Eliminate News

Final Eliminate Report  —  Dec. 31, 2020

The fundraising campaign for the Kiwanis/UNICEF Eliminate project has officially come to an end.   BUT we can still give to the Kiwanis Children’s Fund to support UNICEF as it continues to eliminate maternal/neonatal tetanus in the 12 countries where it has not been eliminated.

The MO-ARK District, including our SLPs, has given $1,767,687.34 and has protected or saved nearly 1 million mothers and their babies.  You can see our MO-ARK financial report on our district website. Select “menu” and click on “Eliminate”.  Club and SLP giving is listed. Mothers and babies around the world say “Thank You” in many different languages. Will Kiwanis continue to support the elimination of maternal/neonatal tetanus?  Certainly.  See the FAQs below.


What was The Eliminate Project? In 2010, Kiwanis International joined UNICEF and UNICEF USA to fight maternal and neonatal tetanus by raising money through The Eliminate Project. In 2015, Kiwanis, UNICEF and UNICEF USA renewed the agreement for an additional five years. The Eliminate Project partnership ended on December 31, 2020. Kiwanis remains committed to saving and protecting mothers and babies at risk of MNT.

Have we eliminated MNT? Kiwanis helped eliminate MNT in 27 countries, but mothers and babies in parts of 12 countries remain at risk of the disease. Kiwanis will keep working to save and protect these moms and babies, as well as support sustainability work in countries where MNT has been eliminated. 

What did The Eliminate Project accomplish? The Kiwanis family raised money for lifesaving vaccines, health education, safe birth environments and more — all for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable populations. In fact, the world has seen a 57% decrease in the number of babies dying annually of MNT since Kiwanis joined the fight. Millions of women can now give birth without fear of their babies dying from this horrible disease. That’s worth celebrating! 

Can we still support the fight against MNT? Yes! Every year, 25,000 babies die of this preventable disease. We will continue to fight MNT until the infant mortality rate reaches zero. And we will continue to provide funding to sustain our elimination efforts. Gifts can be made at kiwanischildrensfund.org/give.

How will gifts designated for MNT elimination be used? These donations will support the elimination of the disease through grants made at the discretion of the Kiwanis Children’s Fund. 

Will Kiwanis International do another global campaign? Kiwanis is actively working to address the health needs of children through our worldwide network of volunteers and clubs. We remain committed to the elimination of MNT and iodine deficiency disorders.

Do clubs, districts and individuals need to keep paying toward their pledges? Although all pledges were closed at the end of The Eliminate Project, clubs, individuals and districts can still make donations to help mothers and babies at risk of MNT. (Please note: the Kiwanis Children’s Fund is no longer offering Walter Zeller Fellowships.) 

It has been a privilege to work with you on this world changing project.  You have been generous Kiwanians.  I know you will continue to improve the world one child and one community at a time.   Thank you to my predecessors as Eliminate Advocates, Jerry Martin and Susan Jespersen and to all those who were part of the team to help eliminate Maternal/neonatal tetanus around the world.   Thank you, MO-ARK Kiwanians.

Roger N. Jespersen
past Eliminate Advocate
MO-ARK District of Kiwanis

The Eliminate Project:  Kiwanis Eliminating Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus

Last Call for Zeller Fellowship Gifts

The Kiwanis Children’s Fund has announced that the opportunity to give Zeller Fellowship gifts will end on December 31, 2020.  The program of vaccinating mothers to protect them and their babies from tetanus will continue and gifts to fund the elimination of tetanus will be accepted by the Kiwanis Children’s Fund.

So, if you would like to honor someone with a Zeller or make a Zeller Fellowship gift in your own name, the time to do it is now.  The MO-ARK District has some matching funds available. A gift of $1000 will be matched by $250 for the total $1250 Zeller Fellowship gift.  Such a gift will protect and save over 600 mothers and their babies.   These gifts to the Kiwanis Children’s Fund are also tax deductible.

