Last night, mothers2mothers (m2m) held a cultivation event generously hosted by global law firm, Allen & Overy. Familiar and new faces alike enjoyed networking atop the rooftop terrace overlooking the City of London. We were delighted to hear journalist and broadcaster Jon Snow in conversation with m2m European Director, Emma France.
The pair discussed poignant issues surrounding HIV/AIDS, how far we have come, and how much more work needs to be done. Jon opened by asking Emma, “But isn’t HIV done? Why are we still talking about it?” Emma responded, “Global HIV prevalence reached 36.7 million in 2015. In that period there were 670,000 new HIV infections among young people of reproductive age. We need to reach these young men and women and we need to ensure their babies are born free from HIV. We also need to reach the 7,500 adolescents infected every week in sub-Saharan Africa”
Talking together about m2m’s work eliminating the transmission of HIV from a mother to her baby, Jon said, “I share your optimism. It’s going to take time and it’s going to take money, but we can create a generation free from HIV.”
Jon began his career in the voluntary sector and spoke to Emma about her move in the opposite direction, from the corporate world into the charity sector. Asking her what she has taken from her experience at a global law firm, she replied, “how to never accept no as an answer,” much to the amusement of a room who knows Emma well enough to know that is very true. Emma spoke of how she applied the ability to move into emerging markets to chase every opportunity and look for opportunity in everything you do and see.
Speaking of the crossover between the corporate and third sector, discussion turned to m2m’s nomination for Deutsche Bank Charity of the Year 2018, which will be decided by staff votes. Jon told the evening’s guests, “Deutsche Bank funding is phenomenal. You can do something extremely imaginative and generous with a funder like Deutsche Bank.”
Moving into conversation around community and current affairs, Jon took questions from the audience. Having just come from hosting a live Channel 4 debate at the site of the Grenfell Tower fire, the discussion in the room fell to the fact that the community response had been so strong and cohesive. One audience member asked what was needed in these climatic times, whereby Jon spoke of the need for changemakers, community, and above all, optimism. This of course resonated with the very premise of m2m – changemakers who are mothers who can create generational health in every community. Special thanks to our champions at Allen & Overy, Paul Flanagan, and Kate Cavelle, and Deutsche Bank’s Rafael Gil-Alberti.