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World Bicycle Relief Donates 100 Bicycles to Scale Up m2m Efforts in Malawi

On World Bicycle Day—3 June 2020—mothers2mothers (m2m) celebrates a new partnership.

m2m Mentor Mother visiting client by bicycle in the Mulanje District, Malawi.

mothers2mothers (m2m) is pleased to announce that World Bicycle Relief (WBR) donated 100 bicycles to our programme in Malawi through a new partnership. These bicycles will make it easier for m2m’s frontline staff— Mentor Mothers and Expert Clients—to reach vulnerable women and their families affected by HIV during these unprecedented times.

m2m’s success in Malawi has been driven by the regular home visits conducted by our frontline staff to monitor their clients’ health and wellbeing. The in-person interactions, which often require them to walk long distances, have proven effective in providing women and adolescent girls, in particular, with the emotional support they need to stay on treatment despite the many challenges they face.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many countries and organisations to review how their programmes are implemented. While many are relying on technology to deliver health and safety messages, this is sadly not possible in the most rural and remote parts of Malawi.

Here, the majority of communities served by Mentor Mothers and Expert Clients do not have access to mobile phone services. Due to restricted movement and shortened opening hours at the clinics under COVID-19, clients are not able to travel to their local health facilities to receive the care and medication they need to manage medical conditions. It is difficult for m2m’s frontline staff to reach all of these clients by foot, given the time it takes to walk those distances.

This is where WBR’s Bicycle Response Against COVID-19 Emergency (BRACE) comes in.

Mentor Mother in Malawi riding to a client visit.

m2m Malawi is using this lockdown period to restructure its Mentor Mother and Expert Client programme to comply with the new working environment determined by the Ministry of Health. This will include using the bicycles to trace clients who may have missed important follow-up appointments at their local facility.

“This donation from World Bicycle Relief could not have come at a better time for us,” Country Director Chileshe Chilangwa explains. “During this pandemic, the psychosocial counselling, and linkage and retention-in-care services, provided by our site staff were affected. Tracing clients through telephone calls proved unreliable at times as the majority of our clients do not own a mobile phone or live in rural areas with limited telecommunication infrastructure.”

“The bicycles will make it possible for our field staff to reach more clients each day. Since we will have to follow up with more clients in the community as movement restrictions are loosened by the government’s Ministry of Health, this initiative will also help us reduce Active Client Follow Up (ACFU) expenses, which are expected to be high,” Chileshe adds.

m2m Mentor Mother at home with her family; work bicycle in foreground.

Since its inception fifteen years ago, World Bicycle Relief has been committed to helping people conquer the challenge of distance, achieve independence, and thrive through the power of bicycles. The 100 bicycles will be distributed across six districts in Malawi, including Nchinji, Dedza, Ntcheu, Blantyre, Chiradzulu, and Thyolo.

While m2m Mentor Mothers remain steadfast in their mission of bringing health and hope to all, especially at this time when both are urgently needed, you can play a key part in ensuring m2m’s frontline staff can reach even more families while keeping themselves safe and healthy. Please support our COVID-19 emergency appeal so we can scale up our response and protect our team.

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