Driving down a dirt road today in Uganda, we were reminiscing that two and a half years ago, several of us at the UN Foundation were sitting around a small table in Elizabeth’s office, brainstorming. We had a great opportunity in front of us: how could we build off the incredible success of the Rick Reilly Nothing But Nets article that hit newsstands on May 1, 2006, and had resulted in over $1 million raised in a few short weeks?
We didn’t know if the American public would rally around this cause, a disease which few of us will ever have firsthand experience with, but is killing a child every 30 seconds. We didn’t know if we would find partners to help us push out the simple message that malaria kills and nets save lives. But we were given this opportunity to raise awareness and funds to prevent malaria – and we knew we needed to make it happen.
When we look back on it, we laugh because at the time, one could fit all the advocates raising awareness for malaria in one room. But now there are over 100,000 of you!
It is extra-special for us to both be here in Uganda, visiting refugee camps, helping distribute life-saving bed nets, and reporting back on the incredible work all of you have done. Over the last two years we have worked tirelessly alongside many talented and dedicated people at the UN Foundation, as well as our committed partners, to build the Nothing But Nets campaign and push it out far and wide.
And now, two and a half years later, together we have all raised $25 million and distributed nearly 2.5 million bed nets.
We sometimes refer to the Campaign adoringly as “the little campaign that could.” We surely have more to do, but sitting here in Uganda, it is incredible to think about how far we have come from that small table nearly three years ago.
Stay tuned for more updates from Uganda over the course of the week!
And thank you for your amazing support,
Elizabeth and Adrianna