By: Ellen Agler, CEO
2016 has been a landmark year for the END Fund and the NTD community. I am so grateful to each of you for joining this close collaboration of partners and supporters dedicated to seeing the end of diseases of neglect. Whether you are one of our implementing partners, have attended a Dining in the Dark, climbed Kilimanjaro, invested in our programs, or shared our message with friends and family, we are grateful for your dedication to seeing an end to these diseases of neglect. Thank you!
This year, we found joy and inspiration in those partnerships which are making considerable progress in the fight against NTDs. After the Ebola crisis, NTD programs in Liberia restarted and gained momentum thanks to the dedicated team and citizens of Liberia. Along with our partners in Zimbabwe, we piloted a SMS campaign to raise awareness for target areas in need of NTD treatment, with text messages disseminated to some 700,000 individuals in the initial phase alone. Together with the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health and a coalition of partners, we are steadily working towards a goal of deworming over 25 million school age children and adolescents.
Some additional moments of pride for me this year include:
- the opportunity to share the importance of controlling and eliminating NTDs and the END Fund’s role in doing so at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa, in Kigali as well as an update to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s staff and Board during their Annual Meeting;
- receiving recognition–along with SCI, Evidence Action and SighSavers– from GiveWell’s list of Top Charities in 2016,
- Sue Desmond-Hellmann, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation CEO, dedicating her #GivingTuesday efforts to the END Fund; and
- celebrating both USAID and the Legatum Foundation’s 10th year of investing in NTDs and deepening the partnership and coordination between foreign assistance and private philanthropy to end NTDs
- witnessing advancements in the larger NTD community including successes in Morocco, Cambodia, Cook Islands, Niue and Vanuatu, and Guatemala.
As we reflect on the successes of the past year, we’re also anticipating an exciting 2017 ahead. At the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, we will convene our dedicated investors to highlight their renewed commitments and inspire others to join us. We look forward to celebrating the 5th Anniversary of the London Declaration on NTDs and progress made—along with our own 5th birthday! Once again, we’ll have a team climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with our 4th annual Summit to See the END, as well as a brand new adventure: Race to See the END—a marathon across Victoria Falls.
Through these varied activities and events, along with the work we do to help people live healthier, more prosperous lives, my colleagues and our Board remain extraordinarily grateful for your continued collaboration and support. Our efforts go so much further together. I hope you will continue to stay engaged throughout 2017 and look forward to seeing what more we can accomplish together.