Only 12 countries remain to complete the vaccination protocol which will protect and save their mothers and babies.  Kiwanis members are committed to finishing this project.  Thank you for your generosity.

For more information you may contact MO-ARK District Eliminate Advocate, Roger Jespersen, 573-803-0757 or by email at rogerki16@gmail.com.

Eliminate Report to the House of Delegates — August, 2020

Report to 2019-2020 District house of delegates

Gov. Ron, Governor Designate A C, Gov. Elect Carla, Delegates and friends,

 Greetings from your Eliminate Advocate and the thousands of mothers and babies who are alive  today because of the generosity of the MO-ARK Kiwanians.

I will give this report in 2 parts.  1.  Where we are on the maternal/neonatal Tetanus battlefields and 2  where we are in the financial support of our soldiers who are fighting this vicious, nasty, excruciating pain delivering enemy, tetanus.

So First:

The number of mothers and babies needlessly dying from neonatal tetanus continues to fall, thanks, in part, to the commitment of Kiwanis International. 

According to a new report by the World Health Organization The world has seen an 85% reduction in newborn deaths from tetanus during the past 18 years, including a 57% drop since Kiwanis joined UNICEF in the fight against maternal and neonatal tetanus in 2010.

A group of scientists, statisticians and experts recently analyzed data that showed an estimated 25,000 babies died of tetanus in 2018, almost 6,000 fewer than reported in 2017. 

The report also showed that the number of newborns dying each day from tetanus decreased from 85 in 2017 to 68 in 2018, the latest year for which data was available. In 2011, 159 babies died every day from tetanus.

You may be wondering the status of The Eliminate Project in this year of Covid-19. The World Health Organization recommended that mass vaccination campaigns be temporarily suspended due to COVID-19 concerns. This not only affects tetanus immunizations, but all campaigns including polio and measles. Many countries had planned to conduct immunization campaigns in March, April, May – these have all been postponed. UNICEF will conduct these campaigns once the COVID-19 crisis has subsided, so we have been continuing our fundraising efforts for The Eliminate Project.  We want the needed funding to be available once the immunizations can begin again. Twelve countries remain affected by MNT. Kiwanis International and the Children’s Fund will continue supporting MNT elimination until no more mothers have to worry that their baby will contract tetanus.


At last year’s convention, I was fairly certain that we could raise the funds to complete our pledge to mothers and babies by Jan. 2021.  We needed about $86,000, we had about $7,000 available for matching funds.  The district Board, clubs and individuals were excited about getting it done.

 We had a good start for this Kiwanis year and then the pandemic.  It wasn’t hard to see that fundraising largely dried up for our clubs.  I have backed off on PR and fundraising for the last three months but will now begin again.

The Missouri-Arkansas District has raised US$1,746,317.24 in support of MNT elimination as of June 30, 2020.   I believe more has come in in July but I don’t have the official report yet.  This means that we have just $50,000 left to raise.

This is what I plan to do as your Eliminate Advocate.  Your advice and suggestions are always welcome.

  1. Ask Key Clubs to continue to help with trick or treat for UNICEF, they have already raised over $105,000.
  2. Continue with matching grants for Zeller gifts.  I have about 22 matches left to give at this time.  A gift of $1000 for a Zeller can receive a $250 match.
  3. Resume contacting clubs and individuals about the opportunity to protect and save mothers and babies through gifts of any size.
  4. I will end with a great example of generosity.  In one of our clubs, a member has been giving $5 a month for years.   $60 a year.  It is what that person can do.   Would you consider a special gift for mothers and their babies this year and next?  Would you invite others and your club to do the same?   You are generous people, or you wouldn’t be Kiwanians.   I am going to do it, will you join me?    Thanks a lot.

Roger N. Jespersen

MO-ARK Eliminate Advocate

114 Lark Hill Lane (note the new address)

Ballwin, MO  63021

Rogerki16@gmail.com         573-803-0757

Roger Jespersen has issued an Eliminate Update Power Point.   Click here.

