Mosquito Joe Takes on Malarial Mosquitos in Africa
The team from Mosquito Joe and Nothing But Nets, coming together to fight malaria.
We all know the annoying buzz of a mosquito stuck in our bedroom. Despite the news around Zika and West Nile Virus, to most Americans, it’s just a nuisance. But for families across Africa, that buzz portends one of the deadliest diseases known to man: malaria.
The staff behind Mosquito Joe, a pest control franchise that focuses exclusively on mosquitos, hates the buzzing little monsters. The concept has more than 230 locations dedicated to combating them, has worked with the Red Cross and runs mosquito awareness week (June 26-July 1) each year.
CEO Kevin Wilson said the company benefited from the knowledge of mosquito born diseases, West Nile especially, and wanted to help combat such disease.
“West Nile is in every single state with a couple exceptions,” said Wilson. “And I think that being covered in the papers all the time helps us, but also raises awareness. Mosquitos are the No. 1 killer of humans in the word.”
He said his team wanted to extend their help beyond the U.S. borders, where malaria was eliminated in 1951.
“The team that we put together feels the need to give back in one form or another,” said Wilson. “So we came across Nothing But Nets and it seemed to be a very good fit. Our customers know the benefits we give them in their own backyard, but they also recognize that they’re very fortunate to live in this country.”
Nothing But Nets, a program within the United Nation Foundation, helps families across Africa with low-cost treated nets that protect against mosquitos. For $10, the program can send a net to a family or refugees of natural or humanitarian disasters.
Nothing But Nets Director Margaret Reilly McDonnell said since Reilly learned the horrors of malaria, he and the organization he started have been part of a all-out assault on malaria since 2006.
“He watched a documentary about malaria and back then a child was dying every 30 seconds,” said McDonnell. “He issued this call to action.”
Since then, the organization has raised $60 million to help in the fight, getting a lot of nets to a lot of families.
“Now a child is dying every two minutes—that’s not our handiwork alone, of course, it’s in conjunction with other important partners. But it’s been amazing progress against malaria,” said McDonnell. “It’s estimated that we’ve been able to save 6.8 million lives, and we’ve been able to reduce mortality particularly for kids under five in Africa by 71 percent. The World Health Organization says that it's 68 percent due to bed nets.”
She said Mosquito Joe jumped at the opportunity to help the organization further its efforts.
“They contacted us to find out more, and they saw that their business model is helping to protect communities and they wanted to extend that and really give back to communities that they can’t reach with their own services,” said McDonnell.
To Wilson and the team, a child dying every two minutes was still grim math. So they sent an email out to their 70,000 customers with a way to help. The goal for the first phase of the partnership was $5,000, which Mosquito Joe would match. The goal was blown away almost instantly.
“In the first four days we hit $6,000,” said Wilson. “You just look at the money they’ve come in and look at the comments that have come in, the generosity is just incredible.”
So they’ll extend the program with a goal of $25,000 by the end of the year—2,500 nets for families across Africa. The next phase of the program focuses on franchisees.
McDonnell said the money is important for her mission, and it demonstrates values for companies as well.
“This upcoming generation really want to fell like the brands their supporting have value and mission, so I think Mosquito Joe is doing the right thing and is also really smart about providing their customers with an opportunity to do good,” said McDonnell.
To learn more about the program, visit NothingButNets.net or watch the virtual reality video below to see how their nets help in one refugee camp.