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Children Emerge as Winners in Twitter Challenge Between Ashton Kutcher and CNN
Date:4/24/2009

CNN Makes Good on $100,000 Pledge to Protect Children From Malaria, Killer of 3,000 African Children Every Day

NEW YORK and WASHINGTON, April 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- UNICEF today announced that it will be the recipient of a $100,000 gift from CNN Worldwide designated for the provision of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) meant to stem the spread of malaria, one day before World Malaria Day, April 25.

The gift comes as the result of a highly publicized challenge between actor Ashton Kutcher and CNN played out on the increasingly popular social networking Web site, Twitter.

"It is estimated that if every child in Africa slept under an insecticide-treated net, some 70 percent of malaria deaths could be avoided, "said Ann M. Veneman, Executive Director of UNICEF. "These new donations will help deliver insecticide-treated nets to children at risk from this deadly disease, and will save lives."

Kutcher, who is also a vocal advocate for the control of malaria, issued a challenge to CNN several weeks ago saying that his account would set a new record on Twitter, attracting 1 million followers before the Twitter account @cnnbrk, held by CNN's breaking-news feed. The wager was $100,000 and last Friday, Kutcher, whose Twitter name is @aplusk, reached that one million mark. CNN, which reached 1 million 30 minutes following Kutcher, pledged the $100,000 donation regardless of the outcome.

UNICEF partner, Malaria No More, has agreed to match CNN's $100,000 gift dollar for dollar, for a total of $200,000 which will go to the purchase and delivery of more than 25,000 bed nets.

Ms. Veneman is in Washington, D.C., on the eve of World Malaria Day with a powerful gathering of African and U.S. faith leaders, several malaria experts, and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Dr. Susan Rice, to launch a new campaign to combat malaria -- which kills 3,000 African children a day. The campaign is called One World Against Malaria, and calls upon the leaders of different faiths to mobilize in order to take on this common enemy. These partnerships will focus on ITN distribution, prevention and net utilization education, and treatment in local communities where houses of worship are the most trusted institutions.

Ms. Veneman is also issuing a joint report on the progress made toward controlling the disease, together with Roll Back Malaria (RBM) and The Global Fund. The report notes that since 2004 the number of bed nets produced worldwide has more than tripled -- from 30 million to 100 million in 2008. Several other organizations will also be making major announcements.

Data presented in the report titled, 'Malaria and Children, Progress in Intervention Coverage,' show major signs of progress across Africa in the fight against malaria, particularly in the increase in distribution of ITNs. Visit www.unicef.org to read the full copy of the report.

Defeating malaria and its devastating impact on children is an achievable and affordable goal. Sleeping under insecticide-treated mosquito bed nets reduces transmission by at least 60 percent and each net costs approximately $7.50, including transportation, distribution and education on its use. That's why the non-profit organization Malaria No More has generously presented the U.S. Fund for UNICEF (USF) with a challenge match grant of $1 million dollars. Malaria No More's grant will match each donation made to USF, dollar for dollar, doubling the impact of donations to UNICEF's malaria programs.

About UNICEF

For more than 60 years, UNICEF has been the world's leading international children's organization, working in over 150 countries to address the ongoing issues that affect why kids are dying. UNICEF provides lifesaving nutrition, clean water, education, protection and emergency response saving more young lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world. While millions of children die every year of preventable causes like dehydration, upper respiratory infections and measles, UNICEF, with the support of partnering organizations and donors alike, has the global experience, resources and reach to give children the best hope of survival. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicefusa.org.


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SOURCE U.S. Fund for UNICEF
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