Posts Tagged ‘Malaria’

Me and My Net Winner’s Reflections

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Fifteen year old Siya Kulkarni, from India, was the winner of the 2011 Me and My Net competition. Her prize was a packed visit to London, during Commonwealth Week 2012. Below, Siya reflects on her experiences during the week and how it has had an impact on her understanding of the global challenge of malaria:

The week of March 10th-15th was an exciting yet enriching experience for me. It all started of with my winning the Me And My Net competition, and receiving the news this January about a trip to London. I was thrilled to bits, because my trip was to be scheduled around Commonwealth Day, celebrated on March 12th, and I was to be a flag bearer for my country, India, at the Observance at Westminster Abbey. I’d also be presenting my winning entry, a campaign that targeted children to raise awareness about using nets to prevent malaria.

Siya presenting at the Commonwealth Nurses Conference

Siya presenting at the Commonwealth Nurses Conference

March 11th was the beginning of an eventful week. This was the day I was to present my campaign at the Commonwealth Nurses Conference, and although I was awfully edgy about how it would go, the nurses made me feel so at-home that I didn’t worry about muddling my speech.
The next day was the focus of my week, something I’d been looking forward to: the Commonwealth Day Observance. For me this was a great platform for interacting with different people. Of course, the most exciting part of the day was seeing Her Majesty The Queen! All of us were thrilled when she passed by us, and it was, undeniably, a memorable day.

Siya with the Malaria No More UK team
Siya with the Malaria No More UK team

The day after Commonwealth day was going to be chock-a-block again. I was scheduled to visit the Malaria No More office to discuss my campaign in the morning. I was amazed by how creative campaigns could get in terms of raising awareness, when I heard about their campaigns. After a tête-à-tête with the team, we left for The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to visit their insectaries, where we were taken through small “caves” where the malaria-spreading insects were bred. It was fascinating to see the variety of mosquito species from different parts of the world. That evening, I presented my campaign once more, this time to people from Sumitomo Chemical, representatives from malaria and education organisations and two nurses from the Nurses Conference. I enjoyed talking to everyone there. That day, despite being tiring, was extremely fruitful.

Siya with her winning campaign
Siya with her winning campaign

The RCS had organized a tour of the Houses of Parliament the following morning through the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK, and I had the opportunity to witness the Prime Minister’s Question Time. Although the Prime Minister was overseas at the time, we watched the Deputy Prime Minister battle with the questions.

Looking back at my week in London, I feel a sense of achievement I have never felt before. This was an experience I would cherish forever, because I learnt so much, and enjoyed myself thoroughly. I felt more confident, more aware and humbled after discovering how little I knew about other Commonwealth nations, and what a serious problem malaria is. Right from the time I started working on this competition, till the end of my week in London, I have had a series of experiences that I hope will make me into a more mature and broad-minded person. I sincerely thank the RCS for giving me such a wonderful learning opportunity.

Take a look at how Siya got involved in the competition and developed her campaign by downloading her presentation and check out all the Me and My Net winning entries.

Me and My Net Winner’s Week, 10-15 March 2012

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Me and My Net Wrap-up Event
Me and My Net Wrap-up Event: l-r Dr Danny Sriskandarajah, Royal Commonwealth Society; Siya Kulkarni, Winner Me and My Net 2011; Adam Flynn, Sumitomo Chemical, in front of some of the entries

Fifteen year old Siya Kulkarni, from India, was in London for Commonwealth Week 2012, as her prize as the Winner of Me and My Net 2011, supported by Sumitomo Chemical’s Olyset Net.

During the week, Siya represented her country by carrying the Indian flag at the Commonwealth Day Observance at Westminster Abbey.  She also visited Malaria No More UK, to find out about their malaria awareness campaigns, and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) to see the insectaries and hear about the scientific work around malaria prevention.  With thanks to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK, Siya also had the opportunity to tour the Houses of Parliament and witness Prime Minister’s Question Time in the House of Commons.

Siya presented her winning campaign to the Commonwealth Nurses Conference, which was attended by nearly 200 delegates from 27 Commonwealth countries.  She also presented at a Me and My Net reception for the malaria community in London.  She said: “Although I come from India I was very ignorant about the impact that malaria has upon people in affected areas and was shocked by the scale of the problem. I was also struck by how easy it is to protect people with a net as opposed to using sprays or drugs. It is such a simple solution and yet, as a young person, I also know that we do not like being told what to do. I knew that my campaign had to find incentives for young people as a way to engage with them and encourage them to use their nets.

