On Monday 9th September, mothers2mothers (m2m) held its Power of Partnerships event in one of London’s most iconic buildings, The Gherkin, bringing together over 150 long-standing and new friends of m2m drawn from the corporate world. The evening highlighted how, together, we can forge partnerships that will contribute to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic and achieving health for all—and how m2m’s Mentor Mother Model has a key role to play.
Introducing the evening, m2m President & CEO Frank Beadle de Palomo reminded guests of UNAIDS’ warning that progress towards ending HIV/AIDS is slowing down and that the global community is at risk of becoming complacent: “If we don’t act now, we will fail the next generation, the next workforce, the next leaders. And miss that once-in-a-generation opportunity to end an epidemic. This is why we need corporate partners to help raise our voices and drive our work forward.”
Attendees learned how m2m Mentor Mothers—women living with HIV employed by m2m as community health workers—play a critical bridging role between the community and primary health systems to help communities thrive, not just survive. By creating strong partnerships rooted in shared experiences with women and their families, they deliver life-saving health services and education at homes and health facilities.
But with at least half of the world’s people still lacking access to essential health services and with nearly 400 babies still contracting HIV every day in sub-Saharan Africa, the need for innovative and long-lasting partnerships to tackle these challenges is more urgent than ever.
Highlighting the strengths and value of m2m as a partner, Frank added that: “Partnerships are quite literally at the core of what we do – mothers to mothers. From the simple interaction of one woman forging a strong bond with another, we have created a ripple effect that is changing the healthcare landscape in sub-Saharan Africa. The world that Mentor Mothers are creating is one of hope, potential, progress, and impact. With the right partners, resources and commitment, we can end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which would rank as one of humanity’s greatest achievements.”
m2m has received invaluable support from partners, including from Martin Schwab, the Global Chair of m2m’s Corporate Advisory and Development Committee (CADC), who generously hosted the evening. The CADC brings together a dynamic group of likeminded individuals who operate in a corporate environment and who have a shared desire to support m2m.
Explaining the genesis of his support, Martin said: “The thing that really resonates with me and that’s resonated with me for the last 10 years since I became involved with mothers2mothers, is the empowerment that they bring to the women they are trying to help. For me the two things that are key are the peer-to-peer model, which is so powerful and so unique to this organisation, and the scalability and impact of m2m.”
CADC Member Lutz Jäde, Partner at Oliver Wyman, a leading global management consultancy, shared why he decided to get his company involved in supporting m2m: “I was introduced to mothers2mothers earlier this year and happily followed the invitation to join the CADC. Through that engagement, I was able to better understand how significant m2m’s impact is and the even bigger difference we can make together. My company is now working with m2m closely to do just that – a very exciting project for our consulting team for an extremely good cause!”
Closing the evening, m2m’s Global Development and Strategic Engagement Director Emma France emphasised how “our peer to peer model started with one conversation in one clinic in Cape Town in 2001. Imagine what starting a conversation with us could achieve – it could be as life changing as the ones that m2m Mentor Mothers have with their clients and could spark a great contribution to the movement to create health for all.”
If you are inspired by the work of m2m Mentor Mothers and would like to find out more about joining the CADC or how your company can get involved, we’d love to hear from you. We will also be holding a similar event in New York on 13th November and would be very happy to send across more information – just get in touch and email [email protected].