NETwork Against Malaria is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting the spread of malaria through the purchase and distribution of bed nets. Circle of Sisterhood provided a $4,000 grant to NETwork Against Malaria in October 2013 to support their work with children in rural Uganda.
NETwork Against Malaria distributes bed nets to children, pregnant women, and families in Uganda. Their current focus is Ugandan students, a population to whom no other NGO distributes. They plan to distribute a bed net to each student in every one of the 51 schools in Katulikire, an area significantly impacted by the war in Northern Uganda.
Students can miss up to 60 days each year with malaria which causes them to fall behind in school and drop out. NETwork has learned from experience that enrollment increases after distributing nets at a school. Their work has led to parents sending their children to the free public schools hoping their child will receive a net. The nets benefit the students and their siblings since they do not sleep in beds but on the floor with their siblings. About three children can sleep under one net, instantly multiplying the impact of this work.
NETwork volunteers live in the community where nets are distributed and oversee 51 schools which are the focus of distributions. Before distributing nets to a specific school, they determine the school population and appropriate programming for the students in attendance. Education to ensure students learn and understand the importance of bed nets and how to use them properly is the priority. Without education, they may not understand the significance of the bed nets and may misuse them. Each distribution has presentations in both English and the local language so nothing is confused or lost in translation. Students bring the nets home and teach their families.
NETwork reports that as of May 2014 over 875 nets have been distributed thus far in Katulikire. This is 25% more than planned due to the organization’s smart use of Circle of Sisterhood resources. In addition to net distribution the team provides education about proper net usage and the importance of staying in school. The value of receiving an education and completing school prior to marriage is reinforced with girls.
Mr. Okello Mark, Deputy Teacher at the Mutunda Primary School shared his gratitude (translation): “Thank you for remembering the girls at our school. Staying in school is very difficult for children in our village, particularly for the girls…I’m proud to say that we have more girls enrolled than boys. We also have woman teachers to be examples. Malaria is the greatest problem [for health] in Mutunda. Thank you for protecting our students so they may stay in school.”
Circle of Sisterhood is proud to support NETwork Against Malaria’s important work in Uganda and we look forward to receiving their final report in October.