Sparking Change, and Delivering Health for All: m2m Spokeswoman in London shares her journey!
“Through our work we are empowering other women. Seeing other women having peace, gaining power through me is something I am very proud of,’’—Makeletso Khomonngoe, mothers2mothers (m2m) HIV Testing Services Mentor, Lesotho.
Makeletso Khomonngoe, visited London last month to share how her vital work, as a community health worker based in Lesotho, is sparking change, and ensuring no women or child is left behind. Makeletso’s trip to London encompassed both International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day in the U.K. two natural bright points in m2m’s calendar—and saw her speak at a number of impactful events to share her powerful message of health and hope.
Kicking-off her visit, Makeletso joined Marks & Spencer and Hello! Magazine for a live panel discussion “Everyone Can Spark Change”, hosted by Victoria McKenzie-Gould, Director of Corporate Affairs at Marks & Spencer, and featuring panellists including Emma France, Global Director of Development and Strategic Engagement at mothers2mothers; Rosie Nixon, Creative Brand Ambassador at Hello! Magazine; Katie Bickerstaffe, Co-CEO of M&S; and Hibo Wardere, an anti-FGM Activist and Educator.
Makeletso shared: “The fact that mothers2mothers employs women living with HIV—like me—means we serve people who are walking a similar journey to our own. This helps our clients trust us, and see themselves in us, and that there is no shame in living with HIV. That is how we spark change.”
You can watch this engaging event here.
Celebrating with a long-standing partner:
The International Women’s Day celebrations continued at Cartier U.K.’s flagship New Bond Street store, where mothers2mothers was invited to share our work as part of two engaging sessions introducing Cartier Philanthropy and the impact it drives to Cartier U.K clients and employees. Muriel Guigue, Head of Philanthropy at Cartier Philanthropy, first introduced how Cartier Philanthropy works and then invited Emma to share more about mothers2mothers. Emma spoke about the beautiful simplicity of the m2m Mentor Mother model, and the ripple effect that comes from one woman supporting another on their shared journey. Later, an “in conversation” between Emma and Makeletso showcased both the power of the women at the heart of mothers2mothers’ work and also the partnerships that make their life-saving work possible.
Partnering for Equity:
Continuing the International Women’s Day celebrations for another day, Makeletso joined Fiona Smith-Laittan, VP Global Health at GSK, and Cathy Ferrier, Head of ViiV Healthcare’s Positive Action for a panel discussion themed “Embracing Equity Through Partnership”. Both Fiona and Cathy highlighted the importance of health equity to GSK and ViiV, with Makeletso’s experience demonstrating what it takes to leave no one behind: “In Lesotho, it’s difficult for people to access health services. One health facility may be serving around 60 communities, which means a pregnant women could face travelling for four hours along a muddy road just to get to the facility.”
Makeletso adds: “Because we work at both health facility and community level, we save our clients from those dangerous journeys. And while we are in the community serving our main clients—pregnant or breastfeeding women—we can also include their other family members, ensuring that no one is left behind and everyone can access the health care services they need.”
This powerful conversation on the power of partnerships for a fairer more equitable future was streamed live to an audience of nearly 1000, and is available here.
Shop for Good this U.K. Mother’s Day:
Tuesday 14th March marked the launch of a week-long Kidswear Collective ‘Shop for Good’ pop up at Fenwick Bond Street in support of mothers2mothers. Clothes featured at the pop-up were donated by Kidswear Collective’s network of stylish high-profile parents, including Rachel Riley, Vogue Williams, and Daisy Lowe, and brands such as couture kidswear label Maison Ava.
To celebrate the launch, a brunch event was held at Fenwick’s Bond Street Kitchen where Enla Fees, Senior Lead Private Sector Partnerships at m2m, shared how delighted we are to be working with like-minded, family-centred partners like Kidswear Collective and Fenwick. Enla was joined by Makeletso, who inspired attendees with the story of how she met mothers2mothers and the ripple effect the partnership will support—women helping other women become leaders and change makers in their own right.
The ‘Shop for Good” pop-up is still available to shop online at https://www.kidswearcollective.com/collections/mothers2mothers.
mothers2mothers Day Afternoon Tea:
Finally, to mark Mother’s Day in the U.K., supporters and friends of m2m came together to celebrate all the special women and mother figures whose strength makes them remarkable forces of change for their families and communities, and for themselves—the M❤MStrong.
The special mothers2mothers’ Day Afternoon Tea included a panel where Makeletso, Tobi Asare, Author, and Jessica Lawes, co-founder of The Mum Club, all spoke passionately about the power of community, connection, and support. “Being there when women, and families need us most. That is what inspires me,” Makeletso shared. It was a special afternoon that marked the end of a whirlwind trip for Makeletso.
Makeletso’s message across all these events could not be clearer: when women lead, communities get what they need. Keep up to date with insights from the frontlines of our work, and future events like these by joining our newsletter!