At the recent “Uniting to Combat NTDs: Translating the London Declaration into Action,” we had a chance to catch up with Ellen Agler, Chief Executive Officer of the END Fund. The END Fund is a private philanthropic fund mobilizing resources for neglected tropical diseases in Africa.
Global Network: What does it take for exposed individuals to fight NTDs?
Ellen Agler: When I was in Mali, I also got a chance to see in addition to the mass drug administration other aspects of the program. There is a huge backlog of trichiasis surgery. Blinding trachoma, if it starts advancing, it is incredibly painful… It feels like sand going over your cornea, and you will go blind if you don’t get this surgery in the advanced stages.
And to see how simple of a surgery it was- that it really only took 10 or 15 minutes. [END Fund] do have this incredible message of about 50 cents per person per year can protect you against these seven diseases that cause disability, cause suffering, cause blindness, and really change the trajectory of your life. And that is a simple message, and I think that we’re all rallying to ensure that we can prevent these diseases, we can treat them in the early stage so that no one has to suffer those diseases.
END7 activist? It’s easy! Your school is a great place to start your own END7 campaign. Who doesn’t have spare change to donate?
Neglected tropical diseases are neglected because not many people have heard of them. The first step to getting people excited about your project is to do a little educating.
- Show our videos during an assembly or before a class (health, social studies and science are all good classes to try!)
- Use messages, posters, stickers, or banners to get people talking about NTDs. Here’s an example of a poster you can print out. Or do something funny.
- Use social media to share information about NTDs. Here’s a handy tweet bank for you to use. You can set up your own Twitter account for your campaign or create a Facebook event to invite people to.
Once people know a little more about what NTDs are and how just 50 cents helps treat & protect a child for a whole year, you’re ready to start your fundraiser.
Some ideas that you can do at school:
For many of these events you can charge a small entry fee, ask for sponsors, or just provide people with the opportunity to give money by setting up donation jars or laptops where people can donate online. You can also send the link around via email with a note encouraging your friends to get involved.
If you hosted a fundraiser, you can send your donation to us the following ways:
- Use our online donation page.
- Send us a check.
Were at the beginning of something big.
Not many people know about neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) a group of parasitic infections that cause needless suffering among more than 1 billion of the poorest people worldwide. 7 of the most common NTDs by 2020. All it costs is 50¢ to treat and protect one person for one year.
Join us in our mission to end 7 diseases by 2020 watch our mission in (just over) a minute below and Like us on Facebook. Together we can see the end!
Emily Cotter was a Student Ambassador for the Global Network in 2009. She has blogged for us in the past, and today she reflects on her experience advocating for NTDs.
In November 2009, the Helen Keller International (HKI) on their NTD surveillance and control programs. Inspired by the work I had done with HKI, I became a Student Ambassador for the Global Network in order to indulge my passion for advocacy and treatment of NTDs by recruiting other interested students at the George Washington University School of Medicine and leading one of these Campus Challenge efforts.
I knew that many of my fellow medical students were similarly interested in NTDs after recently learning about them from Dr. Peter Hotez during our Microbiology course. A small group of us initially met to brainstorm ideas for the Campus Challenge – activities such as bake-sales, “wormy-grams” for Valentine’s Day, fundraising happy hours, and announcements and coin collections during classes. We also organized alunchtime lecture given by Dr. Peter Hotez; this event educated the greater GW community about NTDs, the Campus Challenge, and ways to get involved with the campaign. At each of our events we mobilized a grassroots NTD army by advertising ways for interested students to get involved and join our campaign at GW. In the end, I had more than 20 students on my email list for the campus challenge!