2021 was—undeniably—a tough year. Battling not one, but two pandemics—COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS—m2m prioritised keeping both our clients and frontline staff safe and healthy while also growing our programme in both scale and scope. In the toughest times, we see the best come out in people and that’s exactly what we saw last year.
As we step into 2022, we are reflecting on 20 highlights from 2021. It was no easy feat to keep this list to 20! Here they are (in chronological order):
Here are m2m’s 20 highlights from 2021:
#1: m2m celebrated our 20th anniversary—in 2021, m2m marked 20 years since the organisation was founded. A special data deep dive revealed that— over the past two decades— m2m has reached over 13.5 million people with life-changing health services, created more than 11,500 jobs, and delivered remarkable health impacts—including helping keep over two million women and children alive. To learn more, read m2m’s president and CEO’s reflections or take a look at our commemorative asset: Seeing is Believing.
#2: m2m was selected to present a session at SXSW—mothers2mothers (m2m) was honoured to be selected to host a session at South by Southwest (SXSW)—the international festival and conference that took place virtually in March 2021. Our session explored how legacies of racism, gender inequality, and colonisation have manifested themselves in global health systems and how we can rewrite the narrative. Watch the session here.
#3: m2m featured on the “Night of TV” on Red Nose Day UK—we were thrilled to be selected to share the personal story of a Mentor Mother during the “Night of TV”, a four-hour live programmed aired on BBC 1 and culminating in one of the biggest days of philanthropy in the U.K.—Red Nose Day. Hosted every two years by U.K. grant-making charity and long-time supporter of mothers2mothers (m2m), Comic Relief, this much-anticipated event raises substantial funds and awareness for charities in the U.K. and around the world. This year, m2m was selected to share the story of one of the 1,800 incredible women we employ as Mentor Mothers across sub-Saharan Africa. You can read more about the inspiring story we shared here.
#4: Longtime partner Gucci celebrated Mother’s Day in the U.S. with a special LA event—Gucci and CHIME FOR CHANGE celebrated their longstanding support for m2m with an exclusive event for m2m supporters on Mother’s Day at the Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura in Los Angeles. Gucci generously donated a percentage of sales made in store from the 5th to 9th of May 2021 to m2m. Read more on Gucci’s celebration of our longstanding partnership here.
#5: Tanzania makes it Ten—With our re-entry into Tanzania, m2m now operates and delivers direct services in ten sub-Saharan African countries. Thanks to the support from the United States President’s Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), administered by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the RISE II mechanism, m2m recruited, trained and deployed 35 Tanzanian women living with HIV as frontline health workers to ten sites in the Morogoro region in Tanzania in 2021. Read more on m2m’s expansion into direct services in Tanzania here.
#6: Transformative gift goes a long way—m2m received a significant donation from MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett, which is being put to work to scale and enhance our life-changing work. This generous donation will go a long way towards ensuring healthy thriving families and putting an end to paediatric AIDS. Read more here.
#7: Sweet Sixteen—In 2021, we marked 16 years of support to m2m from the U.S. Government, thanks to funding from the U.S. President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), through United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Their ongoing support of our peer-based model plays a vital role in building health and greater independence for the women, children, adolescents, and families we serve. Read more about the m2m’s PEPFAR partnership here.
#8: m2m shared programme learnings at IAS 2021.Every two years, an international community dedicated to tackling the HIV/AIDS pandemic gathers to review the latest science and innovations at an event convened by the International AIDS Society (IAS). In 2021, m2m was honoured to be selected to present a series of posters at the International AIDS Society’s (IAS) 11th Conference on HIV Science that showcased our programme innovations in recent years, including eServices, high-intensity health education for adolescent girls and young women, and promising pilot programmes to tackle HIV and Non-Communicable Diseases in an integrated way. Learn more about m2m’s shared programme learnings here.
#9: Internally displaced families get support from m2m—m2m has deployed a team of 50 frontline staff to Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado region in response to the growing humanitarian crisis that has seen 700,000 people forced to leave their homes. This initiative is supported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and UNICEF. Read more about how m2m supported internally displaced families here.
#10: Instagram followers increased to 30,000—this might seem like a small achievement, but it means the world to us to have so many supporters on Instagram who regularly love our posts and show support for our work. This source of loyal support and engagement from the global community on a daily basis is also a source of inspiration for m2m Mentor Mothers and other employees. As we share compelling case studies, stories from the frontlines, latest events and news, and engaging ways for supporters to engage with m2m, we are increasingly grateful for all the love and support. Click here to take a look at our Instagram feed.
#11: New Board Members joined m2m—In 2021, we were delighted to welcome quite a few new Board Members/Trustees who bring a wide range of new and/or deeper experiences and expertise to m2m. These remarkable and dedicated individuals are now serving on the Boards of Directors/Trustees of mothers2mothers South Africa (m2mSA), mothers2mothers (U.K.) Limited (m2mUK), and mothers2mothers United States (m2mUS), and are helping to steer m2m through the unprecedented times we find ourselves in. Read more about the newest board members here.
