NetsforLife® Inspiration Fund Exceeds Goal to Fight Malaria

The NetsforLife® Inspiration Fund has successfully exceeded its $5 million goal due to the incredible generosity of supporters across the Episcopal Church and beyond.  Over the 2010-12 triennium, thousands of individuals joined congregations, dioceses, schools and organizations in this church-wide, grassroots effort to unite Episcopalians in the fight against malaria.  Since 2006, Episcopal Relief & Development’s NetsforLife® program partnership has distributed over 11 million mosquito nets and reduced the number of malaria cases by up to 45% in participating sub-Saharan African communities.

“To have raised $5 million, from a grassroots level, by church communities working together is significant,” said Laura Ellen Muglia, co-chair of the national NetsforLife® Inspiration Fund Campaign Advisory Committee. “Even more impactful is knowing that the mosquito nets distributed will mean children, mothers, fathers, grandparents, cousins, whole communities, will have a life without malaria, a new life of many possibilities, a life of hope.”

Working in partnership with churches and faith-based groups, NetsforLife® has been a leader in malaria prevention by distributing over 11 million nets, training 82,000 community malaria agents and reaching more than 30 million people in remote areas across the African continent. NetsforLife® combats malaria by educating community members about proper net use and maintenance, training community agents to deliver life-saving nets and providing ongoing monitoring and evaluation of malaria prevention practices. Of the 17 countries where NetsforLife® is active, five – Angola, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Zambia – have adopted aspects of the program’s methodology as part of their national malaria policy, and many others have solicited input for country-wide strategic planning.

At the 2009 General Convention, the Episcopal Church made the NetsforLife® Inspiration Fund the centerpiece of its prophetic response to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and pledged 0.7% of its budget to this campaign. All Episcopalians were invited to learn more about this disease and how to prevent it, and contribute towards this important undertaking. Led by a Campaign Advisory Committee with four co-chairs and members from across the Church, the campaign exceeded its fundraising goal of $5 million in early 2013.

“I can’t think of any other single effort that has so united our diocese in a common mission and effort. The campaign provided a renewed focus on the work of the MDGs and rallied amazing talent and leadership from parishes large and small,” reflected the Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, co-chair of the national NetsforLife® Inspiration Fund Campaign Advisory Committee and Board Member of Episcopal Relief & Development.  “The work of Episcopal Relief & Development is at the center of our Christian calling to heal a hurting world.”

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.

“It was exhilarating to see Episcopal churches and dioceses come together to significantly improve the lives of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa through the work of NetsforLife® and this campaign,” stated Barbara Case Senchak, co-chair of the national NetsforLife® Inspiration Fund Campaign Advisory Committee. “All of our communities were strengthened because of it. This truly is the best of Christianity in a global effort.”

Although the campaign is complete, the work of NetsforLife® will continue. The gains made in malaria control are indeed still fragile and will require on-going investment. In 2013, the goal is to distribute more than 3 million nets.

“The passion, creativity, and enthusiasm across the Church for this campaign has been nothing short of extraordinary,” stated Joy Shigaki, Director of the NetsforLife® Inspiration Fund. “From organizing basketball tournaments, runs, cookie sales and educational forums on malaria, this campaign has been a life-giving and transformative effort to witness.”

See our campaign “thank you” video and other inspiring stories from the campaign:

Episcopal Relief & Development is the international relief and development agency of the Episcopal Church 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. Episcopal Relief & Development works closely with the worldwide Church and ecumenical partners to help rebuild after disasters and to empower local communities to find lasting solutions that fight poverty, hunger and disease, including HIV/AIDS and malaria.