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Invest in Communities and we WILL end AIDS

Let Communities Lead. That is the theme of today’s World AIDS Day, and we can’t think of a sentiment we agree with more. For over 20 years, mothers2mothers’ (m2m) Mentor Mother Model (which sees local women living with HIV trained and employed as community health workers across ten African countries) has demonstrated the transformational results community leadership can deliver in the journey to end AIDS by 2030.

For instance*:

These results have been achieved through sustained support and investment in community-led approaches to unlock their true potential. For instance, we invest in our frontline team through salaries, training, equipment, and supportive supervision. We also take a people-centred approach to health care, and this has meant expanding our service range to include areas such as non-communicable diseases and malaria, which greatly impact the communities we serve, and have a disproportionate impact on people living with HIV. Meeting these additional health needs helps us to keep our clients in care—critical to ending AIDS.

As Malawi Country Director Dr. Bridget Malewezi says:

“We not only let communities lead, but we actively support them to do so because we know they are best placed to identify and overcome the health challenges they are facing in an integrated way. Community health workers—like m2m Mentor Mothers—hold the key to ending AIDS by 2030 and reducing preventable death. We applaud UNAIDS for making Let Communities Lead the theme of World AIDS Day, and we call on leaders to recognise the potential of community-led approaches and invest in them. We have just seven years left to end AIDS by 2030 and we know how to do it!”

And while m2m’s community-led model is showing the way, a lot of hard work lies ahead. Much of the progress made against the HIV pandemic over the last 40 years is thanks to the efforts of community-based organisations. And yet, many communities working to end AIDS around the world are too often unrecognised, under-resourced, and in some places even under attack. The latest UNAIDS report found that, globally, funding channeled through communities has fallen in the past 10 years from 31% to 20% in 2021.

So, join m2m as we aim to ensure community changemakers like m2m Mentor Mothers are recognised and supported in their fight against HIV/AIDS, in line with our 2022-2026 strategic plan, to create a healthier and better future for women, children, adolescents, and their families across sub-Saharan Africa.

*All data from m2m’s 2022 Annual Programme Review.

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