Rick Mercer and Plan International Canada congratulate winners of the ninth annual Spread the Net Student Challenge to prevent malaria

Macville Public School, Balmoral Hall School, Algonquin College and Central Algoma Secondary School receive top honours

TORONTO, March 9, 2016 – Rick Mercer and Plan International Canada are pleased to celebrate the winners of this year’s Spread the Net Student Challenge, a friendly nationwide competition between schools that raises funds for malaria-preventing bed nets in Africa.

Mercer – television personality, co-founder of Spread the Net, and champion of the Student Challenge – will pay tribute to the four winning schools on the Rick Mercer Report in the coming weeks.

This year’s winners are:

  • Macville Public School, Caledon, ON raised $11,455 (Top elementary school)
  • Balmoral Hall School, Winnipeg, MB, raised $12,000 (Top secondary school)
  • Algonquin College, Ottawa, ON raised $3,390 (Top post-secondary school)
  • Central Algoma Secondary School, Desbarats, ON raised $4,606 (Wild card school)

Mercer will visit each of the winning schools and feature them on the March 29 season finale of the Rick Mercer Report in celebration of their outstanding efforts and school spirit.

As part of Plan International Canada’s Spread the Net Student Challenge this year, over 50 schools raised close to $80,000 for bed nets that will prevent malaria-infected mosquitoes from biting children and their families at night. The mosquito is the deadliest creature on earth. It transmits diseases, such as malaria, to humans, killing close to two million people around the world every year. Malaria alone causes approximately 600,000 deaths a year, with 90 per cent of these occurring in Africa and mostly among children under five years old.

“The young Canadians who participated in this year’s Spread the Net Student Challenge have become a part of a bigger movement in the global fight against malaria,” Mercer says. “I’m so inspired by all of the students across Canada and congratulate them on their creativity in raising funds and awareness for the cause. I look forward to meeting the winning schools and celebrating their incredible efforts in the season finale of the Rick Mercer Report.”

Since 2007, more than 750 elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools across Canada have participated in the Student Challenge, raising almost $1.5 million for the fight against malaria.

“Through Plan International Canada’s Spread the Net Student Challenge this year, passionate Canadian students showed a commitment to tackling global problems through local action. Their efforts are going a long way in preventing malaria by providing bed nets for children and their families in developing countries,” says Adam Graham, Senior Program Manager at Plan International Canada. “We congratulate all of the students across Canada who are changing the world by helping to save lives and raise awareness about these important issues in their own communities.”

Plan International Canada’s 2016 International Women’s Day campaign, built around the theme of Lift Her Up, aims to create a conversation about the positive impact that words can have on girls’ power and potential as they become confident women who will assert their rights and direct their lives even while confronting challenges and barriers.

“I extend a wealth of thanks to Marie Staunton for her remarkable achievements in leading Plan International Canada as Interim President and CEO for the past seven months and for her pivotal efforts in ensuring my transition into the role has been seamless,” said Ms. Riseboro.

About Plan International and the Because I am a Girl initiative

Founded in 1937, Plan International is one of the world’s oldest and largest international development agencies, working in partnership with millions of people around the world to end global poverty. Not for profit, independent and inclusive of all faiths and cultures, Plan International has only one agenda: to improve the lives of children. Because I am a Girl is Plan International’s global initiative to end gender inequality, promote girls’ rights and lift millions of girls – and everyone around them – out of poverty. Visit plancanada.ca and becauseiamagirl.cafor more information.

About Spread the Net

Spread the Net is a Plan International Canada initiative designed to educate and inspire Canadians to help end preventable malaria deaths by raising funds and awareness to support the purchase and distribution of bed nets, along with training on their use, to children and their families in Africa. Spread the Net was founded in 2006 by Belinda Stronach, P.C., and Rick Mercer, becoming an initiative of Plan International Canada in July 2013. Visit spreadthenet.ca for more information.

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Media contacts

Bob Neufeld
Senior Manager, Media and Public Relations
Plan International Canada
T: 416-920-1654 ext. 364

Meghan Francis
Specialist, Media and Public Relations
T: 416-920-1654 ext. 376