Community members are invited to attend a performance by local talent this weekend, while at the same time helping a greater cause.

The Nevada Kiwanis Club will be hosting a benefit concert for the ELIMINATE Project this Saturday, May 4, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Josephine Tope Community Auditorium. Making up the list of performers include the Nevada High School Chamber Choir, Ames Choral Society, Ames Children’s Choirs, Good Company, Rod Biensen, LeRoy Bergmann and Jen McClung, as well as other local talent. Admission is free, and donations toward the project will be accepted.

The ELIMINATE Project, which is a combination of efforts by Kiwanis International and UNICEF, has a goal of eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus in developing countries. According to the ELIMINATE Project’s website, "the effects of the disease are excruciating — tiny newborns suffer repeated, painful convulsions and extreme sensitivity to light and touch." Since 1999, nearly 100 million women in 50 countries around the world have received at least two doses of the vaccine used to prevent the disease. Twenty-nine countries no longer have the disease, thanks to the efforts of the two organizations. All this has been accomplished through outreach, education and immunization drives, according to the website.

Tom Wissler of the Nevada Kiwanis Club said mothers contract the disease due to poor living conditions, then pass it on to their unborn children.

"Mothers get it because a majority of them live in huts on dirt floors," Wissler said.

The disease may also be contracted by either the mother or child if hygienic birth practices are not used, according to the website.

This will be the first time the club has hosted an event to raise money for the ELIMINATE Project, which they will continue to raise funds for over the next three to five years, Wissler said. Club members feel it is important to contribute to this cause as a way of improving the quality of life for mothers and newborns in developing countries where the disease is prevalent.

"It’s doable and it’s possible to eradicate it," Wissler said of the club’s decision to participate in the project.

Funds raised at the concert, as well as pledges Nevada Kiwanis Club members will contribute to the cause, will be used to provide vaccinations for the mothers in developing countries where maternal and neonatal tetanus is present. According to the project website, $1.80 will cover the cost of a series of three doses of the tetanus vaccine, as well as education about the disease.

Those interested in contributing to the ELIMINATE Project may do so by addressing a check to: Kiwanis International Foundation, c/o Nevada Kiwanis, P.O. Box 4, Nevada, Iowa 50201.