Kiwanis International pledges to raise $110 million to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus

Kiwanis International is mobilizing its Kiwanis members across the globe to provide a much needed push to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT).

GENEVA, Switzerland (July 7, 2011) — Kiwanis International is mobilizing its Kiwanis members across the globe to provide a much needed push to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT). Tetanus is a painful disease that kills one baby every nine minutes, or 160 newborns each day.

Kiwanis International pledges to raise US$110 million by 2015 for the project, the largest single pledge for global MNT elimination efforts. These funds will ultimately protect at least 61 million women and their future babies who are at risk of this deadly disease. The fundraising campaign’s inauguration is taking place during the 96th Annual Kiwanis International Convention in Geneva, Switzerland this week. 

"Our Kiwanis members around the world are ready to raise funds to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus," said Kiwanis International President Sylvester Neal. "For $1.80 we can protect a mother and her future babies from this deadly but preventable disease. We can only do this with the support of our 8,000 local clubs, and with their help, we will eliminate MNT."

The Eliminate Project is a global campaign that will save thousands of lives and protect millions of mothers and their future newborns. The disease is typically contracted through unhygienic childbirth practices. The goal of the project is to eliminate this swift, painful and highly preventable disease by vaccinating women of childbearing age, which will not only protect the mothers, but also their future newborns. "The vast network of dedicated Kiwanians will provide the funds necessary for UNICEF and its partners to get tetanus vaccines to millions of women," said President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF Caryl Stern. "We are deeply honored by their commitment to saving so many lives around the world." 

The funding supports UNICEF and its partners that have already eliminated MNT in 20 countries. With Kiwanis' global volunteer network, along with UNICEF’s field staff and technical expertise, The Eliminate Project will serve those who live in 38 developing countries where MNT remains a public health threat—and help eliminate this cruel, centuries-old disease.

The Eliminate Project will do more than protect women and babies from tetanus; it will also help create a path for other services, such as clean water, nutrition and other vaccines, to reach some of the world’s most vulnerable people who are not served because they are poor, remote and, in some cases, invisible to the world.

In taking on this mission, Kiwanis joins a select group of organizations and corporations, including P&G and BD, which have made significant strides toward MNT elimination. For more information about The Eliminate Project, please visit

About The Eliminate Project
The Kiwanis International global campaign for children, The Eliminate Project, aims to save thousands of young lives and protect millions of mothers and their future babies. In partnership with UNICEF and other partners, Kiwanis is eliminating MNT by vaccinating women of child-bearing age for tetanus, a disease that kills one baby every nine minutes. UNICEF and its partners have already eliminated MNT in 20 countries, and Kiwanis’ pledge to raise $110 million will help fund the elimination of the disease in the 38 countries where tetanus remains a public health threat. Kiwanis’ global volunteer network and strength in reaching communities and leaders, along with UNICEF’s field staff, technical expertise and unbeatable supply chain will help wipe out this cruel, centuries-old disease and pave the way for other interventions.

About Kiwanis
Founded in 1915, Kiwanis International is a global organization of clubs and members dedicated to serving the children of the world. Kiwanis and its family of clubs, including Circle K International for university students, Key Club for students age 14–18, Builders Club for students age 11–14, Kiwanis Kids for students age 6–12 and Aktion Club for adults living with disabilities, dedicate annually more than 18 million service hours to strengthen communities and serve children. The Kiwanis International family comprises nearly 600,000 adult and youth members in 80 countries and geographic areas. For more information about Kiwanis International, please visit

Working in more than 150 countries, UNICEF provides children with health care, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency relief, and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States.

UNICEF is at the forefront of efforts to reduce child mortality worldwide. There has been substantial progress: the annual number of under-five deaths dropped from 13 million in 1990 to 8.1 million in 2009. But still, 22,000 children die each day from preventable causes. Our mission is to do whatever it takes to make that number zero by giving children the essentials for a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit

For additional information, please contact:

Jo Lynn Garing, Kiwanis International, 317.508.6337 (mobile),
Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 646.428.5010 (mobile),      
Larissa Sclotterbeck, UNICEF, 0041796973348 (mobile),