#12: m2m wins 2021 Classy Award for Social Innovation—Of the 1,400 nonprofits and social enterprises that participated this year, m2m was selected as one of the 10 most innovative nonprofits, recognised for our powerful peer mentor model that is contributing to the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and bringing health and hope to women, families, and communities across sub-Saharan Africa. You can read more about the award here.
#13: Making Minutes Matter for Mentor Mothers—From 10th to 30th September, m2m ran a unique virtual time-based challenge with participants from around the globe who donated their minutes to m2m to help raise funds. During the challenge, supporters took the opportunity to support the vital work of the 1,800 m2m Mentor Mothers who are employed as frontline health workers across sub-Saharan Africa, while doing the things they love—including cycling, rowing, practicing yoga, running, meditating, and—in the case of m2m Ambassador, Christian Brassington—even learning a new language. Watch Christian’s final result in his journey to begin to learn Swahili here—it’s hilarious, but also really beautiful!
#14: She’s Got the Power to transform a generation—m2m Mentor Mothers have been breaking barriers for the past 20 years, and for our 20th anniversary, we celebrated the incredible female health workers that make up the heart and soul of the organisation. Because She’s Got the Power to break barriers and transform a generation: every single m2m Mentor Mother is part of a new generation of African female leaders and that’s why, from the 28th of September to the 15th of October 2021, we highlighted the power they have shown to shatter norms and create a ripple effect of health and change in their communities. To read more about this campaign, click here.
#15: Integrating the digital and the personal for Universal Health Coverage—On 10 November 2021, m2m convened an online event to discuss how best to harness the power and potential of digital health in guaranteeing health for all. With more than 300 registrants across four continents, and over 20 diverse and insightful expert speakers, the event brought together frontline health workers, government officials, United Nations agency representatives, academics, researchers, and implementing organisations from around the world…all united by a shared goal to deliver Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2030. If you missed the event, you can watch all the videos here: Integrating the Digital and the Personal for Universal Health Coverage
#16: 2021 commemorations for World AIDS Day—As we marked 40 years since the first cases of HIV/AIDS were identified, we were reminded once again that pandemics know no boundaries: no-one is safe until we are all safe. At m2m, we know that health for all is possible when we invest in women, and put communities at the centre of the solution. As we aim to build back better from COVID-19 in 2022, we used World AIDS Day to urge the global community to invest in women and community-led solutions for the journey to ending AIDS, protecting ourselves from future pandemics, and achieving health for all by 2030. Click here to read more about World AIDS Day 2021.
#17: 20th Anniversary Winter Gala shines a light on Mentor Mothers—m2m hosted our 20th anniversary gala on the 1st of December, to shine a light on and raise funds for our vital work, bringing together new and long-time m2m supporters to celebrate 20 years of transformational impact and the power of female health workers. Presented by Gucci and CHIME FOR CHANGE, and hosted by the ADOT foundation, guests were guided through the night by newly announced m2m Ambassador Sabrina Elba, with special performances from m2m Patron Annie Lennox OBE and her daughter Lola, Paloma Faith, and the Kingdom Choir. Click here to read more about the event, or scroll down to see a few photos from the event to look back on—we couldn’t be prouder to have been able to exhibit m2m’s work at the Outernet in London.
#18: COVID-friendly Carols by Candlelight—By popular demand—and with local COVID-19 guidelines allowing—our beloved festive event was back and on Thursday 9th December 2021, mothers2mothers (m2m) hosted the fourth edition of our annual Carols by Candlelight concert, in the beautiful setting of St Paul’s Knightsbridge, in London. This year, we were delighted to be able to share the evening with those tuning-in from all over the globe thanks to a livestream on our YouTube. Read more about the event here.
#19: BBC Radio 4 shares m2m appeal—m2m was selected to present an appeal on the prestigious BBC Radio 4 appeal, a weekly 3-minute programme in which a charity appeals for donations to support its work. m2m’s appeal ran from 19th to 25th December 2021, and we took the opportunity to ensure that our very own Nozi Samela, a former client and Mentor Mother, presented the appeal. You can listen to the BBC Radio 4 Appeal here.
#20: Healthy women, healthy families, healthy world— m2m ended the year on a high note with our year-end giving campaign—by reinforcing the message that health is a fundamental human right and that everyone should have access to the health services they need, when and where they need them, no matter where they live. This need could not be more vital for sub-Saharan Africa, a region with stark health disparities. During the 2021 holiday season, m2m was able to offer supporters the chance to triple their impact since all gifts would be matched 3:1 by a generous supporter.
This is just a small taste of our work in 2021 – together, we are advancing health equity and creating a healthier world. Join us this year for an even more exciting line-up for 2022 – please don’t forget to subscribe to our mailing list by clicking here!