About Spread the Net
What is Spread the Net?
Spread the Net (STN) is a grassroots campaign designed to motivate, educate and inspire Canadians to help end preventable malaria deaths by raising funds and awareness to support the purchase and distribution of bed nets to children and families in Africa.
STN was founded when Belinda Stronach and Rick Mercer traveled to Africa in 2006 with Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and at that time, the Director of the UN Millennium Project. It was there that they saw firsthand the devastating effects of malaria, and the shockingly simple bed net solution so out-of-reach for thousands of African families. So, Belinda and Rick co-founded STN in partnership with UNICEF Canada in 2006 with a goal of raising enough awareness and funds to purchase and distribute 500,000 bed nets to prevent malaria-related deaths in Africa. Liberia and Rwanda were selected as the initial recipient countries for the campaign.
How many bed nets has Spread the Net delivered to date?
As of April 25, 2010, the Spread the Net campaign achieved the founding goal of sending 500,000 long-lasting, insecticide-treated bed nets (LLINs) to Liberia and Rwanda, where 250,000 bed nets were delivered to each of these countries.
Spread the Net is now working on a project-by-project, needs based approach with a variety of partners on-the-ground to purchase and distribute bed nets to some of the most malaria endemic countries in Africa. To date Spread the Net has helped facilitate the delivery of 546,850 bed nets to some of the most malaria endemic countries in Africa.
Spread the Net- saving lives one net at a time, 561,850 nets and counting!
Why is Spread the Net no longer working in partnership with UNICEF Canada?
UNICEF Canada and Spread the Net are proud to have been founding partners in this campaign and have worked together from 2006 to 2010 to achieve the goal of 500,000 bed nets. Now that the founding goal has been reached, Spread the Net is working on a project-by-project, needs based approach with a variety of partners on-the-ground to purchase and distribute bed nets to some of the most malaria endemic countries in Africa.
What does a $10 Spread the Net donation pay for?
A $10 donation to Spread the Net covers the purchase of one bed net; transportation and distribution of the net to families; community education about how to use the bed net properly; monitoring and evaluation of bed net use; plus actual and reasonable administrative costs associated with operating the program efficiently.
Spread the Net is a grassroots campaign committed to getting as many nets on the ground as possible and as such commits to allocating no more than 25% of total Spread the Net donations for necessary administrative purposes. Spread the Net will continue to endeavour to find cost saving measures wherever possible to ensure that we are making the most out of every donation.
Why did Spread the Net select Liberia and Rwanda as the initial recipient countries?
Liberia and Rwanda were chosen as the initial beneficiaries of the Spread the Net campaign because of the high incidence of malaria in both countries, their histories of civil strife, and a desire on the part of Canadians to support these particular countries.
Spread the Net in partnership with UNICEF Canada is proud to have been able to deliver 250,000 nets to Liberia, as well as Rwanda.
Which countries will Spread the Net select as recipients now that the founding goal has been met?
Spread the Net is working on a project-by-project, needs based approach with a variety of partners on-the-ground to purchase and distribute bed nets to some of the most malaria endemic countries in Africa. Recipient countries will be selected based on need and the suggestions from the on-the-ground partners.
Spread the Net is currently working in partnership with Plan Canada to purchase and distribute 25,000 bed nets to children and families living in Guinea, West Africa.
Why does Spread the Net need to work with on-the-ground partners?
Spread the Net is a campaign to educate, motivate and inspire Canadians to join in the fight against malaria. We are proud to be able to engage Canadians at a grassroots level.
Our expertise is not with field level operations. There are many experienced organizations, who have years of expertise working in the field and have built an incredible global network challenging some of the most pressing global issues, like malaria. It is more cost-effective for Spread the Net to work in partnership with these established organizations, rather than attempt to develop our own field level operations.
Getting nets to those who need them most are our top priority and working with partners is the most efficient way to get the nets on the ground and in use quickly.
What is the role of Spread the Net Ambassadors?
Spread the Net is thrilled to have the support of many notable Canadians who use their influence and networks to raise awareness and funds for bed nets.
