NETwork Against Malaria has a unique structure because of its emphasis on solidarity with Uganda. American volunteers educate American students about bednets, their importance, youth empowerment, and fundraise for the purchase of bednets. NETwork Ugandan volunteers educate Ugandan students about malaria, importance of bednets. They distribute nets through Ugandan schools and community centers where children and women learn the importance and proper use of their new nets. Each demonstration is given in English and the vernacular. The students bring them home and share the message within their families and communities. In preparation for distributions, radio talks are given by Fr. Mujule who educates his people in their tribal languages, as well as, English.
In America, NETwork reaches primarily grade school, high school, and university aged students, but involves people of all ages. NETwork volunteers come from all races, ages, and socio-economic classes. The primary way we fundraise is by selling our volunteer-made jewelry. The beads are made by Ugandan women who have been widowed by or suffer from AIDs or malaria (see our Partner organization’s website BeadforLife.org). These beads are accented using “filler” beads, many of which are donated beads from used or broken jewelry. Jewelry making and sales events help us show young people the impact they can have on their global community, without necessarily spending money. When they make a ten dollar necklace, it can be equated to buying one bednet and saving three lives.
NETwork also fundraises by establishing “NETwork Against Malaria Chapters” throughout the country. These branches use original ideas to feed funds back to the national organization.
NETwork shares its mission with its website, blog, newsletter, motivational speakers, and grade-school curriculum. Its greatest asset and inspiration are its dedicated volunteers both in Uganda and America.
Today NETwork is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose board is run by myself and four sisters who range from ages 15-23. We have reached over 30,500 American and Ugandan students and shared with them our message. Over 25,000 people have purchased jewelry or donated funds and materials. Over 6,000 volunteers have given their time to make jewelry, begin chapters, fundraise, and work events. To date, we have distributed 2,400 bednets. Because of mudslides from the rainy season, Uganda’s fragile infrastructure has limited our net distribution, but by the third week of July, we will be able to distribute 1,000 more nets. We will expand into 2 new regions and by October 2010, we will distribute 4,000 additional nets- totaling 6,400 nets and potentially saving 19,200 lives