Craig Elliott Hacche
Craig Hacche was born in California, served seven years in the United States Marine Corps and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from UCLA in 1987.
He currently works for Rockwell Automation, Inc.
As Craig Hacche traveled to Kenya with his wife, Dr. Makena Marangu, he was amazed by the beauty of the country and the grace of its people. And was troubled by their tremendous struggle against poverty and disease – especially Malaria.
Craig Hacche and his wife, Dr. Makena Marangu, chose not to stand idle. In 2006, they founded Answer Africa with one focus: to make malaria a thing of the past, “Committed To Making Malaria History”. They have been doing it one community at a time – in one year alone reducing the incidence of Malaria by almost 140,000 cases.
These efforts earned Craig recognition by his employer, Rockwell Automation, Inc., as their “Good Citizen of the Year” in 2009.
…and the History of Answer Africa
Best defense: mosquito nets
In 2006, Craig and his wife Dr. Makena Marangu coordinated two missions to Kenya to distribute life-saving medications, surgical and suture supplies, microscopes, wheelchairs and 3,000 mosquito nets.
“While people appreciated medicine, they were absolutely desperate for mosquito netting,” says Craig. “Mothers knew that the nets could spare their children and their families from malaria.”
Inspired, Craig and his wife, Dr. Makena, researched malaria to learn more about its devastating effects: namely that 3,000 children die of malaria each day in Africa – this is one child every 30 seconds and more than one million children every year.
Craig and his wife decided to focus on the mosquito nets and made several trips to Kenya to establish a sustainable and cost-effective net distribution program to the most remote areas. Their mission was focused in the Meru Central District of Kenya, four hours north of Nairobi.
In addition to delivering medications, wheelchairs, and supplies valued at over US $1Million, Answer Africa has delivered over 250,000 insecticide treated mosquito nets.
In 2008, the mosquito net distribution program devised and implemented by Answer Africa, Dr. Makena, and Craig had reduced the number of people infected with malaria in Kenya by 138,101, (2008 vs. 2007), according to statistics provided by the Kenyan Ministry of Health-Meru Central District.
Efforts span two continents
Craig’s efforts have spanned two continents, from Kenya to Southern California, where he mobilized his own community. He has organized local outreach to educate people about malaria and the effectiveness of insecticide treated mosquito nets, as well as fundraisers to help purchase these nets. He has given his colleagues and friends the opportunity to visit Kenya on humanitarian missions to see the problem and the solution firsthand.
Working with the Kenyan Ministry of Health-Meru Central District as well as community elders and leaders, Craig and his wife, Dr. Makena, established a net delivery and education process to insure that the nets are received and properly used.
To accomplish his goals, Craig traveled thousands of miles by plane, hundreds of miles of rough, dirt roads in extreme temperatures, overcame language barriers and faithfully slept beneath mosquito netting himself while working in Kenya to establish Answer Africa. In the beginning, Craig and Dr. Makena handled all of the shipping themselves, turning their garage into a staging area for the early shipments. With a ten hour time difference between California and Kenya, they answered phone calls and e-mails at all hours.
One village at a time
To support and sustain continued efforts, Craig implemented a fundraising campaign where 100 percent of every donated dollar went directly to the purchase and delivery of the nets. Craig and Dr. Makena personally covered all of Answer Africa’s operating expenses.
“Craig is proof that one person really can make a difference given a good idea, the energy behind it and the conviction to see it through”, says Laurel Schuman, commercial sales specialist and Craig’s nominator at Rockwell Automation. “His generosity has touched an entire community in Africa and the countless number of people in Southern California who, having learned that malaria can be prevented, have come forward to help.”