Meet the Co-Founders: Margaret

Margaret McGlynn is Chief Executive Officer of NETwork Against Malaria.  Five years ago, she spear-headed founding the national nonprofit organization.  She has since established successful chapters at Creighton University and Weill Cornell Medical College.  Although she has graduated from Creighton University, it remains an active chapter, which is a testament to Margaret's leadership while she was on campus.  

 

About Margaret

Margaret has had a unique experience among her fellow co-founders in that summer 2011, Margaret traveled to Uganda.  While there she met NETwork's Directors in Uganda.  She visited schools and communities who recieved our nets.  She participated in a bed net distribution.  However, Margaret also met students and visited communities who did not have nets.  She witnessed great poverty and suffering.  In a medical clinic, she saw children die of malaria.

Margaret and volunteers at a fundraising jewelry sale November, 2009. 

Margaret gives a net to a student in Uganda.​

Margaret returned to the United States Fall 2011 with a renewed passion and larger goals.  Margaret had seen the faces of those we helped.  She knew the names of those we hadn't.  With her help, NETwork distributed over 6,000 bed nets in our Summer 2012 Bed Net Distribution Campaign, reaching the students Margaret had met in Uganda.  This distribution campaign more than doubled the total number of nets NETwork had ever distributed.
 

Margaret graduated from Creighton University and is now is a third year medical student at Weill Cornell Medical School.

What NETwork is Doing
Past Distributions

About Margaret: In Her Own Words Reflections on My Experiences in Uganda

You know I was always very proud of what we do in Uganda, but last summer I went to Uganda and the first child I saw die of malaria...Everything changed.  Wearing a winter coat in the hot African afternoon, a father carried in his 9 year old daughter.  Malaria had destroyed her red blood cells, kidneys, and she was dying because of that.  She needed medicines and a blood transfusion--the hospital didn't have the right blood and her father couldn't afford the $2.50 ride to a nearby hospital where blood may be.  Even then it probably wouldn't be enough.  He wanted to take her home to die. 



I witnessed this story many times when I was in Uganda--A family crippled by poverty, hoping that their child would beat malaria without costly medication, and only when the child was at the brink of death, did they bring the child to the hospital--at that point the cost of the treatment cost the family almost every penny they had, and usually the child died anyway.

​For this reason, I realized treatment alone for malaria is not enough. Prevention of malaria with ITNs will prevent the deaths of these children, and spare their families the heartbreak, as well as help them escape from poverty. I now feel a sense of urgency to buy and distribute nets in a way that I did not before--the intent to provide children with ITNs will not save their lives.  And while we wait, many will surely get malaria and die.

A few days later, I turned down the opportunity to go on a safari with my roommate and an opportunity to climb Kilamanjaro or go to Zanzibar with a friend from medical school to visit katulikirie, a village in northern Uganda where we had given nets. I traveled on a Ugandan bus--I was the only American.  We passed by vehicles which had slid off the road.  I was the only non-Ugandan on the bus--for good reason.  A few months after I returned to school in the USA, I learned that a passenger had died on a bus run by the same bus company on the same route.   At one point we stopped for a "short call", a bathroom break. I reached the bathroom facility to find it was an open trough without stalls.  All the women were staring at me to see what I would do.  Needless to say I decided to abort the mission and climb back on the bus.
 

In Katulikirie, I received an enthusiastic reception among the children.  I think it was a combination of Ugandan hospitality nd their curiousity to see what I looked like--they don't get many visitors.  They all gathered and sang and danced for me for hours.  They all laughed hysterically as they convinced me to join into their song and try to imitate their dance.  While we danced, I learned their names.  They were from a few different schools in the area--Katulikirie, Bwyale.  The knowledge that these children are still getting malaria--and perhaps dying-- while we raise funds to buy them nets is something that keeps me up at night.


 

Margaret and students at a girls' secondary school in Uganda

Right now we have always raised enough funds so that when our volunteers are ready for a distribution, we can wire them the funds, but I know that there will come a day when they ask us to send money and there will be nothing to give.

I've always hated asking people for money, but I definitely spend a lot of my free time swallowing my pride and begging for money.  People have been incredibly generous to us. Although, I gotten very used to  people just saying "no."

We have now come to a point where we have the connections and the plan to distribute to every child in Katulikirie, every child who I met. But we lack the funds for a goal this large at this time. I am praying we will have them soon.​

Students welcome Margaret by singing to her for hours.

A girl from Katulikirie Primary School shakes Margaret's hand.

About Margaret: In Videos

Margaret distributes bed nets in Hoima.

Margaret visits Katulikire and Bwyale.

Margaret visits Katulkre.

Bed net celebrations

In these two videos, Margaret and Ugandan Director Emmanuel talk about the devastation caused by malaria, the need for nets, and the impact of NETwork and the future of NETwork.

August 2012 NETwork returned to Katulikire Primary School, a school where upper level students had received bed nets in the past. After these students graduated, Margaret, co-founder visited the school promising NETwork would return with nets. August 2012, NETwork volunteers distributed nets to every student of Katulikire Primary School.

About Margaret: In The News and Other Links

Children in Uganda, a photo taken by Margaret

About Margaret: In Pictures

Margaret in Hoima, Uganda for a Bed Net Distribution

Margaret with students of a girls' secondary school in Uganda

Margaret at fundraising and promotional events in the US