Minutes for Mentor Mothers—the flagship mothers2mothers (m2m) cycling challenge, which takes place every two years—is back! After being postponed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year saw the event return in full force with participants from all around the world more determined than ever to make their minutes matter, and bring us one step closer to a healthier, more equitable future.
Minutes for Mentor Mothers touches down in the Western Cape!
The destination for the 2022 Minutes for Mentor Mothers cycle was the Western Cape, the founding home of mothers2mothers and the heart of our continued innovation. Taking place between 22nd of October to 26th of October with the support of Gilead Sciences, m2m supporters had the opportunity to immerse themselves in our work in South Africa. Supporters toured Ikhwezi Clinic and our Innovation Hub, shadowed Community Mentor Mothers on their visits to clients in the informal settlement, Nomzamo, and had open conversations with m2m Mentor Mothers and clients about how m2m has supported them to live healthier lives and stay in care.
The challenge was a resounding success, having already surpassed its fundraising target—with donations still coming in! The funds raised are invaluable to m2m’s frontline team—the almost 2,000 women living with HIV, who are employed by m2m as Community Health Workers—as they will help ensure that they can continue to deliver life-changing health care services to women and families in their communities across 10 sub-Saharan African countries.
The programme of activities—by day
The four days of cycling were a whirlwind adventure. By day, participants cycled along the gorgeous False Bay coastline, through the hills of the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, and to the frontlines of mothers2mothers’ work.
Two mornings also offered inspiring insights into how m2m is tackling the preventable health crisis that the African continent is facing. Participants visited the informal settlement of Nomzamo and the Ikhwezi clinic, which is the first m2m site to deliver fully integrated primary health care services targeting non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension and cervical cancer, as well as HIV prevention and care.
Phindile, m2m Client, powerfully shared, “When I was diagnosed with HIV, some of my cousins found out their status at the same time. None of them are here today. Without mothers2mothers, I could have passed away or I would been a different person.“
Others joined workshops, experiencing what it is like to become a Peer Mentor for adolescents, and taking part in a virtual visit in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa where m2m supports orphans and vulnerable children to access the health and social services they need to thrive.
Joining participants on this once-in-a-lifetime experience, m2m Programme Assistant Cissy Mirembe and m2m Project Manager Robert Muke from Uganda shared their own experiences and work in Jinja, in Eastern Region of Uganda.
The programme of activities—by night
During the evenings, participants were inspired with powerful testimonies of our work in sub-Saharan Africa—hearing from m2m Spokeswomen, including Colile Mashaba, Esther Mamba, and Millicent Magwa from South Africa, and Cissy Mirembe from Uganda.
m2m Community Mentor Mother Coordinator Millicent outlined how our female-centred model provides opportunities to reach the whole family, ensuring no one is left behind:
“When we visit a client in their home, it is not just that person whom we are there to see, but their entire family”.
Nomonde Tengwa, Innovation Hub Program Manager in the Western Cape, also spoke about how innovation has always been at the heart of the m2m model and shared how it is constantly evolving to reflect the needs of the communities we work with:
“When we consider improvement, we consider it both in terms of retention in care, but also in terms of self-management. Because one of the things we teach our clients is how to take care of themselves.”
A big thank you
What an incredible week it was! A big thank you to everyone who made Minutes for Mentor Mothers 2022 possible, especially Gilead Sciences. The critical funds raised this week are vital to enabling mothers2mothers Community Health Workers to continue to provide life-saving integrated primary care to the women, children, adolescents, and families who need it most.
Minutes for Mentor Mothers will be back in 2024—if you are interested in taking part please reach out to [email protected] to stay in the loop, or sign-up to our newsletter to find out how you can get involved in other future fundraising challenges!