Our ambassadors include:
Joelle Berdugo-Adler, Founder OneXOne, President, Diesel Canada
Jim Brennan, Head Coach, Junior Toronto Football Club (Toronto FC)
Former Mayor David Miller, City of Toronto
Dwayne De Rosario, New York Red Bulls
Cheryl Hickey, Host ET Canada
Seamus O'Regan, Co-host Canada AM, CTV
Glen Pearson, former Member of Parliament, London North Centre
Ian Thornley, lead singer Thornley
Paul Venoit, Celebrity stylist and TV personality
Hayley Wickenheiser, former Captain, Team Canada Women’s Hockey
Ray Zahab, Extreme marathoner and motivational speaker
In April 2012, Spread the Net welcomed our first Youth Ambassador Tristan Emiry, Ontario high school student and Student Challenge participant.
How can I donate?
You can donate online or by sending a cheque to:
Spread the Net
c/o The Belinda Stronach Foundation
150 Bloor Street West, Suite 310
Toronto, ON M5S 2X9
About bed nets
How many types of bed nets are there?
There are three types of bed nets; pre-treated nets, insecticide-treated nets and long-lasting insecticide treated nets. The use of pre-treated nets is NOT recommended because concentrations of insecticide in the nets are extremely variable and would be rejected under normal quality controls. Insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) consist of an untreated net and an insecticide treatment kit. A long lasting net is a ready-to-use pre-treated mosquito net, which requires no further treatment during its expected life span.
The nets we procure for Spread the Net are long-lasting, insecticide-treated bed nets that have insecticide woven into the net fibres during production. These nets not only protect people from night-biting mosquitoes, they also kill the mosquito on contact, further reducing the spread of malaria. These nets can provide protection for up to five years without retreatment.
What type of insecticide is used on the nets?
The insecticide used is made of a synthetic pyrethroid called Premethrin, which is approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), for treatment of insecticide treated nets. This insecticide has an excellent safety profile. Unlike early insecticides such as DDT, pyrethroids are derived from a naturally occurring substance, pyrethrum, which is found in chrysanthemums. It’s toxicity to mammals is very low, it is poorly absorbed through the skin, and it is rapidly inactivated by the body. Once dried on fabric, it is bound tightly to the fibres; the probability of its leaching into the environment and the potential for absorption through the skin is negligible.
Our partners on-the- ground train the community health workers who distribute the bed nets to educate the people who receive them on how to use the nets properly.
How many people can sleep under a bed net?
One bed net is large enough to protect up to five children.
What is malaria?
Malaria is a vector-borne disease caused by a single celled parasite called Plasmodium. The parasite is transmitted into the human blood stream through the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito.
Where does malaria occur?
The disease occurs in countries in South and Central America, the Caribbean, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, the Western Pacific, the Middle East and throughout Africa. The burden of malaria is considered highest in sub-Saharan Africa, where 90% of all malaria deaths occur.
How serious is malaria?
Malaria threatens the lives of 3.3 billion people and is estimated to kill an estimated 660,000 people every year. A severe infection can kill a child within a matter of hours of the first symptom. Over 90% of global malaria deaths occur in Africa and most are among children under the age of 5.
Malaria can affect development and leave infected individuals with persistent anaemia, lifelong brain damage or paralysis. In severe cases of cerebral malaria in children, epilepsy, spasticity, speech disorders and blindness can occur.
Malaria infection during pregnancy is associated with severe anaemia and other illnesses in the mother, which can contribute to low birth weight among newborn infants — one of the leading risk factors for infant mortality and poor growth and development. Malaria is also estimated to cause up to 15 per cent of maternal anaemia cases, which puts women at risk of severe haemorrhage and death during pregnancy.
Is there malaria in Canada?
Malaria was virtually eradicated in Canada by the early 1950s. There are still incidents of malaria in Canada among people who have contracted the disease in their travels to malaria-endemic countries.
What is the difference between the West Nile virus and malaria?
Although both West Nile and malaria are vector borne diseases (ie: transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito) West Nile is a virus and malaria is caused by a parasite. West Nile virus is most severe in people over the age of 50. Malaria is most severe in children and pregnant women. A bite from a mosquito that has fed on the blood of an infected bird spreads the West Nile virus. Malaria is only spread by a female, night-biting Anopheles mosquito infected with a Plasmodium parasite.
Why hasn’t malaria been eradicated in Africa?
The Global Malaria Eradication Program in 1955 succeeded in eliminating malaria from Europe, North America, the Caribbean and parts of Asia and South-Central America. But no major success occurred in sub-Saharan Africa, mainly due to technical challenges of executing the strategy.
About malaria control and insecticide-treated bed nets
Are there ways to prevent malaria transmission?
