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Poverty Alleviation Projects

2006 Projects

January 9, 2006

Dear Friends:

Welcome to your January 2006 report for The $10 Club.

About 1,000 people inhabit the village of Herowana in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea (PNG), a nation in Oceania east of Indonesia. Historically, Herowana was at the upper altitudinal limit of mosquito borne diseases such as malaria. However, as surrounding ecosystems have been altered by development, habitat destruction, and climate change, mosquitoes have been moving up hill and bringing diseases with them. As you recall from last month’s project in Uganda, malaria is still a remarkably deadly global disease.

The thousand people of Herowana are organized into roughly 400 families. The public health apparatus in PNG was supposed to deliver mosquito nets to Herowana last year but they are under-funded and disorganized and now have no specific plan to get to Herowana. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has made family-sized mosquito nets available in the provincial capital, Goroka, for 15 Kina, equivalent to $5. The people of Herowana cannot afford $5 to buy their own nets and most have never been to Goroka.

Many months ago, a long-time friend, colleague, and $10 Club member forwarded an email to me from Daniel Levitis, a PhD candidate in the Zoology Department of the University of California, stating that he was hoping to raise money from friends and family and colleagues to support the Herowana community, where he had worked previously. I am pleased that The $10 Club was able to step up to the challenge! This month, 263 of us joined together to donate $2,630 to Dan who will personally deliver 400 family-sized bednets to protect the entire village against mosquito borne diseases. The additional funds will be used to provide the villagers with necessary medicines including antibiotics and malaria tablets. Thank you.

Dan tells me that the people there are extremely hospitable and share their land and traditional agricultural culture with all visitors. The men cut small clearings in the forest and the women work these patches, growing yams, sweet potatoes, taro and bamboo. The only steady cash income for the village is from coffee and vanilla, which are grown for export. The village is only accessible by small airplane and the largest portion of the value of their product goes to paying for air freight fees. Herowana is run by a council, comprised of one elder from each of the nine clans in the village. The council meets every Friday, after which they hold a village meeting, a produce-swapping market, and sports on the airstrip.

Although we funded bednets last month in Africa, and I work tirelessly to vary the type of work we do each month, I’m sure you’ll agree that this project is too compelling to ignore. And the timing is particularly fortuitous as well—Dan arrives in Papua New Guinea tomorrow and I wanted to make sure he had the necessary support to equip this poor community. Many people in Herowana suffer from recurring high fevers, severe head and body aches, nausea, etc. Their diseases often go undiagnosed due to lack of access to medical professionals.

The health status of Papua New Guineans is the lowest in the Pacific region, and more than a quarter of children are considered moderately to severely malnourished. According to the World Health Organization, Papua New Guinea has an estimated 1,230 malaria cases annually (latest figures are from 2003) per 100,000 people. In a nation of 5.7 million, this means more than 70,000 cases of malaria. The WHO contends, “Malaria is the leading cause of all outpatient visits and the third leading cause of hospital admissions and deaths, and is now endemic in every province, including those that were once malaria-free.”

This is an excellent project and a remarkable opportunity to assist an entire village—and to do so confronted with the knowledge that these people would otherwise “fall through the cracks” in the delivery of public health support without our assistance. Yet again, The $10 Club is making a substantial and direct difference to those who need our aid the most. In a few weeks, entire families will go to bed under “our” nets, the threat of contracting potentially deadly malaria drastically reduced thanks to your small sacrifice again this month.

So, as we embark on our fourth year of philanthropic global aid together, let me once again thank you for doing your part to save the world, ten dollars at a time.

Sincerely,
Adam


The $10 Club is a nonprofit corporation registered in the District of Columbia.
Contributions are exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.


The $10 Club 2040 Tunlaw Rd., NW Washington, DC 20007 (202) 337-3123 adam@thetendollarclub.org