North Georgia United Methodists Working, Playing to Eradicate Malaria
World Malaria Day brings renewed focus to NGUMC's unique fundraising efforts
Saturday, April 25 is World Malaria Day, when the United Nations and other organizations hope to draw attention to the disease that kills one of every five children born in sub-Sahara Africa. The day is meant to bring light to the fact that every 60 seconds, a child dies from a disease that was virtually eliminated in the U.S. more than 60 years ago. Here in the North Georgia Conference, United Methodist Churches are focused on joining other United Methodists across the denomination to raise $75 million by 2016. Funds raised go to “Imagine No Malaria” campaign, an integrated plan of action focused on prevention, education, communication, and treatment.
“The good news is, we know how to stop death and suffering from malaria and great progress has been made,” said NGUMC’s Imagine No Malaria Field Coordinator Dr. Jamie Jenkins. “In 2006 a child died every 30 seconds. That death rate has been cut in half in the past eight years through efforts like ours.”
The North Georgia Conference is one of forty-five conferences within the United Methodist Church that are now engaged in this fight. Since then, nearly 200 churches in our conference have contributed more than $318,000 towards the $67 million that has been raised since 2008.
Some local churches have implemented unique ways to raise money for the campaign. Dunwoody United Methodist Church hosted a concert featuring Atlanta blues maven Francine Reed.
“For a $20 ticket, we got an awesome show, had a great time, and raised more than $5,000 for the cause,” said DUMC staff member Jim Boyea. “Francine donated her time, as well as 100 CDs for the first 100 concert goers.”
Other churches have orchestrated church-wide competitions and sporting events. A dodge ball tournament for all ages raised $10,500, for instance, at Grayson United Methodist Church. At Reinhardt University a professor enlisted members of her marketing class to develop a fundraising plan as their class project.
“Additionally, the offering at annual conference in June will be designated to ‘Imagine No Malaria,’ so I trust our total funds raised will increase tremendously that week,” said Jenkins.
In 2006 the United Methodist Church partnered with the United Nations Foundation and NBA Cares for “Nothing But Nets,” a highly successful program that distributed insecticide treated bed nets to protect people from being infected with malaria. Recognizing more was needed, the United Methodist Church established “Imagine No Malaria” two years later. A more comprehensive approach, the program continues the important task of net distribution, but adds other preventive methods as well as treatment, education, and communication to finally eradicate the disease.
“For nearly two centuries, the United Methodist Church has worked in collaboration with volunteer groups in Africa,” added Jenkins. “Trained volunteers teach about the simple, cost-effective, and highly successful use of insecticide treated mosquito nets and other life-saving principles in the hardest-hit African communities. They also work to identify symptoms and dispel myths about malaria.”
United Methodists provide funds to operate more than 300 hospitals, clinics, and health posts in 16 countries in sub-Sahara Africa. Thirteen national health teams have been organized to oversee and carry out the work; 11,600 volunteer workers have been trained; and 2.3 million nets have been distributed, equating to more than 6.2 million lives saved. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation underwrites all administrative costs of the effort so every dollar given goes directly to this ministry.
The goal is to raise $75 million in order to eliminate death and suffering from malaria on the African continent. To join this effort, here is what individuals can do:
- Donate: Send your checks to NGUMC Conference Treasurer, 4511 Jones Bridge Circle, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092, or put a check marked “Imagine No Malaria” in the offering plate of any United Methodist Church
- Text: MALARIA NGC (leave a space before NGC) to 27722 to make a $10 donation
- Educate: Learn more at www.ngumc.org/imaginenomalaria and www.ImagineNoMalaria.org
- Advocate: Tell others the story
- Do: Hold an Imagine No Malaria fundraiser in your church, workplace or neighborhood