Zosherafatain ’10, pictured in the front row, second from the right, and
Katie Boyce-Jacino ’10, pictured in the back row, second from the right,
proposed a "Malaria Awareness Week" campaign for the United Nations
Foundation. As national finalists, they had the opportunity to attend a
retreat at the United Nations Foundation offices July 16 and 17.
Students to Host Fundraising Malaria Awareness Week on Campus
Every 30 seconds, a child living in sub-Sahara
Africa dies from malaria, a virus caused by mosquitoes. Two Wesleyan
sophomores want to bring awareness of the preventable disease to campus, and
save lives through various activities and fundraising.
Antoinette Zosherafatain ’10 and Katie Boyce-Jacino ’10, co-presidents of
Wesleyan’s Americans for Informed Democracy chapter, are planning to host
Malaria Awareness Week Oct. 6-12. This week will consist of various events
to educate the Wesleyan community about malaria, and raise funds to buy
insecticidal bed nets that safeguard African families from malaria.
“Malaria is a global epidemic, and we personally know students at Wesleyan
who have contracted the disease,” Zosherafatain says. “We really want to
take the time to educate the campus and get everyone engaged in the global
problem of malaria through a week-long program.”
Malaria Awareness Week will begin with an educational lecture on the causes
of malaria, and how the disease can be prevented. Mid-week, a documentary
about malaria will be shown, and Wesleyan students will speak about their
own experiences having the disease. Erika Taylor, assistant professor
of chemistry, and Bill Johnston, professor of East Asian Studies, professor
and chair of history, will lead a discussion panel. Other activities include
a week-long bake sale and a dance party, with donation proceeds going
towards the cause.
Zosherafatain and Boyce-Jacino initially came up with the idea of Malaria
Awareness Week for the United Nation Foundation’s Buzz Cuts campaign, a
multi-media advocacy contest to promote student activism and awareness of
“The Buzz Cuts campaign for Malaria really stuck out as something that would
make a large impact in the world and is something that everyone in the
Wesleyan community can get involved in,” Boyce-Jacino says. "Even though
it's the second largest killer in Sub-Saharan
Africa, second only to AIDS, it's often ignored. In developed
countries, malaria has been all but wiped out, so it's really difficult for
people here to understand just how devastating it is."
The Wesleyan students submitted a proposal, and were selected as two of the
13 nation-wide finalists on Sept. 4. Buzz Cuts received a total of 40
“Katie and Antoinette’s campaign stood out as an innovative and fun approach
to advocacy on the serious issue of malaria,” says Victoria Baxter,
executive director of the United Nations Foundation’s The People Speak
community. “The finalists were really able to get that message across while
also getting other students involved in helping prevent this disease.”
Throughout the week, the students will place donation bins around campus,
collecting funds to purchase bed nets, which are treated with pyrethroid
insecticides to repel mosquitoes. A bed net completely covers a sleeping
person and has the ability to reduce malaria transmission as much as 90
percent, according to the United Nations Foundation. They cost $10 each.
“The bed nets that we are fundraising for will save at least one life, and
if $10 can save a life, then this is surely a way Wesleyan students can help
change the world,” says Zosherafatain.
During Malaria Awareness Week, they will film, photograph and document the
campaign and submit their final video to Buzz Cuts. In December 2007, the
public will vote on its favorite video. The winning campaign will receive a
$500 prize and national distribution of its campaign tool kits and
Zosherafatain, a government major studying international politics and
international relations, and Boyce-Jacino, a potential history and astronomy
double major, learned about the Buzz Cuts competition last summer while
researching non-profit campaigns on the Americans for Informed Democracy
"Wesleyan has anti-Iraq War groups, and
Darfur groups, and AIDS groups, but what about a group that takes on the
quieter issues? That's where we come in, and that's why our program is as
extensive as it is," Boyce-Jacino says. "People don't know about this, and
they should, because it's something that's so easily solved. Just a $10
bednet! Can you imagine?"
Zosherafatain and Boyce-Jacino were invited to a finalists’ retreat at the
United Nations Foundation offices July 16 and 17. The finalists met with
Senators Ben Nelson from Nebraska and Ken Salazar from Colorado.
Donations can be made online to their cause at
By Olivia Bartlett, Wesleyan Connection editor