Sleeping under a long-lasting insecticide-treated bed net is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent mosquitoes from biting and transmitting the parasite that causes malaria. Properly used, they can reduce malaria transmission by at least 50 per cent and child deaths by 20 per cent.
Does Spread the Net charge people for bed nets?
No, Spread the Net will only work with partners who supply nets at no cost to the recipients.
Why do some governments in developing countries charge for bed nets?
Some governments are not able to fully fund their national health systems and have policies to charge service fees for health care delivery. In some situations, governments may charge for a bed net because of the additional cost it presents to regular health service delivery.
From where does Spread the Net purchase its nets?
Spread the Net works in partnership with organizations who procure bed nets on behalf of the Spread the Net campaign. All bed nets are procured from approved WHO suppliers.
What is being done to increase the use of bed nets?
A global movement to end malaria is well underway. Rigorous malaria prevention and control programs are beginning to crop up in African countries. Bed net distribution is an essential part of family health programming. Many organizations worldwide support community education campaigns to empower communities and families by improving their knowledge of the importance of malaria prevention and the proper use of bed nets.
About World Malaria Day
What is the significance of World Malaria Day?
World Malaria Day occurs on April 25th every year. World Malaria Day was established in 2007, it is a day of unified commemoration of the global effort to provide effective control of malaria around the world. World Malaria Day represents a chance for all of us to make a difference. Whether you are a government, a company, a charity or an individual, you can roll back malaria and help generate broad gains in multiple areas of health and human development. Reducing the impact of malaria would significantly propel efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, agreed by every United Nations member state. These include not only the goal of combating the disease itself, but also goals related to women's and children's rights and health, access to education and the reduction of extreme poverty .
For the next three years the theme of World Malaria Day is Invest in the Future: Defeat Malaria. This theme calls attention to the big push that is needed to achieve the 2015 Millennium Development goals and to eradicate malaria. For more information on World Malaria Day please visit the Roll Back Malaria website.
About the economic toll of malaria
What is the economic and development toll of malaria
Malaria has serious economic impacts in Africa, slowing economic growth and development and perpetuating the vicious cycle of poverty. Malaria is truly a disease of poverty — afflicting primarily the poor who tend to live in malaria-prone rural areas in poorly-constructed dwellings that offer few, if any, barriers against mosquitoes. It has been estimated that malaria costs Africa $12 billion every year in lost Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Malaria also accounts for approximately 40 per cent of all public health expenditures in Africa. It is estimated that malaria has slowed economic growth in some African countries by 1.3 per cent per year.
How much is needed annually to support malaria programmes in Africa?
- From 2011 to 2020, roughly $5 billion per year will be needed to sustain the gains of control measures.
- In addition, about $1 billion per year will be needed for research and development of new prevention and treatment tools
About receiving bed nets for non-Spread the Net programmes
I support/know of an orphanage/school/institution that needs bed nets. How can I apply to Spread the Net to receive bed nets for this organization?
Unfortunately, we cannot supply your group with bed nets. Spread the Net supports our partners on-the-ground who purchase and distribute bed nets in order to benefit children under the age of five and pregnant women in the most malaria endemic countries in Africa. We suggest that the organization you support consider discussing its needs with its local Ministry of Health or that you contact organizations like UNICEF or the Canadian Red Cross who have operations worldwide and may be able to help.
I have a net that I purchased for a trip. Can I donate it to Spread the Net?
While your offer is definitely appreciated, unfortunately we cannot accept your net. Spread the Net does not send donated bed nets from Canada to other organizations in different countries due to high transportation costs, logistical constraints and quality-control concerns. Spread the Net is raising funds in Canada to purchase and distribute long-lasting, insecticide-treated bed nets for malaria endemic countries in Africa. Funds raised by Spread the Net are being used by our partners on-the-ground to purchase bed nets as part of large orders, allowing them to buy the nets at the lowest possible cost.
Does Spread the Net sell beds nets for personal use?
No, Spread the Net does not offer bed nets for personal use. Bed nets for personal use can be purchased at many outdoors retail stores.
About the Spread the Net Student Challenge
What is the Spread the Net Student Challenge?
The Spread the Net Student Challenge is an annual nationwide fundraising competition. Elementary schools, high schools, and post-secondary schools compete in separate categories to see who can raise the most funds for long-lasting, insecticide-treated bed nets for children and families living in Africa. Championed by Spread the Net Co-founder and comedian Rick Mercer, the top fundraising schools in Canada recieve a visit from Rick Mercer and the Rick Mercer Report.
