NetsforLife® Inspiration Fund Supports Commitment to MDGs

September 23, 2010

President Obama spoke late Wednesday afternoon during one of the final sessions of the three-day United Nations Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In his speech, the president introduced the new US Global Development Policy, which reaffirms the administration’s commitment to the MDGs and outlines an updated approach to supporting development efforts worldwide.

“The purpose of development, and what’s needed most right now,” the president said, “is creating the conditions where assistance is no longer needed. So we will seek partners who want to build their own capacity to provide for their people. We will seek development that is sustainable.”

Episcopal Relief & Development applauds this shift in US aid policy – working through local partners on context-driven solutions that support progress toward achieving the MDGs has been integral to the organization’s approach for many years.

The MDGs were adopted in 2000, with the intention that the markers be achieved by 2015. Episcopal Relief & Development uses these goals as a framework to guide its efforts and help measure the impact of its programs. Each of its four focusareas (health, hunger, economic opportunities and disaster response) and all of its international programs work to achieve one or more of the MDGs.

The Episcopal Church initially dedicated itself to supporting the MDGs at the 2003 General Convention, and put its commitment into action in 2006 by endorsing the MDG Inspiration Fund, which raised over $3.2 million in three years. In 2009, the Church renewed its support of the MDGs by pledging 0.7% of its annual budget to the new NetsforLife® Inspiration Fund, inspiring Episcopalians to donate and help fight the spread of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. The NetsforLife® Inspiration Fund is now the official channel for the Church’s support of the MDGs in the 2010-12 triennium.

“The NetsforLife® Inspiration Fund provides an opportunity for all Episcopalians to live out their faith and affirm their commitment to MDGs,” said Joy Shigaki, the fund’s Director. “It’s an honor to be leading this effort in partnership with the wider church.”

The Inspiration Fund supports the NetsforLife® program partnership, which, since 2008, has delivered more than 2 million nets across 17 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. NetsforLife® combats malaria by training community “malaria agents” to deliver life-saving nets, educating community members about proper net use and maintenance, and providing ongoing monitoring and evaluation of net use. These activities are carried out in partnership with churches and faith-based groups in remote areas across the continent, and result in less sickness, fewer deaths and stronger communities. The NetsforLife® program partnership is making a difference in addressing all of the MDGs, but particularly goals 4 (reducing child mortality), 5 (improving maternal health) and 6 (preventing and treating disease).

“The beauty of focusing on malaria prevention is that it enables progress on all of the MDGs,” said Episcopal Relief & Development President Rob Radtke. “Progress cannot be made on reducing extreme poverty, educating children, empowering women or many other priorities if people are sick. The Episcopal Church has been a prophetic voice on the MDGs, and as we enter the final five years before 2015 it is important that we not lose momentum.”

Episcopal Relief & Development’s Inspiration Fund enables Episcopalians to live their faith by making a positive difference in the lives of millions around the globe through local, grassroots engagement in communities across the country. Through the Inspiration Fund, parishioners, clergy, students and seminarians can continue to work to address the Millennium Development Goals through the work of Episcopal Relief & Development.

For more information on how Episcopal Relief & Development is helping The Episcopal Church live its commitment to its neighbors worldwide, visit www.episcopalrelief.org. There, you can learn about the Millennium Development Goals and how they guide Church-supported development work, and contribute to life-saving programs through the NetsforLife® Inspiration Fund.

To support Episcopal Relief & Development’s work, please visit www.episcopalrelief.org or call 800.334.7626, ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to Episcopal Relief & Development, PO Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-7058.

Episcopal Relief & Development is the international relief and development agency of the Episcopal Church of the United States and an independent 501(c)(3) organization. The agency takes its mandate from Jesus’ words found in Matthew 25. Its programs work towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Together with the worldwide Church and ecumenical partners, Episcopal Relief & Development strengthens communities today to meet tomorrow’s challenges. We rebuild after disasters and empower people by offering lasting solutions that fight poverty, hunger and disease, including HIV/AIDS and malaria.

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