Spread The Net

This is the 3rd post in my “Get In The Game — Make a Difference” series, and one that is refreshingly Canadian in nature.

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I’m a fan of Rick Mercer, since the early days of This Hour Has 22 Minutes. I love his rants, which I find hilarious, spot-on, and — yes, I’ll admit it — kind of sexy. I think the ways he gets access to the highest political leaders and show them in a more “regular Joe” kind of light is wonderful. (His trip to Harvey’s with Chretien was inspired.) I find his “talking with Americans” segments funny and subversive in a Michael Moore kind of way, only gentler and without the venom. So, I linked to his blog, and have been reading periodically.

One of his recent blogs, about a cause dear to his heart, caught my interest. He posted a long-ish blog on the Spread the Net campaign, which I found to be a fascinating read (Go read it. You can come back here after. I won’t be upset.) I also think the cause is a worthy one.

Spread the Net is a campaign to ship bednets to some of the poorest regions of Africa, where mosquito-borne malaria kills over 3,000 children a day. This campaign will bring down the transmission of malaria in African kids, and therefore the number of deaths from malaria, by protecting them as they sleep with bednets. All it takes is ten dollars (Canadian! A bargain!) to buy a insecticide-treated bed net to protect what will probably be a bed full of kids (usually more than one child sleeps in a bed in these poorest regions). The bednet provides FIVE YEARS of protection from mosquitoes. FIVE YEARS. For TEN DOLLARS. How easy is that? How many kids could be saved by such a simple measure? It’s a brilliant idea.

The campaign is a UNICEF-sponsored campaign, spearheaded here in Canada by Mercer and MP Belinda Stronach. (Yes. THAT Belinda Stronach. She of the rumoured propensity for dalliances with married men. Just put your thoughts about her behaviour aside for a moment, okay? Keep your eyes on the prize here, people.) It was an idea that was the brainchild of Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Simple, elegant, and effective. That’s what you need to make a difference on a grand scale. And this campaign has it in spades.

So if you’re looking for a place to make your difference this week, check out Spread the Net. Spend 10 bucks. And know that for five years, some children may be protected, and maybe live long enough to make a difference in their world.