“I decided to split my Kids for Nets campaign to appeal to two age groups and used rhymes and the idea of decorating their nets to engage the 4-10 year-olds; whilst I wanted to show the young adult 11-15 year-olds that their future health and, therefore, their dreams for their future could be threatened.”

The Commonwealth Nurses Federation made a donation to Siya, which will be used to purchase Olyset Nets for distribution in Tanzania.

See Siya’s winning entry, and other award winners, at

Me and My Net winners announced

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Fifteen year old Siya Kulkarni, from Pune, India, has been announced as the winner of the ‘Me and My Net’ Competition, organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society.

Winning first prize from more than 2000 entries, Siya was unanimously praised by the judges for her well-thought out campaign, “Nets for a Better Life”, which detailed activities for schools to undertake with their students, in order to encourage positive behaviour change.

Young people from 25 Commonwealth countries participated in the competition which was launched to provide young people with a way to share their attitudes towards, and awareness of, malaria. Entrants were invited to submit creative ways of encouraging their peers to use bed nets correctly. Information from the entries will be used to help shape future malaria education campaigns.

Adam Flynn, Sumitomo Chemical, was one of the competition judges. He said: “First and foremost, I was struck by the sheer quality of the entries, many of which contained the entrants’ personal experiences of malaria which so obviously shaped the pictures, stories, photos and heart-felt essays. Perhaps more importantly I was greatly encouraged by the level of awareness and understanding of malaria and how it could impact on their futures.”

See the full list of prize and certificate winners at

Read International on Me and My Net

Friday, October 28th, 2011

During a volunteering trip to Tanzania with READ International I was part of a team which distributed books to schools. We also renovated a library at Kilakala Secondary School; an all girl’s boarding school in. We were pleased to see that each student had been provided with their own mosquito net to cover their bed.  During the renovation we asked the girls to take part in the competition and they were very enthusiastic about the opportunity.  We found out that the School had a Malaria Club, so we sat down with the student members and, although they were shy at first, they soon became more confident and a few days later the word of the competition had spread around the School and entries flooded in from all age groups. We received entries that were really informative and in some cases shocking.  The young girls have experienced malaria first hand and write about it so casually that reading about the reality of it was upsetting. The essays showed their knowledge of Malaria, including statistics and data, showing the success of the Malaria Club.  Some of the entries included drawings and animations which the students enjoyed producing.  They loved having a chance to draw and express themselves in a way that they usually do not have the opportunity to do.  The students put so much effort into the competition and presented their entries proudly with beautiful handwriting; this was a testament to their commitment and dedication to their studies.  Overall, the content was well written and I enjoyed having a chance to read some of the students’ work and see the quality of their English writing.  For us at READ the competition allowed us to be more involved with the students and gave us an insight into their abilities. The students had a great knowledge of Malaria which taught me a thing or two!

The competition touches on a really important issue in Africa and giving the students an opportunity to write about it helped them to remember the importance of prevention.


My Malaria Story

Monday, October 10th, 2011

When the Me and My Net team went to Nairobi and Dar es Salaam for Malaria Youth Summits earlier this year we asked all the young people attending to tell us their Malaria Story.

We collected stories from ninety participants, each telling us how malaria has affected them. Some of recount when they had malaria themselves, others talk about when members of their families were suffering, others when they learnt about Malaria at school. The stories highlight the importance of bed nets. Many of those with memories of suffering with malaria were not using them at the time, or had old nets with holes in them.

Below are just two examples…

“I have a cousin, who is very young, her age is 4 years old, she lives with her mother who doesn’t care about the importance of sleeping under a mosquito net. She believes that, there are no mosquitoes to bite them. One day, I don’t remember the exact date, but I think it was in January, the girl woke up in the morning, she felt every part of her body aching, then she felt very wide as if she was in a bridge or near a mountain. Because of her youngness she started crying because of the different which appeared on her body. Then her mother realised that there were something different in her baby’s body – she touched her baby’s body, her temperature was very high, then what she did, she took her to the hospital, but it was too late, the baby’s eyes started to change, they became very yellow, the mother got into a fear, she knew that her baby is dying. She rushed to the hospital and the baby was in a critical condition, then the doctors checked the baby, and they found that she has malaria and her condition was very bad. After the check up, the baby was unconscious for a long time and after she woke up, she was given medicine, then she felt better. The doctors gave some advice to the mother about the use of mosquito nets. Since that day my cousin and the whole family are always sleeping under the net. “

