The Pennywise technical assistance program connected Doane Net Project's (DNP) vision with Power of Love's (POL) on the ground malaria net distribution and micro-lending programs. Together, we created a collaborative project through which DNP will train hundreds of individuals in Zambia, primarily women seeking pathways out of poverty, in how to prevent malaria, generate income and help the environment by making usable items out of waste plastic. The project partners are creating a model that can be implemented around the world.
The DNP, founded by a professor of biology in the US, teaches a simple method for turning waste plastic bags into mosquito screens, mosquito bed nets and other important products such as raincoats, school bags, and solar showers. The concept behind the DNP is that the people who make the nets and other products can help prevent malaria in their families, improve their standards of living, sell the products for income and improve the environment by clearing their communities of plastic waste.
The Power of Love Foundation is focused on developing innovative, cost-effective solutions to address the AIDS epidemic. POL works directly with women and children impacted by AIDS, empowering women (many of whom are grandmothers caring for several orphaned grandchildren) and helping them to become self-reliant through a multi-pronged approach that includes education, health care resources and micro-lending and business training; and providing long lasting insecticide nets and education on malaria to children and families vulnerable to malaria.
The Zambia Net-works Project
- Nearly 300 Matero residents, primarily women seeking pathways out of poverty, have learned the DNP method.
- More than a dozen women received follow up, specialized training from DNP that focused on making disease preventing window screens.
- Partnerships were developed with local carpenters (generating income for them too) to design and install frames for screens.
- High quality window screens were installed in the first Matero homes.
- Evaluation and ongoing needs assessment surveys have been conducted. They helped inform the project’s shift from bed nets, which were being underused, to window screens which are widely desired.
- Planning is underway for POL to make its first micro-loan supporting a window screen production business that utilizes the DNP method.
- DNP was invited to meetings at the Zambian Ministry of Health to discuss the potential the project has for responding both to Malaria and to a recent cholera outbreak in the Matero area. We are excited about the possibility of developing a partnership with local government.