Beanery Online Literary Magazine

January 11, 2010

Mosquito Nets Fight Malaria in Africa



Against Malaria Foundation & Nothing But Nets

Monte W. Holland & Carolyn C. Holland

     Two thousand mosquito nets were distributed to families in a community near Kampapa, Uganda, by the Reverend Renee Waun, who visited there in February, 2009. Waun purchased twelve hundred nets using a collection of $6000. Each net can be placed over a bed to keep malaria-carrying mosquitoes from biting during sleeping hours. 


     Waun, the pastor of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ligonier Valley and of Suburban Unitarian Universalist Church in Murrysville, is in partnership with the Against Malaria Foundation (, a charity initiated in August 2004 in the United Kingdom. It is now registered in that country, the United States, Australia and other countries. 

     They Foundation uses 100% of its donations to purchase long lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) for distribution in countries where people, mainly children, are in danger from biting insects when they sleep at night. The nets cost $5.00 each.

         Although the Foundation uses each $5.00 donation to purchase the nets, having no overhead for advertising, etc., it has hidden costs that must be borne in other ways. They clearly have to find agencies to do the distribution the nets, which costs an additional $5.00. (See comment below for clarification of this point.)

     A number of fundraising partnerships were developed by the Foundation to distribute the nets. Many groups raise funds to purchase the nets, some of which also raise the additional monies required for distribution.

         Waun not only distributed the nets which she purchased with the money she collected, she distributed an additional eight hundred nets supplied by the Foundation, purchased by others, in exchange for pictures and video film.

     Upon her arrival in Uganda, Waun was greeted by a parade, complete with a band, put on by the local school with the help of the headmaster.  Participants invited area residents to come and sign up to receive mosquito nets.    

     Waun was instrumental in starting the private school, which is operated by a very talented Ugandan. It has grown to teach about four hundred students, about half from the local area and others who board at the school.

     The website claims that as of January, 2010, about 103,900 nets have been distributed in Uganda, and that one life is saved for every twenty nets distributed. That translates to over five thousand lives in Uganda. Another way to look at it: one Ugandan life can be saved with each $100, which purchases 20 nets.

     Nothing But Nets, a global grassroots campaign to raise and combat malaria, has gained popularity in the United States. This campaign began on May 1, 2006, when Rick Reilly, a sportswriter with a backpage column in Sports Illustrated, in which he wrote Nothing But Nets:

I’ve never asked for anything before, right? Well, sorry, I’m asking now.

We need nets. Not hoop nets, soccer nets or lacrosse nets. Not New Jersey Nets or dot-nets or clarinets. Mosquito nets.

See, nearly 3,000 kids die every day in Africa from malaria. And according to the World Health Organization, transmission of the disease would be reduced by 60% with the use of mosquito nets and prompt treatment for the infected.

Three thousand kids! That’s a 9/11 every day!

Put it this way: Let’s say your…( To continue reading this column click on: )

     The Nothing But Nets in the United States donates a net for every $10.00 donation, which includes the net, its distribution and heavy promotion through the sponsoring agencies.

     Providing nets to children and adults in mosquito-ridden areas, an aid to preventing malaria, is an easy project for individuals, groups and communities. In fact, this post’s authors challenge you to donate for the provision of long lasting insecticidal nets that protect children from mosquitoes that cause malaria by April 15, World Malaria Day. How much can you collect? Keep us informed in the comment box below. 

     Interested persons can contact the sponsoring agencies by clicking on the links to the Nothing But Nets Founding Partners: United Nations Foundation , The People of the United Methodist Church , Sports Illustrated and NBA Cares




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  1. Hi… to clarify a point on how AMF operates, the distribution agencies/organisations that AMF works with come to us with bednet distribution proposals that are vetted/approved by AMFs specialist advisory group and trustees. AMF does not go looking for these agencies all of which are obviously very pleased to receive our $5 bednets to augment existing programnmes or cover immediate specific needs. The ‘hidden’ distribution costs you refer to would necessarily be borne by agencies as and when they were able to procure bednets. AMF is very transparent in how it operates (see GiveWell review) and there are certainly no hidden costs as far as AMF is concerned.

    Kind regards

    Comment by Sean Good — January 11, 2010 @ 10:09 am | Reply

  2. May I correct one aspect of your article about mosquito nets (11Jan2010, ‘Mosquito Nets Fight Malaria in Africa’).

    We’d disagree that the ‘non-net’ cost of distributing mosquito nets is as high as $5/net. Data would suggest it is closer to US$2/net.

    You write: ‘Although the Foundation uses each $5.00 donation to purchase the nets, having no overhead for advertising, etc., it has hidden costs that must be borne in other ways. They clearly have to find agencies to do the distribution the nets, which costs an additional $5.00.’

    – A more accurate figure for the ‘non-net’ cost would be $2/net in our view and the view of others. For example, the Red Cross reviewed 43 of their bednet distribution programs and quoted this non-net cost at CAN$2.07/net (or approx US$2/net). The non-net costs include/d shipping, customs clearance, in-country transport, volunteer/staff pay and expenses, pre-distribution work, distribution of nets including the malaria education component and post-distribution work including monitoring and evaluation – comprehensive in other words. One common misunderstanding is that shipping costs alone for nets are about $2/net. This is rarely the case. We recently shipped 3 x 40,000 nets (full containers to each of Burundi, Sierra Leone and Senegal) and the shipping cost was $0.12-0.19/net. We recently shipped 300,000 nets to Zambia and the shipping plus transport inland cost/net was $0.20/net.

    – We do have some costs as a Foundation but they are small and are covered by a small number of private donors. We have very few costs because a) we have designed them out given the way we operate: lean, no offices, leverage the internet and technology etc and b) we have many partners who contribute time, expertise, services for free. We do not pay, for example, for banking, accounting, auditing, legal support, professional translators, video editors etc as many terrific people want to help for free and generously do so (see I like to think of it as them agreeing they do not need $5 more than a couple of children in Africa (and elsewhere) need a bednet.

    You write: ‘…the Against Malaria Foundation (…uses 100% of its donations to purchase long lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs)…The nets cost $5.00 each.’

    – This is accurate, albeit the exact cost per net across all 1 million plus nets we have distributed to date is, as I write, US$4.325 (see

    Best wishes

    Comment by Rob Mather — January 11, 2010 @ 10:41 am | Reply

  3. Thanks for your clarification. Information on the Internet is not always clear. Carolyn

    Comment by beanerywriters — January 11, 2010 @ 11:11 am | Reply

  4. Youth Action Foundation- Uganda salutes you for the good work you are doing.Youth Action Foundation- Uganda is a registered non profit youth service organization that works to improve the lives of the rural poor in Uganda through health education and distribution of treated mosquito nets to promote Malaria control in our communities.

    Our challenge is that there is an overwhelming demand for Mosquito nets in the communities we serve because communities have now appreciated the role of mosquito nets in malaria prevention.

    We therefore thought it is important to write to you and ask whether you can work with us through donating mosquito nets to us that we can distribute to our communities so as to combat the number of deaths due to Malaria infection in Mukono and Buvuma Islands..

    We shall be very grateful to for your positive response that will save the lives of many Ugandan poor populations.

    Best Regards,
    Sserwanga Eric
    +256 772 534 590
    Youth Action Foundation- Uganda

    Comment by Sserwanga Eric — March 12, 2011 @ 11:16 am | Reply

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