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CLUB SPOTLIGHT: Global Health Organization

By Rachel Landman ’15

What do the NBA, MLS, Stephen Curry and Hamilton College Global Health Organization all have in common? A partnership with Nothing But Nets, a global grassroots campaign of the United Nations Foundation to fight malaria, a leading killer of children in Africa. Nothing But Nets was created in 2006 by the United Nations Foundation, with the help of sports columnist Rick Reilly. Every 60 seconds a child dies from malaria, but it is preventable.

Nothing But Nets saves countless lives by delivering insecticide-treated bed nets to prevent malaria and has raised over $50 million to send more than 7 million bed nets to families in need. Malaria kills many, but saving a life is as easy as sending a $10 net.

The start of this semester marks the second year of the partnership between the GHO and Nothing But Nets. Although other partners such as the NBA have a bit more reach, the partnership between the Global Health Organization and Nothing But Nets has had a very successful first year. Through this partnership, the GHO has been able to assist Nothing But Nets in both fundraising and advocacy.

Members from the GHO have attended meetings with congressional representatives and staff members in Washington, D.C. and right here at Hamilton. During these meetings, students got the opportunity to educate members from their representatives’ offices about the important cause. They have discussed support for several global health initiatives, such as the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. In honor of World Malaria Day last spring, a member from New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s office came to campus to meet with three members of the GHO, Abby Armstrong ’15, Hannah Trautmann ’15 and Rachel Landman ’15, to discuss the Senator’s support for the PMI and Global Fund. Although this partnership is for the GHO to help the Nothing But Nets campaign, members of the club have also gained valuable experience about grassroots advocacy and fundraising.

During the first year of the partnership, the GHO held two major fundraising 3v3 basketball tournaments. The first tournament last spring was a huge success with over 100 participants who raised $1,000. Recently, the second (now annual) tournament exceeded expectations through the help of a partnership with the Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity. This tournament, held last fall, had over 150 participants and raised $2,000. The Global Health Organization is excited about the success of this partnership with Nothing But Nets in its effort to both make an impact on and off Hamilton’s campus.

Looking forward into the second year of this partnership, both organizations have high expectations for future efforts. A primary goal for this semester is to reach out to local congressional representatives to discuss updates on the President’s Malaria Initiative and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, as well as to recruit and educate other students about global health initiatives. As World Malaria Day (April 25th) and Earth Day (April 22nd) both occur during the same week, the Global Health Organization hopes to partner with the Hamilton Environmental Action Group (HEAG). They would like to run a “bottles for net” recycling drive that promotes recycling in honor of Earth Day while raising money to send mosquito bed nets to sub-Saharan Africa to increase awareness of World Malaria Day.

Every partnership from that of students to CEOs has helped Nothing But Nets create progress in the fight to end malaria. Since 2000, deaths from malaria have fallen by nearly 50% in children under five, saving an estimated 3.3 million lives. Stephen Curry was inspired to get involved with Nothing But Nets by his college roommate at Davidson, and has now sent over 1,500 bed nets. Stories such as this inspire the work of the Global Health Organization on our campus.

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