Eliminate Project news:  October 2019

I have great news! The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has become the 27th country to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus since the Kiwanis family started fighting this disease in 2010.  MO-ARK Kiwanians, you can be proud of the way you are participating in ridding the world of maternal/neonatal tetanus.

How many mothers and their babies did we in the Missouri-Arkansas District protect and save from maternal/neonatal tetanus during the 2018-2019 Kiwanis year?   About  44,444!!!   That is nearly 10 for every one of the members of our District.  Our giving total was about $80,000.

Internationally we are down to just 12 countries that are not validated as free from that dreaded disease (validated means that there is fewer than 1 death from maternal/neonatal tetanus per 1,000 live births). 

MO-ARK’s pledge to the mothers and babies of the world is to protect and save 1,000,000 mothers and their babies by giving $1,800,000 by Dec. 31, 2020.  We have now given $1,714,000.  Only $86,000 left to reach our District goal!

What can you and I do to reach our goal?

   First: We can give a personal gift.  Any amount will help.  $1.80 protects and saves a mother and her babies.

    Second:  We can encourage our club to make a gift.  Some clubs give 5-10 per cent of their fundraising totals to Eliminate each year.  What can your club do?  The record of your club’s giving can be found on the MO-ARK webpage.

Presidential Zellers and Mother’s Day Zellers are still available for a gift of $1250.  Our District has a limited number of $250 matching grants for clubs and individuals who give $1000 toward a Zeller award.

   Third:   If you are a MO-ARK District Board member you can encourage your region and friends to help the District reach its goal.  The matching funds you have allocated will turn every $1000 into $5000 and speed us towards our goal.

   Fourth:  If you are a Lt. Gov. you can keep the Eliminate Project before the clubs in your division.  Tell them how close we are to our goal and ask them to be a part of the push toward reaching that goal and celebrating our victory in 2021 or before.

   Fifth:  If you are an SLP advisor, invite your club members to trick or treat for UNICEF (our Eliminate partners) and send their collected funds to Kiwanis Children’s Fund designated for the Eliminate project.  They will help us reach our goal.   SLP members have already given over $100,000.

For more information about Zeller gifts, district matching funds and Eliminate Project resources contact MO-ARK District Advocate, Roger Jespersen, 573-803-0757 or rogerki16@gmail.com

General information can be found online under the Kiwanis Children’s Fund.

Roger N. Jespersen

MO-ARK District Eliminate Advocate


Only 13 Countries to go.

Today, mothers in Chad no longer fear losing newborns to tetanus. Thanks to the work of Kiwanis and UNICEF, Chad has become the 26th country to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) since the start of The Eliminate Project!

The World Health Organization (WHO) presented the official certificate to Chad’s minister of health in April in recognition of the country’s efforts. The elimination of MNT is the result of Chad’s improvements in recent years regarding routine immunization.   

With the support of Kiwanis International, along with partners such as LDS Charities and BD, UNICEF has increased access to lifesaving immunizations for some of the world’s most vulnerable mothers and babies. Our partnership has enabled UNICEF to vaccinate millions of women of reproductive age against tetanus.

“We’ve really made a huge impact,” said Stan Soderstrom, executive director of Kiwanis International. “When we started, I said that when we can get down to counting the number of nations on our fingers and thumbs, well, we’ll feel good about that. We’re getting close.”  

Most mothers and newborns dying of tetanus live in areas where women are poor, have little access to health care and have little information about safe delivery practices. There were other obstacles to overcome in Chad. The African nation has a large displaced population due to conflict prompted by Boko Haram. Many children have been separated from their families, subjected to exploitation, abuse and recruitment by armed groups. Despite this, the country has been able to achieve this milestone.

The disease is surprisingly easy to prevent through immunization and hygienic birth practices. In fact, a series of three shots provides lifetime immunity to a woman and all her future children.

