Washingtonians Join Nothing But Nets Campaign

It's Nothing But Nets Week in the nation's capital and Washingtonians have committed to send 10,000 insecticide-treated bed nets to displaced families in Africa.

Since last weekend the Nothing But Nets campaign has hosted events in Washington to garner more support in the fight against malaria – the number one killer of refugees in Africa.

In partnership with the United Nations Foundation, the campaign aims to raise $100,000 during its Washington tour.

Local partners include the United Methodist Church, the Union for Reform Judaism, Exxon Mobil, Orkin, Inc., the Washington Mystics women's pro basketball team, the D.C. United pro soccer team, the Washington Kastles pro tennis team; and the Washington Bayhawks pro lacrosse team.

"We need to network our efforts more with these other partners now," United Methodist Bishop John R. Schol of Washington told the denomination's news service.

On Tuesday, the campaign held a kick-off rally where councilman Jack Evans officially proclaimed June 13-23, 2009, Nothing But Nets Week in D.C.

"As we near World Refugee Day on June 20, I am proud to see my fellow Washingtonians join the effort to prevent malaria among one of the world's most vulnerable populations," said Evans. "Leaders can step forward, but it is the work of everyday citizens that has the power to make a significant difference in addressing global challenges like malaria."

Nothing But Nets is a global, grassroots campaign to save lives by preventing malaria. The campaign notes that over one million refugees in Africa have been displaced from conflicts in Darfur and other regions and are particularly susceptible to contracting malaria due to inadequate shelter and unsanitary living conditions.

In addition to the 275,000 bed nets that have already been distributed to families in Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Sudan through the grassroots campaign, another 346,000 nets are needed to protect the rest of the refugees.

Each net costs $10.

Washington, D.C., is the 16th stop in the Nothing But Nets tour of U.S. cities.