Is the Spread the Net Student Challenge a new initiative?
In 2007/08, Canadian schools began fundraising for Spread the Net through the Beat the Mosquitoes Challenge (for high schools) and the Campus Challenge (for colleges and universities). The Spread the Net Student Challenge is a streamlined continuation of these efforts under one name, open to all elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities in Canada.
Who participates in the Spread the Net Student Challenge?
All students, staff and faculty at Canadian schools are welcome to register in the Student Challenge and raise funds for Spread the Net. There are three categories in the Student Challenge; Elementary Schools; High Schools; Colleges and Universities. The Student Challenge is open to both public and private schools.
Since 2007 the Student Challenge has raised over one million dollars. The Challenge has inspired many spin off fund raisers and to date, hundreds of schools and thousands of students have successfully raised over $1.25 million dollars or enough for 125,000 bed nets.
Which schools are eligible to win a visit from Rick Mercer?
The top fundraising elementary school, high school, and post-secondary institute from any region in Canada whose funds are received by Spread the Net by the challenge deadline are eligible to win a visit from Rick Mercer and to be featured on an episode of the Rick Mercer Report.
When does the Spread the Net Student Challenge start and finish?
Every year the Spread the Net Student Challenge launches in September and runs until the end of February. Details about the next Student Challenge will be announced on the website in the summer of 2013.
How can my school get involved?
During the Student Challenge schools can register online at www.spreadthenet.org. Registration is quick and easy. Students, staff or faculty can take on the role of School Leader and register their School Team. You can also join an existing team by registering as a ’Netraiser’.
How much did schools raise for Spread the Net 2012/2013 Student Challenge?
Thanks to the efforts of the thousands of students across Canada who participated in the 2012/2013 Spread the Net Student Challenge, Spread the Net is thrilled to announce that the goal of raising $150,000 for nets was met.
Congratulations to the top fundraising schools from the 2012/2013 Student Challenge:
- Elementary School: Pleasantdale School in Estevan, SK, with $6154.05
- High School: Almonte and District High School in Almonte, ON, with $5,854.05
- Post-Secondary Institute: Algonquin College in Ottawa, ON, with $40,394.64
What kinds of fundraising activities have schools been doing to raise money for Spread the Net?
Students have shown incredible creativity in organizing fundraising initiatives for Spread the Net! Some amazing school fundraisers included:
- Benefit concert and DVD sales
- T-shirt sales
- Sports tournaments
- Bake sales and candy sales
In addition, many students and staff took advantage of our on-line fundraising tools to collect donations from family and friends. This is one of the simplest and most effective ways to raise funds!
What kinds of fundraising tools are available to my school?
Great Fundraising tools are available online Schools that register in the Student Challenge also receive a Fundraising Package. Fundraising Packages include a welcome letter, a copy of the pledge form, posters and post cards. Schools can also opt to receive a sample bed net. For even more fundraising resources and a chance to connect with past and present Student Challenge participants we encourage you to follow us on Facebook, /spreadthenet, and Twitter @spreadthenet. Students are also encourgaed to use the hashtag #STNChallenge.
Why do you send schools sample untreated bed nets? Where do they come from?
Sample nets can be a great visual prop to display at school or on campus to raise awareness of your fundraising efforts and to help your school community learn more about malaria. School leaders can opt to receive a sample bed net when registering their school in the Student Challenge.
The 2012/2013 sample bed nets have been procured through Vestergaard Frandsen Disease Control Textiles. Our sample bed nets are not treated with insecticide. Most of our sample bed nets are blue in colour. School Leaders will be asked to return their sample bed net to Spread the Net at the end of their fundraising campaigns.
How can I donate to the Spread the Net Student Challenge?
Donations to the Student Challenge can be made online or by mail.
Each School Team registered in the Student Challenge has a team page. Follow the link to search for a School Team and make a secure donation online. http://www.spreadthenet.org/index.php?id=10
By mail (cheque)
You can also donate to the Spread the Net Student Challenge by sending a cheque to:
Spread the Net
c/o The Belinda Stronach Foundation
150 Bloor Street West, Suite 310
Toronto, ON M5S 2X9
*Please be sure to include a Pledge Form so that we know which School Team you would like your donation to support.