As 2022 comes to a close, mothers2mothers (m2m) President & CEO Frank Beadle de Palomo shares some of the highlights of the year.
2022 was a year full of remarkable progress at mothers2mothers (m2m). Among other things, we embarked on an exciting new Strategic Plan, ensured the voices of our frontline team were heard on some of the biggest global stages, welcomed exciting new leadership to our Boards and Country Teams, and achieved remarkable growth and impact thanks to the tremendous hard work and dedication of our team.
While we are proud of our achievements, we also know that m2m is just getting started! 2022 drew even wider recognition of our proven peer-led model, which for more than 20 years has put women at the heart of the solution—by employing women living with HIV as Community Health Workers. Our new Strategic Plan lays the groundwork for our model to achieve even bigger scale and impact—doubling down to end HIV/AIDS while tackling related life-threatening health issues that pose major risks for people living with HIV—all with the aim of building a fairer, healthier future. We hope you will join us in celebrating 2022, and looking forward to what the years ahead will bring.
Here are our top 10 highlights of 2022:
1. New Strategic Direction: One of the big highlights of the year was the launch of our ambitious new five-year Strategic Plan which sees us continue to evolve into a Primary Health Care Organisation—a one-stop shop for our clients’ most critical health needs, helping even more people to access and stay in care. This Devex article explains why we will do this without losing what makes our impact so meaningful and long-lasting: the employment of African women living with HIV as Community Health Workers. Watch our new animated video to learn more.
2. Increased Scale and Remarkable Impact: Despite ongoing disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic, our Annual Programme Review showed increased scale and remarkable impact in 2021, including: meeting all of the UNAIDS 95-95-95 targets for ending HIV/AIDS, four years early; reaching 51% more adolescents (ages 10-19) than the year before; helping 99% of children enrolled in our Early Childhood Development program achieve their developmental milestones by their first birthday; and achieving virtual elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV amoung our enrolled clients for eight consecutive years.
3. UN Consultative Status: m2m was honoured to receive Special Consultative Status from the United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)—an important milestone in our efforts to achieve universal health coverage through paid, professionalised, skilled, and fully digitalised female Community Health Workers. With this status, we will contribute to official UN policy-making processes, and ensure the voices of our frontline team and the communities we serve are taken into account by world leaders.
4. m2m Sets the Agenda: m2m made a splash on some of the biggest global health stages in 2022. m2m frontline staff and Country Directors were out in full force at the 2022 International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2022) in Montréal, Canada, sharing our work and impact at our exhibition stall and various high-profile engagements—including a session we hosted with the generous support of Gilead Sciences Europe Ltd, and at the launch of the Global Alliance to End AIDS in Children. We also made our presence known during the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York in mid-September. m2m Spokeswoman Bupe Sinkala and senior staff spoke at a number of high-profile events, where they highlighted the power of people-centred models in ending HIV/AIDS and creating health for all by 2030.
5. Shaping Africa’s Digital Health Future: In recognition of our growing digital health footprint and expertise, m2m was invited to serve on the African Union Commission’s Digital Health Strategy Taskforce earlier this year, which aimed to strengthen health research, innovation, and technical capabilities to deliver the Africa Health Strategy 2016-2030. When finalised, the strategy is expected to be adopted by AU Member States.
6. Exciting Board News: We were delighted to announce two new Board Chairs in 2022: Jolly Mokorosi—a financial services professional and business owner—as Chair of the South Africa Board of Directors; and Afua Basoah—Head of Healthcare Strategy at RAPP—as Chair of the United Kingdom (U.K.) Board of Trustees. In addition, m2m Co-Founder Robin Smalley—who retired in March after 18 years of working tirelessly to serve women, children, and families—joined m2m’s U.S. Board.
7. Investing in African Leaders: m2m was delighted to welcome new country leads in 2022. These include Dr. Agnes Kobusingye, who joined us as Country Director of m2m Uganda. She is a medical doctor, specialising in the monitoring and evaluation of health systems, with over 18 years of experience serving mainly in senior management and leadership positions. In addition, Dr. Bridget Malewezi joined us as Country Director of m2m Malawi. She is a medical doctor and public health practitioner who came to us from Seed Global Health in Malawi and served in various roles at the Clinton Health Access Initiative.
8. Minutes for Mentor Mothers Rides Again: After being postponed in 2020 due to COVID-19, m2m’s flagship bi-annual cycling challenge returned in full force between October 22-26 in the Western Cape, South Africa. Participants had the opportunity to see our frontline work, including our Innovation Hub, in action and talk to Mentor Mothers and clients, and also cycle along the gorgeous False Bay coastline and through the hills of the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, learning more about our work while raising revenue to support us.
9. Our Inspiring Frontline Team: None of this would be possible without our frontline team. What makes Mentor Mothers so effective is that they have overcome their own challenges and now share their experiences and knowledge to ensure women and families in their communities access the care they need. One of these inspiring women is Bupe Sinkala, an m2m Spokeswoman and Mentor Mother in Zambia, who was recently featured in a major U.S. media outlet.
10. You: Last, but definitely not least, we celebrate the unwavering support of our new and long-standing donors and partners. We are incredibly grateful for your support and for joining us to create a fairer, healthier future for everyone, everywhere.