The Nothing But Nets Web site also hosts several downloadable tools for Netraising teams and individuals. More toolkits are being developed by United Methodist Communications for use by Web teams as well. These tools include high-resolution logos and graphics, information about the nets and the plight of malaria in developing countries, details on how to start a Netraising team and frequently asked questions.

Low cost, high impact

"We want people to remember that, above all, $10 buys a net, distributes that net and educates families on the proper installation and use of the nets and other ways to guard and protect against malaria," Hall said.

One net can cover a family of four for up to four years, campaign officials have said.

The campaign will be highlighted at the United Methodist Board of Discipleship's Youth 2007 gathering July 11-15 in Greensboro, N.C.

The Measles Initiative, a Nothing But Nets partner, will be distributing the nets throughout communities in Africa in 2007 and 2008. The first net distribution -- 150,000 in Nigeria -- occurred in October. Another net distribution is set for January in Lagos, Nigeria, with NBA legend Sam Perkins. Partners in the Measles Initiative include the American Red Cross, Centers for Disease Control, United Nations Foundation, UNICEF and the World Health Organization.

Malaria infects more than 500 million people each year, and more than 1 million die from it -- 75 percent of them children under age 5.

Gifts to the Advance can be sent to Advance GCFA P.O. Box 9068, GPO New York, NY 10087-9068 or made online at

*Pavlides is a freelance writer based in Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Tim Tanton, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or

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