WHO estimates that in 2017, the latest year for which estimates are available, 30,848 newborns died from neonatal tetanus, a 47% drop since Kiwanis partnered with UNICEF in 2011. In 2010, 58,000 babies were estimated to die from tetanus every year.

The money Kiwanis is raising through The Eliminate Project funds vaccinations, as well as transportation, volunteer training, monitoring and supervision. Raised funds also pay health care workers and skilled birthing attendants — so that mothers give birth in clean, safe environments.   

Kiwanis International is committed to meeting the health and vaccination needs of mothers and children around the world so that no child dies a needless, preventable death.

The need to fulfill pledges is as urgent as ever. Make a gift today! Go to TheEliminateProject.org/give to donate.

THE MISSOURI-ARKANSAS District still has a few $250 matching grants available for clubs or individuals who make a $1000 gift towards a Zeller Fellowship.   Contact Roger Jespersen, rogerki16@gmail.com or 573-683-0757 for more information.

April 28, 2019

New Matching Grants AVAILABLE!!

Matching grants for ELIMINATE Zeller gifts are available again this year through the generosity of the Monett Kiwanis Club.  THANK YOU Monett Kiwanians.

This is how they work.  An individual, group of individuals or a club gives $1000.   $250 of matching funds will be added so that a Zeller Award may be given to a Kiwanian or community member chosen by the donor(s) who has a heart to serve children.  Twelve (12) Matching grants are available.   A limited number of Mother’s day and Presidential Zellers are still available so you could honor a special person in your life or in your club’s life.

Let’s have these taken before the end of February.

For more information or to start the process of receiving a MATCHING GRANT contact:

Roger N. Jespersen

MO-ARK Eliminate Advocate

Rjespersen13@sbcglobal.net   or  rogerki16@gmail.com


We are so excited to announce that the Philippines has eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus!  Read this personal message from Kiwanis President-elect Poly Lat, a resident of the Philippines himself: http://bit.ly/2Bt1cDf

What a year we had in October 2016-September 2017!!!   About $160,000 in gifts to the Eliminate project were received from generous MO-ARK Kiwanians to save and protect 90,000 mothers and their babies.  Keep up the good work and our goal will soon be met.

Since 2010 we have been about the task of raising $110 million in cash and pledges to fund the work, in partnership with UNICEF, of a historic world-wide health initiative to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT.)  With the help of Kiwanians all the around the world and a pledge from the Kiwanis International Foundation, we have reached our goal!  For every donation, every pledge, and every donor – Thank you!!!! 

However, our job is not done yet.  Now, more than ever, we are determined to finish what we started – to continue receiving gifts and payments on pledges until the threat of MNT is eliminated. Already our gifts have eliminated the threat of MNT in 24 countries and the rate of babies dying from tetanus infection has dropped.

But mothers and babies are still depending on Kiwanis.  MNT is still a threat in 15 countries.  The mothers and babies in those countries are waiting for us to “fulfill” our promises—so we can turn promises into funding; funding into vaccines; and vaccines into lives saved and futures protected.

The end of this disease means the beginning of better health for so many of these families and a world “amazingly” improved.

Our goal in MOARK is to save and protect 1,000,000 women and their future babies from MNT.  We are almost 80% of the way there!

Keep sending all gifts and payments on pledges as they are collected.  The quicker the gifts and payments are received by the Foundation, the quicker they are sent to the field for the life-saving work of eliminating MNT.

Learn about MNT and advocate for the cause. Go to www.TheEliminateProject.org to find out more.

A great fundraising idea




A Harry Potter trivia game raises funds for The Eliminate Project.

Six years ago, Jennifer Roberts walked into the Colombia, Missouri, Kiwanis Club meeting wearing a wizard hat and holding a stack of Harry Potter books. Placing them on the table, she said, “This is how we’re going to make money for The Eliminate Project.”

Today, she is the “head muggle” for Harry Potter Trivia night, the club’s most popular and magical event of the year. In February, Harry Potter fans of all ages will gather for the sixth time to dress in costume, compete in Harry Potter trivia and raise money for great causes.