Zainab, age 11

“It’s so cold. No one talks, walk or shouting. The village was so quiet. Everybody at the village took themselves in  heir homes. In that village there was a girl, her name was Wande. Her tribe was a sukuma. She was so beautiful, charming, respectful in fact she was a very good girl. One day when my mother sent me to my uncle, I hear a voice and when I listen it carefully, I hear my friends name, her name is Wande. She was aging, weak in fact she was weak and suffer. No body in the house was there. The house was so silent. The voice which you can hear is only  Wande’s voice. Her mother travelled to Arusha because there was her sister’s wedding. When I enter to their house I saw Wande crying. When I told her to take her to the hospital she refused because in their tribe has the tribalism. When I convince her, she refuse again. When I tried to convince her, the door was knocked. I went then I open the door. When I open I saw her brother Maganga. Manganga was the first born in their family. He went to London for education. When he enter in, he saw his sister Wande crying and he asked her ‘what’s wrong?’ she required ‘ I have a fever’ M: ‘how do you tell?’ W: ‘my head aches, my stomach hurts too.’ M: ‘nothing else?’ W: ‘I have been vomiting since yesterday.’ M: ‘so did you go to the hospital?’ W: ‘I go to the witch doctor and he give me a natural medicine muarobaini. I drunk it but there’s no solution’. M: ‘come and I will take you to the hospital’. W: ‘no, out tribalism doesn’t want us to go to the hospital. Our god will never forgive us.’ W & M; ‘No’ they shouted for one house and then Wande agreed to go to the hospital. The doctor gave then the mseto medicine and Wande starts to use it. For a week, Wande was so strong and she start using the Olyset net. Now she is strong.”

Miriana, age 13

The stories have been entered into the Royal Commonwealth Society’s Jubilee Time Capsule – the world’s biggest online time capsule. The Jubilee Time Capsule is collecting people’s stories and memories since 6th February 1952 (when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne) to mark HM The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and sixty years as the Head of the Commonwealth. The Me and My Net entries will join 22,000 other entries – one for each day of HM The Queen’s reign - to tell the story of the modern Commonwealth. Find out more and share your own malaria story at

Click here to see all the Me and My Net entries in the capsule.

Spotlight on AMREF

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011


AMREF is Africa’s leading health charity, whose vision is lasting health change in Africa. They were founded in 1957 as the Flying Doctors Service of East Africa. They work across Africa, with major programmes in Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Tanzania and South Africa, and expanding outreach into West Africa. One of AMREF’s main priorities is Malaria, and the treatment, prevention and education on malaria-related illnesses and deaths.

Snapshot on a project: Afar, Ethiopia

Afar is particularly prone to malaria, yet it only has two clinics to serve a population of 1.3 million people. Many are unaware of how to protect themselves against the disease and commonly available drugs have become less effective as people have grown resistant to them. AMREF works with the health system at all levels to:

  • Increase the use of mosquito nets by pregnant women and young children
  • Improve the quality of testing being carried out to diagnose malaria
  • Develop systems that allow people to treat malaria with effective drugs in the home
  • Educate communities about how to control the spread of malaria

Key achievements

  • 99,000 mosquito nets have been distributed to pregnant women and young children in 11 districts – 99% of households in the project area have received two nets each
  • Communities in these districts have been trained how to use their new mosquito nets and shown how they can help prevent malaria
  • AMREF has trained 300 “mother coordinators” to help families protect themselves from malaria in their own homes. The project has expanded to cover new districts, protecting more vulnerable communities from malaria. 

Have a look at the below blog post for one women’s story of AMREF helped her.

To find out more about AMREF and the work they do visit their website –

World Mosquito Day – 20th August

Friday, August 19th, 2011

Mosquito 20th August is World Mosquito Day. Created in 1897, it marks the discovery by Sir Ronald Ross, a British doctor working in India, that female mosquitoes transmit malaria between humans. On unearthing this breakthrough, Dr Ross declared that this day be known as World Mosquito Day. Dr Ross went on to become the first British person to be awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1902 and his discovery laid the foundations for scientists across the world to better understand, beat and treat malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

If you’d like to have your say in the global fight against malaria, be sure to enter the Me and My Net competition. Click here for all the info.

Spotlight on Tanzania House of Talent

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Tanzania House of Talent (THT) is a non-profit organisation working on enabling disadvantaged youths in Tanzania to develop talent in performing arts through a number of campaigns, one of which it ‘Z!nduka Malaria Haikubaliki.’

Launched in 2010, the objective of this innovative campaign is to create a call to action amongst the youth of Tanzania to adopt malaria prevention measures and become the catalyst of a society that no longer accepts malaria as a norm.

