mothers2mothers (m2m) is excited to launch She’s Got The Power to end 2020 on a hopeful and forward-looking note. Between now and 2nd of December, with high points around the International Day of the Girl on Sunday and World AIDS Day and Giving Tuesday in early December, m2m will be celebrating the power that the girls of today have to become the unstoppable women of tomorrow! Supporters will be able to double their impact with donations to m2m matched until 2nd of December, thanks to the backing of generous donors.
Every girl and young woman holds the key to her own future and should have the power to choose who she wants to be and how she wants to live her life. When girls learn and thrive, the whole of society reaps the benefits—$1 invested in adolescent health, can yield $10 in health, social, and economic return. She’s Got The Power will highlight the potential that girls and young women have to create healthier and brighter futures for themselves and their families when they have access to support and health education.
Since our creation in 2001, m2m has been doing just that—employing over 11,000 informed and powerful women living with HIV to become role models and leaders across ten countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Today, m2m is training and employing a new generation of inspirational young women who are providing lifesaving health education and services—m2m Peer Mentors, aged 20 to 24, who use their experiences overcoming challenges in their own lives and their deep understanding of their communities to create a support network for the girls they work with.
Don’t take our word for it! Here is what m2m client Betty Harunda, 19, from Uganda has to say about the support she received from her m2m Peer Mentor Mary Kagabo:
“Role models inspire you and they make you want to work very hard. My role model is Mary—what Mary told me will help me achieve my dreams and goals. She told me that I should be patient, hardworking, disciplined, respectful – key words so that I can have a better future. Before she and m2m came into my life, I felt stoppable because I was ignorant about various things, about my life, how important I am. But since they have come into my life, I am now unstoppable. I am now confident enough to stand on my own two legs.”
This model works because it is underpinned by two key guiding principles:
- Knowledge is Power: By providing youth-friendly health services and education on sexual and reproductive health and HIV, m2m Peer Mentors educate girls about their health options, building their independence and self-reliance as well as keeping them HIV-free.
- Seeing is Believing: By sharing the positive changes they have made in their own lives, Peer Mentors show girls the power they have to take control of their future.
This support is needed now more than ever.
Girls and young women are being left behind, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, due to deeply entrenched health, social, and economic inequalities. One in three girls are married before their 18th birthday each year, and nearly 1 in 5 adolescent girls become pregnant. They also bear a disproportionate burden of the HIV epidemic, which is a leading cause of death—5,500 young women, aged 15–24, contract HIV globally every week, the majority in sub-Saharan Africa.
COVID-19 has added fuel to the fire, threatening their hopes and dreams—from unprecedented disruptions to their education and peer support networks, to greater obstacles in accessing sexual and reproductive health services. Studies in sub-Saharan Africa show that girls who don’t finish high school are twice as likely to be infected with HIV.
As we rebuild our world following this pandemic, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a society that is truly inclusive and gender equal, in which girls and young women are the architects of their future. We want supporters to join m2m in creating a more equitable, healthy, and bright future—where this next generation of women can reach their full potential.
We hope you will join us on this exciting journey! Go to www.m2m.org/power to learn more and to find out how you can get involved, and be part of the movement on social media using #ShesGotThePower!