“It’s not your average trivia night,” Roberts says. “It’s very magical. Almost everybody is in a costume. Some people have matching team apparel made. They take it very seriously.”

Previously, this event raised more than US$25,000 to fulfill the club’s pledge to The Eliminate Project. In the future, the money will go toward Beads of Courage (a program for chronically ill children) and the club’s grants.

The event’s theme differs every year. In 2018, it’s scheduled for St. Patrick’s day, complete with leprechauns, shamrocks and perhaps some Irish tunes.

Participants set up their own tables, which they elaborately decorate with detailed props and themed desserts.

“You wouldn’t believe the work that these people put into it—it’s unbelievable,” Roberts says.

Harry Potter fan Jennea Robertson, 16, has attended the past three trivia nights, dressing in costume and eagerly anticipating new questions.

“I really enjoy being on a team and being in an environment where everyone is a Potter fan,” she says.

Adds Roberts, “I think it’s the biggest Harry Potter trivia event in the country.”


Borrowed from Kiwanis International:  Click here

Eliminate Project Update                                                  December 20, 2017

Dear MO-Ark Leaders,

We’ve recently closed the books for the 2016-17 Kiwanis year and are pleased to share some updates with you regarding The Eliminate Project as we move one year closer to eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus – a deadly, preventable disease that still claims the lives of 34,000 newborns each year.

We’re winning the fight! The Philippines has recently been validated for MNT elimination, making it the third country to eliminate MNT in 2017, following Ethiopia and Haiti, and the 24th country to achieve elimination since Kiwanis International began The Eliminate Project in partnership with UNICEF. Because of your steadfast support, the entire Western Hemisphere is now MNT-free. Only 15 countries remain at-risk.  Thank you for all you have done and continue to do to save the lives of mothers and babies worldwide.

Monthly reports – You may have noticed that you did not receive your monthly report as scheduled in November.  We apologize for the delay but are glad to announce that monthly reports are now online and can be accessed at www.theeliminateproject.org/ district reports.  We hope this will be a good tool for you, your volunteers, and your district leaders. The reports will be available on or around the 15th of each month.

The Eliminate Project website – We’ve received a number of questions recently regarding The Eliminate Project website.  As you may know, at the conclusion of the active fundraising phase of The Eliminate Project in December 2015, updated information pertaining to The Eliminate Project shifted to the Kiwanis Children’s Fund site.  We are planning a redesign of both sites in 2018 and will gradually begin using The Eliminate Project site again very soon.  We’ll keep you informed as we make changes.Urgent funding need (Guinea) – Guinea faces several major challenges to achieve MNT elimination. The routine immunization rate for pregnant women is only 60%, the country has low rates of skilled deliveries and has high rates of high-risk traditional practices that cause MNT transmission – such as the use of soiled objects or substances on newborn umbilical cord sections. To combat this, Guinea plans to conduct the first round of tetanus immunizations in all 38 high-risk health districts, reaching more than 3 million women.  Funds needed immediately: US$1.5 million.

Urgent funding need (Nigeria) – Nigeria has been making steady progress in the fight against MNT. The South-East Zone was validated in October 2017; the South-West Zone is conducting corrective activities following a pre-validation assessment in May 2017; and now the country is focusing its efforts on the South-South Zone. The country plans to reach more than 5 million women in the first quarter of 2018. Funds needed immediately: US$4.7 million.

Pledge payments – Please continue to encourage clubs to send in remaining pledge payments and additional gifts as soon as funds are available so that we can honor our commitment to help meet the urgent funding needs outlined above.  The support of Kiwanis International helps ensure that vaccination campaigns in the field stay on track. To date, we’ve received $77,122,799 in cash toward our goal of US$110 million. Eliminate branch of the Kiwanis Children’s Fund. Roger N. Jespersen
MO-ARK District Advocate for Eliminate
4019 Connor Drive
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701