One of the most important and effective strategies in achieving their goals is using education to change attitude to the disease and implement effective interventions. Their work in 2011 has centred on the ‘Theatre in Education’ programme. Using music, dance and theatre, young people from the THT have held performances across Tanzania to 40,000 youths, exposing them to issues around malaria including effective prevention methods and seeking early treatment. THT has also conducted workshops with students giving them detailed information about malaria, and enabling discussion on the issues that affect them.

THT youth performing for the Theatre in Education programme

The programme has also established 40 youth clubs across the country, training 930 youths with the skills and knowledge to get involved in the campaign themselves. The clubs have been instrumental in engaging and mobilising local residents and local government officers to continue the fight against malaria. Other Z!nduka club activities have involved malaria themed song contests, poster exhibitions and community workshops, and future plans involve a mentor scheme to engage primary school.

The Z!nduka malaria campaign is also involved in the governments’ Universal Coverage Campaign. The THT have been working with the Tanzanian Red Cross to implement the ‘Hang Up’ campaign, aiming to ensure all nets distributed are used correctly. This included Z!nduka goodwill ambassador Fid Q engaged in house to house visits, a free public concert and worked with local artists in Mwanza to provide information and motivation in the community.

Zinduka! Goodwill Ambassador Fid Q speaks to the crowd at a free public concert in Mwanza

To find out more about Tanzania House of Talent, and their work on malaria through the ‘Z!nduka Malaria Haikubaliki’ campaign, visit their website here

The RCS is grateful to THT for their support for Me and My Net, and the Malaria Youth Summit in Dar es Salaam in July 2011.

Competition Deadline Extended

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

We have been thrilled to receive so many excellent entries into the Me and My Net Competition.  Due to popular demand, the deadline for entries into the competition has been extended to Friday 28 October 2011.

Remember, you can enter the competition in three ways:

1. Get Writing!
Imagine that you have a cousin who lives in a town where malaria is common.  Although she has been given a mosquito net to protect her from the disease, she doesn’t always use it. What do you think of her decision? Write her a letter to share your views.

2. Get Photographing! Get Drawing!
Take a photograph – or draw a picture – of you or a friend with a mosquito net.  Tell us a little about the picture and the net in it.

3. Get Creative!
Think of a way to teach other young people the importance of using a mosquito net to prevent malaria. You could:
- Make an eye-catching poster
- Create a memorable radio or TV advert
- Describe your own idea for an advertising campaign

You could win an exciting prize, with the overall winner being flown to London for the Commonwealth Day Observance in March 2012.  You can enter each of the sections of the competition once, so if you have already submitted a photo, you can still enter a letter and a campaign!  Find out more about how to enter, and share with us your views on malaria here.

Looking to promote the competition in your school or organisation?  Download the Me and My Net Flyer.

Malaria Youth Summits in East Africa

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

In July, the RCS Me and My Net team was in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to run two events for students in each city.

Both the events were big successes, and everyone in attendance was impressed by the students’ passion for preventing malaria in their countries.  Overall, the events reached over 100 students aged 12-16.

In Nairobi, students learnt more about malaria from PSI Kenya, and also demonstrated how to correctly hang a mosquito net.  Following this, the participants split into small groups to discuss the challenges malaria poses and the solutions which government and young people can offer, facilitated by Cosmos Education.  Representatives from each group then presented back to the others.  You can see the summary of these discussions in the Me and My Net Nairobi Communique.  After lunch, the groups designed creative campaigns to promote malaria prevention, which they presented to invited guests, including HE Charles Mogotsi, Botswanan High Commissioner to Kenya, and Dean of Commonwealth High Commissions in Nairobi.

In Dar es Salaam, students were delighted with a performance by Malaria Goodwill Ambassadors from Tanzania House of Talent, and also a talk by popular hip hop star, Fid Q, on his experiences in speaking to malaria-affected communities in Tanzania.  Students took part in a panel discussion, with representatives from the Ministry of Health and Social Care’s NATNETS programme, PSI Tanzania and COMMIT.  They then watched the Tanzanian film, Chumo, which was produced with the support of COMMIT and Johns Hopkins University.  In the afternoon, a creative workshop was facilitated by READ International, and campaigns designed were presented to guests, including the British Deputy High Commissioner in Tanzania, Susie Kitchens.

All the campaigns produced in the two events will be entered into the Me and My Net competition.  Find out how you can take part here.

The RCS is thankful to all the schools, students and teachers who attended, and its partners in each city for their support -

In Nairobi: Malezi School, Cosmos Education and PSI Kenya
In Dar es Salaam: the British High Commission, the British Council, Tanzania House of Talent, READ International, COMMIT, the Ministry of Health and Social Care’s NATNETS programme, PSI Tanzania, DFID.

See the photos from the two events below:


Dar es Salaam: