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Our Team

Boards

Chairs

Dr. Mitch Besser – Interim Chair, m2m U.S., Vice-Chair, m2m SA, Founder, m2m

An obstetrician and gynaecologist, Mitch’s career has been dedicated to the public health needs of women. In 1999, he joined the University of Cape Town, assisting with the development of services for HIV-positive pregnant women to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT). It was through that work he recognised a need for an education and psychosocial support programme that would help PMTCT services achieve the best medical and social outcomes, founding m2m in 2001. Among the many awards Mitch has received are the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and the Presidential Citizen’s Award.

Charneill Sickle – Chair, m2m SA

A qualified chartered accountant, Charneill spent 10 years at Deloitte, where she was the lead audit partner for the public and nonprofit sectors in the Western Cape and served a wide range of clients, including mothers2mothers. Now a strategic financial consultant, Charneill’s expertise lies in the understanding of good governance and oversight, and the role of strong financial controls in enhancing the performance of nonprofits. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting from the University of Cape Town.

Carl Stewart – Chair, m2m U.K.

A finance industry professional, Carl is currently the Global Head of Hedge Funds Coverage at HSBC in London. Previously, he served as Chief Operating Officer of the European Business of Och-Ziff Management Europe Limited, a U.S.-based asset management firm. He also held the senior leadership positions at K2 Advisors Limited and Zurich Capital Markets’ business in Europe and Asia. For the first 14 years of his career, Carl worked at JP Morgan in a variety of roles in investment banking and capital markets.

Laura Bartlett – Vice Chair, m2m U.S.

Laura is the retired CFO/COO of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the nonprofit trade association for the US Advertising industry. She joined the 4A’s in 2008 from the global advertising network FCB, where she served as CFO for the New York office and later CFO of FCB Worldwide. During her 14 year tenure, Laura was involved in international acquisitions and overseas operations. Earlier, she spent 14 years in financial management at Johnson & Johnson. Laura is also a board director for the nonprofit Gilda’s Club NYC that provides free, comprehensive cancer support. She earned a BS in Accounting from Drexel University and an MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson.

Carolina Manhusen Schwab – Vice Chair, m2m U.K.

Carolina is an economist with experience in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. She began her career at the Inter-American Development Bank, working on women’s development and microenterprise projects. She later joined Merrill Lynch Investment Banking where she was involved in Mergers & Acquisitions in the energy and power sectors. She also founded two businesses — a search firm and a social enterprise clothing line that employed vulnerable women in Argentina — and has volunteered with numerous organisations in Europe and South America. Of Swedish and Argentinian descent, Carolina speaks five languages and has two Masters degrees in Economics and in Development Studies.

Members

The Reverend Canon Chris Ahrends – Anglican Church of Southern Africa

Chris is the Canon Missioner of the Diocese of Saldanha Bay, one of the Anglican Dioceses of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. He also runs a small consulting practice, Four Consulting, and is a Director of The U2U Foundation, a registered nonprofit organisation which offers a range of transformative courses, workshops, and retreats. Formerly, he served as Executive Director of the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre in Cape Town, South Africa and, prior to that, he was Sub Dean at St. George’s Cathedral and Chaplain to Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Paul Boskind, Ph.D. – Owner and CEO, Deer Oaks Behavioral Health Organization

Paul is a psychologist, national LGBTQ activist, philanthropist, and Tony Award-winning Broadway producer. He founded Deer Oaks Behavioral Health Organization in 1992 as a sole-practitioner clinic. Today, the organisation is one of the largest employers of psychologists in the US, providing behavioral health services at nursing homes across the country, as well as Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services in the US and internationally. Paul serves on numerous organisations and boards, including the National Finance Committee of the Democratic National Committee, All Out international, the Victory Institute, the National Democratic Institute, and the Human Rights Campaign boards.

Leslie Brunner – President, MiniLuxe

Leslie is the Chief People Officer at Devoted Health, a new Medicare Advantage health plan that is redefining the way care is delivered, paid for and experienced. Prior to joining Devoted, Leslie served as the President of MiniLuxe, a company transforming nail care by integrating technology, data analytics and career pathing, while offering an elevated client experience. Before that Leslie was on the founding team of the healthcare technology company, athenahealth, serving in a variety of senior leadership roles. She obtained a BA from Colorado College and a Master’s Degree in Health Administration from Washington University.

Lynne Cornelissen – Medical Officer/Sub-Investigator, Stellenbosch University’s Family Clinical Research Unit

Lynne serves as a Medical Officer/Sub-Investigator at Stellenbosch University’s Family Clinical Research Unit (FAMCRU) based at Tygerberg Hospital, where she currently studies HIV and TB in pregnancy and cardiovascular prevention strategies in HIV. Prior to joining FAMCRU, Lynne spent five years at Khayelitsha District Hospital managing complex HIV and TB patients. A Cape Town native who is passionate about HIV medicine, Lynne received her medical degree from Stellenbosch University and a diploma in HIV management with distinction from the College of Medicine.

Claudio Descalzi – CEO, Eni

Claudio has spent his whole career in Eni, joining the company in 1981 as Oil & Gas field petroleum engineer. He held a number of senior management positions that spanned the globe before being appointed CEO in 2014. Claudio was the first European in the field of Oil & Gas to receive the “Charles F. Rand Memorial Gold Medal 2012” award by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and the American Institute of Mining Engineers. He is visiting Fellow of the University of Oxford, a member of the Global Board of Advisors of the Council on Foreign Relations and of the General Council and of the Advisory Board of Confindustria, and Director of Fondazione Teatro alla Scala.

Dr. Tim Evans – Medical Director

As Medical Director of a private medical and well-being clinic in London, Tim is guided by his belief that “prevention is the medicine of the millennium.” Early in his career, he established primary health clinics in rural areas of Zimbabwe recovering from civil war. After acquiring post graduate qualifications in general practice, anaesthetics, obstetrics, and gynaecology, he established a private general practice for women and children in London, followed by the first fully integrated practice incorporating conventional, complementary, and alternative healthcare. He was appointed as Apothecary to HM The Queen and The Royal Households of London in 2003.

Colin Freund – CEO, MODRA Pharmaceuticals

Colin has over 20 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, with a primary focus in oncology. Prior to joining MODRA Pharmaceuticals, which specialises in oral chemotherapy, Colin was CEO of QUE Oncology, Inc., a company focused on cancer-related therapies. Colin also held senior business and corporate development roles at Transgene SA, Agennix Inc., and GPC Biotech AG, all of which were involved with developing novel oncology therapeutics. Earlier in his career, Colin was a project manager at the Boston Consulting Group in the healthcare and high technology practice areas.

Colleen Hancock – Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, BabyCenter

Colleen Hancock is COO of BabyCenter and recently, also served as VP-Marketing Accelerator at Johnson & Johnson. BabyCenter, the #1 parenting digital destination is a data-driven technology company delivering solutions to new and expecting parents, reaching 50M parents monthly, 350M+ on social media, and 25M underserved globally. Colleen leads BabyCenter focusing on strategy, culture and profitable growth. She also leads social responsibility programs to improve maternal health through partnerships, founding MAMA, to create messaging programs on mobile devices to educate underserved women, winning J&J recognition as Fortune’s #9 Company Changing the World. In leading Marketing Accelerator, she grew DTC digital channels across the J&J consumer sector.

Derek Lubner – Philanthropist

Derek is the Marketing Director at Innovate Services Ltd, a school caterer operating in fifty schools and colleges in the U.K. He has deep roots in South Africa, having gone to school in Johannesburg and served as a partner of All Brand No Flakes, a marketing and branding company based in Cape Town. In addition to his longstanding commitment to m2m, he serves on the boards of the Community Chest and the South African National Youth Orchestra, and runs his parents’ foundation, MAID (Make an Immediate Difference).

Herschelle Milford – Organisational Development Consultant

Born and raised in a copper mining town in Namaqualand, South Africa, Herschelle is passionate about social justice and the power and strength of people to facilitate social change. She has experience of the challenges and strengths of partnerships and collaborations. After serving 18 years as the CEO of a non-profit, Surplus People Project, Herschelle stepped down in 2017 to explore new opportunities such as mentoring youth, accompanying community based organisations and platforms for sharing experience and knowledge. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree and a Higher Diploma in Education from the University of the Western Cape. She serves on several NGO boards and volunteers at a variety of institutions.

Louise Palmer – Board Advisor

Louise is an advisor to CEO’s, Boards, and executive teams on leadership, vision, organisation design, change, and transformation. In 2001, Louise founded 7days, specialists in organisational effectiveness, which she sold in 2010 after building a successful business. Prior to founding 7days, Louise was Head of Change at British Airways and Thomson Travel Group, a Senior Consultant at Coopers & Lybrand, and a member of the executive team at Mothercare Plc. She was a Senior Partner and Head of Consumer UK for KornFerry Consulting. As well as being an independent advisor to Boards, CEO’s and Execs, she is also CEO of her own clothing business, Velvet Architect.

Terry D. Peigh – Senior Vice President, Managing Director, Interpublic Group (IPG)

Terry serves as a senior corporate executive overseeing the relationship with some of the largest clients at IPG, a global leader in modern marketing solutions. Prior to joining IPG, Terry held senior leadership positions at global advertising networks Foote Cone and Belding (FCB) Worldwide and True North Communications. Employing his international and marketing background, Terry devotes some of his outside time to various NGOs working in international social development, including advising on how best to use modern-day marketing principles to advance the acceptance of health practices in the developing world.

Meena Ravella – Advisor & Consultant

Meena has over 20 years of experience in the consumer internet, and currently advises several Silicon Valley companies. Meena most recently was the Vice President of Business Development for Shutterfly, whose mission is to help the world share life’s joy by helping people share their memories.

Prior to Shutterfly, Meena headed up marketing partnerships for eBay, with a focus on the largest consumer websites, electronics manufacturers, and wireless carriers. Prior to eBay, Meena worked at NBC Internet, Boston Consulting Group and JP Morgan Chase.

Mojisola Rotibi - Consultant

Moji has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, including positions at Investec Bank Ltd., Commerzbank AG, and as the chief executive of Ascent Asset Managers. As Co-founder and Managing Partner at Biovest LLC, she brought a class III medical device to trial in South Africa for kidney transplants involving HIV. Moji believes that we all must strive to be humanitarians without prejudices since we are all equally vulnerable to the vagaries of life, including diseases.

Kate Schachern – Partner, Rabin Martin

Kate Schachern is Managing Director of Rabin Martin, a global health strategy firm based in New York, overseeing large-scale, global health and health access projects around the world. Kate works closely with the private and public sectors on effective strategy, programming, partnerships and communications in a number of key areas, including access to medicines, corporate responsibility, public affairs and policy, and stakeholder engagement. As Managing Director, she also leads firm business development, Finance, Operations, Marketing & Communications. She holds a BA in Journalism from the George Washington University.

Non-voting Members

Frank Beadle de Palomo – President and Chief Executive Officer

Frank has over 26 years experience in the global health community that includes significant achievements in HIV prevention, domestic and global care, research, and advocacy. Before joining m2m as CEO in 2012, Frank was Senior Vice President and Director of the Global Health, Population, and Nutrition Group at FHI 360. Previously, Frank was Senior Vice President and Director of the Academy for Educational Development (AED), where he re-established the organisation as a leader in global AIDS programmes. He also created and directed the National Council of La Raza ‘s Center for Health Promotion in the U.S.

Robin Allinson Smalley – Co-founder and Director, m2m U.S.

Robin enjoyed an award-winning career as a television producer/director/writer before realising that the legacy she wanted to leave had nothing to do with entertainment. Turning her attention to the nonprofit world, she became the Executive Director of The Media Project, working to incorporate healthy messages around sexuality and reproductive health into television. From there, she moved her family to South Africa, to become m2m’s first Executive Director. Now back in the U.S., she is responsible for U.S. fundraising, partnership development, advocacy, and global communications.

Officers of the Corporation

Chad D. Rathner – Secretary, m2m South Africa, Chief Operating Officer, m2m

Chad brings more than 18 years’ experience in the global health community and private sector. Before joining m2m as COO in 2014, Chad was the Deputy Country Director at FHI 360 Zambia as well as Chief of Party on USAID’s flagship HIV and AIDS Prevention programme in Zambia. In addition, from 2007-2010 Chad was the Academy for Educational Development (AED) Director of the Local Partners Capacity Building Program, a USAID funded Organization Development project. Chad’s new position with m2m utilises his expertise in developing solutions for a wide range of HIV and AIDS, family planning, maternal and child health, education, public/private partnership, and capacity building programmes.

Sarah Sheldon – Secretary, m2m US, Senior Grants and Compliance Manager, m2m

Sarah is a programme and grants management professional with over 13 years of experience in international health and development. Currently, she serves as the Senior Grants and Compliance Manager for m2m based in Cape Town. She is responsible for ensuring compliance with the requirements of m2m’s donor and funder agreements and building the capacity of project management teams around compliance. She also plays a major role in organisational policy development and managing the governance of m2m’s local branches. Sarah previously worked with FHI 360, including as Regional Grants and Contracts Officer for West Africa based in Accra, Ghana from 2015 to 2017.

Dan White – Interim Director of Finance and Administration

Dan has over 30 years of experience in accounting, financial management, and administrative operations for local, national, and international non-profit organisations. Before joining m2m as Interim Director of Finance and Administration in 2018, he was the Associate Director of Finance for 11 years in the Global Health, Population and Nutrition Group at FHI360. Previously, from 1987-2002, he was the Director of Finance at Whitman Walker Clinic, a local non-profit organisation that provided a wide range of HIV/AIDS health and social services across the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

Senior Management Team

Frank Beadle de Palomo – President and Chief Executive Officer

Frank has over 26 years experience in the global health community that includes significant achievements in HIV prevention, domestic and global care, research, and advocacy. Before joining m2m as CEO in 2012, Frank was Senior Vice President and Director of the Global Health, Population, and Nutrition Group at FHI 360. Previously, Frank was Senior Vice President and Director of the Academy for Educational Development (AED), where he re-established the organisation as a leader in global AIDS programmes. He also created and directed the National Council of La Raza ‘s Center for Health Promotion in the U.S.

Meet Frank

Chad D. Rathner – Secretary, m2m South Africa, Chief Operating Officer, m2m

Chad brings more than 18 years’ experience in the global health community and private sector. Before joining m2m as COO in 2014, Chad was the Deputy Country Director at FHI 360 Zambia as well as Chief of Party on USAID’s flagship HIV and AIDS Prevention programme in Zambia. In addition, from 2007-2010 Chad was the Academy for Educational Development (AED) Director of the Local Partners Capacity Building Program, a USAID funded Organization Development project. Chad’s new position with m2m utilises his expertise in developing solutions for a wide range of HIV and AIDS, family planning, maternal and child health, education, public/private partnership, and capacity building programmes.

Meet Chad

Delia Burnett, MPH – Acting North American Director

Delia spent her early career providing direct patient care to vulnerable populations in both the US and Ethiopia with Planned Parenthood, New York Legal Assistance Group, Worldwide Orphans Foundation, and Mount Sinai’s Human Rights Program. She has her Masters in Public Health from Mount Sinai School of Medicine with a focus in Global Health. In 2014, Delia shifted her focus to partnerships and development at Last Mile Health and most recently, UNICEF USA. Currently, Delia leads m2m’s North American resource mobilisation strategy, evolving strategic partnerships to drive philanthropy and elevate m2m’s profile in North America.

La Chenna Cromer – Director, Business Development

La Chenna brings 20 years of experience in public health and business development in the United States, African, and Asian development markets. She comes to m2m from FHI 360 where she served as the Associate Director for the East and Southern Africa portfolio. During her tenure at FHI 360, La Chenna brought in more than $900,000,000 from U.S. and EU governments, pharmaceutical corporations, and private foundations. Prior to FHI 360, she focused on health communication research to inform campaigns for underserved populations. La Chenna uses her passion for women’s rights, empowerment, and improved access to health care to expand m2m’s global footprint through restricted and unrestricted funding.

Emma France – Global Development and Strategic Engagement Director

Emma established the European office of m2m in 2011. In her current role, she leads m2m’s global development and strategic engagement strategy, and takes responsibility for shaping our public engagement and advocacy. She holds day-to-day responsibility for m2m’s European and North American operations.  Emma began her career as a project finance lawyer at Allen & Overy. She has served in various board roles in national and local charities, including as Vice-Chair of Amnesty International U.K. and as a trustee of the Amnesty International U.K. Charitable Trust.  She currently sits on the Advisory Board for Gucci’s Chime for Change and is a Trustee for CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably). She has also served as a Visiting Fellow at Cass Business School. 

Dillon Mann – Global Communications Director

Dillon is a communications professional with experience across the not-for-profit, technology, policy and professional services sectors. Prior to joining m2m, he was Communications & Campaigns Director at the World Wide Web Foundation, an organisation that ensures everyone, everywhere can get online and use the web to improve their lives. Leading a global communications team from Cape Town, he helped the organisation to triple in both size and impact. Prior to this, he served as a director at a leading U.K. communications consultancy, working with diverse clients ranging from government departments to law firms.  At m2m, Dillon is responsible for the development, integration, and implementation of m2m’s global communications strategy across three continents.

Gillian Mthandi – Human Resources Director

Gillian Mthandi is an HR generalist with 16 years of experience in human resource management. She spent 10 years of her career working as an HR Manager for various corporations in South Africa. Six years ago she made the decision to move into the nonprofit sector, joining m2m. Her first role within m2m was to give strategic HR support to the field operations in Southern Africa. She was later promoted to HR Director where she leads the global HR strategy for the organisation.

Meet Gillian

Dr. Kathrin Schmitz – Director, Programmes and Technical Support

A Medical Doctor with an MBA, Kathrin has extensive clinical, research, and technical expertise in programme design and implementation. Early in her career, she specialised in paediatric clinical practice and research, and oversaw the accreditation of informal Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres across South Africa. Since joining m2m in 2005, Kathrin has played a leading role in the organsation’s programmatic and geographical expansion. In her current role, she leads programme innovation aligned with organisational strategic objectives, and drives the conceptualisation and design, implementation and scale-up of m2m’s rapidly expanding portfolio of programmes, while overseeing technical quality.

Meet Kathrin

Dan White – Interim Director of Finance and Administration

Dan has over 30 years of experience in accounting, financial management, and administrative operations for local, national, and international non-profit organisations. Before joining m2m as Interim Director of Finance and Administration in 2018, he was the Associate Director of Finance for 11 years in the Global Health, Population and Nutrition Group at FHI360. Previously, from 1987-2002, he was the Director of Finance at Whitman Walker Clinic, a local non-profit organisation that provided a wide range of HIV/AIDS health and social services across the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

Country Leadership

Priscilla Banda – Country Director, Zambia

For the past three years, Priscilla has served as our Country Representative, focused on resource mobilisation for the Zambia programme and oversight of our USAID SAFE start up and implementation. In addition to her work with m2m, Priscilla brings a wealth of experience to this role – she has been working for U.S. Government-funded programmes for over 22 years in Zambia’s health sector. Before becoming a Country Representative for m2m Zambia, she served as Country Director for number of organisations, including the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation (EGPAF) and National Alliance for State and Territorial Aids Directors (NASTAD). We’re pleased to have Priscilla in her new role and providing direction to sustain and grow the Zambia program.

Chileshe Chilangwa – Country Director, Malawi

Chileshe has over 22 years of experience in managing public health and development programmes. Most recently as the Deputy Country Director for FHI 360 Zambia, she provided leadership and management to the portfolio of HIV/AIDS, water and sanitation, and nutrition projects, overseeing the programmatic, technical, finance, compliance, and human resources functions of the office and developing the country strategy with the Country Director. She also served as the Chief of Party for USAID’s $36 million flagship national prevention project, the Zambia-led Prevention Initiative. Prior to this, Chileshe founded and spent 14 years as the Executive Director for Hodi, a national organisation created to empower rural communities.

Frida Kabaso – Country Director, Lesotho

Frida has more than 15 years experience in HIV coordinated response and development work. Before joining m2m as Senior Technical Advisor, Frida was the Country Director for both ActionAid Lesotho and Voluntary Services Overseas. Earlier in her career, she was Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Programme Manager with VSO Zambia, where she was involved with the response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Southern Africa. As m2m Country Director, Frida leads the strengthening of community mobilisation and demand creation for uptake of PMTCT services. She also provides leadership on creating synergy between health facilities and communities in the HIV and AIDS coordinated response, and ensures collaboration with the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders and AIDS development partners.

Ilda Kuleba – Country Director, Mozambique

Ilda has over 10 years’ experience working in public health and joined m2m from PSI Mozambique where she served as Director of Programmes, implementing a family planning project spanning six provinces. Previously Ilda worked with PSI in Angola as a Chief of Party for an HIV key populations project. She also has experience working for USAID and in the private sector. Ilda holds a Bachelor’s degree from American University in Washington, D.C., and a Master’s degree from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. In her role as Country Director for m2m in Mozambique, Ilda is responsible for the implementation and strategic leadership of the programme in the country, while ensuring alignment and integration with Ministry of Health plans.

Dr. Betty Mirembe – Country Director, Uganda

Betty is a medical doctor with postgraduate training in public health. She has 15 years of medical field experience, 12 of which have been in the implementation of diverse programmes in Uganda, including HIV/AIDS care and treatment. Prior to joining m2m, Betty served as the eMTCT/Paediatric HIV Programme Manager at the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), where she provided technical assistance to Uganda’s national ministry of Health in the design and strategic implementation of PMTCT, early infant diagnosis (EID), paediatric HIV testing, care and treatment programmes as well as paediatric TB programmes, across all sites in the country. Before CHAI, Betty was a Technical Advisor for PMTCT at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundations (EGPAF), and a Coordinator of Studies and Programmes, respectively, implemented by the Makerere University-John Hopkins University Collaboration and the UN World Food Programme.

Charles Muruka – Programme Specialist, Kenya

Charles is a career public health specialist who joined m2m Kenya in September 2013. His first role at m2m was as the Kenya Mentor Mother Program (KMMP) Manager. In that role, Charles acted as the liaison between m2m and Kenya’s Ministry of Health on the integration of m2m’s Mentor Mother Model into the national health system. In his current position as Programme Specialist, his responsibilities include overseeing m2m Kenya’s operations and project implementation while acting as the focal person with partners, funders, and other stakeholders in the country. Prior to joining m2m Kenya, Charles worked with Save the Children International for its health and nutrition programme in Kenya.

Spokeswomen

Wilbroda Awour Akuro – Kenya

Wilbroda’s journey to m2m started with her HIV diagnosis in 2015. Convinced that her positive status would be a death sentence for her and her child, she considered having an abortion. Luckily, she soon met with an m2m Mentor Mother who helped her understand that her baby could be born negative, and with the right medication she could live a long and healthy life. The hardest part was disclosing her status to her family. They isolated her and her self-esteem was reduced to zero. But that changed when she was employed by m2m as a Community Mentor Mother. She used what she learned to educate her family about HIV—and they started treating her like a human being again.

Teddy Atim – Namayingo District, Uganda

Teddy learned she was living with HIV when she was 20 years old and expecting her first child. The devastating news strained her relationship with her husband, who tested HIV-negative. Fortunately, m2m Mentor Mothers at her clinic educated Teddy and her husband about staying healthy as a discordant couple and protecting their baby from infection. After seeing that it is possible to break the cycle of HIV infection, Teddy decided she wanted to become a Mentor Mother. She is happily married and now has three children who are all HIV-free. She is proud to be a driver of change in her community and earn a living so her family can have a bright future.

Ayanda Khoza – Soshanguve, South Africa

Ayanda was 18 years old when she became pregnant with her first child and tested positive for HIV. She was afraid to tell her grandmother, who had raised her after her parents died. That same day she was referred to the m2m Mentor Mothers at her health facility and began attending the weekly support groups. The Mentor Mothers told her that with treatment, she could stay healthy with HIV. They supported her to disclose her status to her grandmother, who revealed that her parents had both died of AIDS. Today, Ayanda uses her experiences of testing positive at a young age to educate and support adolescent girls and young women in her community about sexual and reproductive health as an m2m Peer Mentor.

Relebohile Leoatha – Lesotho

Relebohile became a wife and mother when she was only 15 years old. Like many women, she got her first HIV test when she went to the clinic for antenatal care—and found out she was positive. Her husband refused to be tested, but when he fell ill they discovered that he too was living with HIV. Though she returned to school, she soon contracted TB, furthering the stigma and isolation she felt. But a few months later, Relebohile met m2m and her life changed. Now a Mentor Mother running a site in Lesotho, she is confident in her status, and is able to give hope to other women and help empower them to get the healthcare they need.

Velna Malobola – Soshanguve, South Africa

Velna first met m2m in 2008, at age 18, when she became pregnant with her first child and tested HIV-positive. She was afraid to disclose to her family, and when they found out they discriminated against her. If it weren’t for the m2m Mentor Mothers at her clnic, she would have been completely alone. Mentor Mothers supported her to start treatment, and educated her about protecting her baby from infection and keeping herself healthy. She joined m2m in 2012 as a Peer Mentor because she wanted to educate other adolescent girls and young women in her community about HIV and sexual and reproductive health, and support them to make healthy choices.

Colile Mashaba – Mpumalanga, South Africa

Colile was diagnosed with HIV when she was just 19 years old and struggled to come to terms with her status. When she became pregnant a year later, she disclosed to her boyfriend who told her to terminate her pregnancy and left her to raise her child alone. Colile kept her HIV status secret from her family for fear they would reject her. When she heard in 2009 that m2m had opened in her Province of Mpumlanga, she was immediately attracted to its peer-to-peer approach and applied for a job as a Mentor Mother. m2m helped her finaly accept her status and disclose to her family. October 2019 marked 15 years since Colile discovered that she is living with HIV. She is happily married, and a proud mother to three busy, HIV-free sons.

Cissy Mirembe – Luuka District, Uganda

Cissy discovered she was living with HIV during her first pregnancy, 12 years ago. Devastated by the news, she became very sick and thin. The youngest of two wives in a polygamous marriage, Cissy’s husband could not accept her status and removed her name from all his deeds and insurance policies. When Cissy heard m2m was hiring mothers living with HIV as Mentor Mothers, she applied so she could help other women suffering from discrimination. Cissy excelled, and was promoted to Programme Assistant, training other Mentor Mothers on how to deliver m2m services. She is now healthy, financially independent, and the mother of two children who are both HIV-free.

Limpho Nteko – Marabeng, Berea, Lesotho

Limpho Nteko was just 21 years old when she discovered that she was HIV-positive. Pregnant with her first child, Limpho struggled to accept her condition. Adhering to treatment came with its own set of challenges and she unfortunately lost her baby when she was just three weeks old. In 2013, pregnant with her second child, Limpho met m2m at her local clinic. The Mentor Mothers supported her and encouraged to take her treatment regularly. A year later Limpho applied to be a Mentor Mother and has since built a successful career in the public health sector in Lesotho. She now manages 84 Mentor Mothers across 16 health facilities. She is also a proud mother to two young children, both of whom are HIV-free.

Patrons and Ambassadors

Annie Lennox, OBE – Singer-Songwriter, Human Rights Activist

“It is an absolute honour and privilege to be able to contribute to supporting mothers2mothers, whose outstanding work has transformed the lives of almost 1.5 million HIV-positive mothers across nine countries in sub-Saharan Africa to date. With their visionary and innovative Mentor Mother Model, the m2m methodology is a gold standard for the education and support of mothers living with HIV. While one in three pregnant women are HIV-positive in Southern Africa, m2m’s work continues to be absolutely essential.”

Meet Annie Lennox

Salma Hayek – Academy Award Nominated Actress, Producer, Director

“One of the things I found very impressive about mothers2mothers when talking to women who have gone through the mothers2mothers process is that at some point they all find themselves feeling almost like dust – like nothing – like dust that the wind can come, blow away and they can disappear; because their situation is so bad and they are so helpless – they can see no future and many of them thought about taking their lives. Then this sisterhood comes along and supports them, and these particles of dust become mountains. These girls that thought they had absolutely no worth can look themselves in the mirror and realise that they have not only changed the lives of many women but have saved thousands of children. Thousands of lives. And this is literal; I spoke to one Mentor Mother and we calculated that over 7000 HIV-negative kids have been born into this world because of her work alone, her work preventing the mother passing HIV to her baby.”

Meet Salma Hayek

Candice Swanepoel — South African Supermodel & Fashion Entrepreneur

“Motherhood and South Africa are two of my passions, so serving as an m2m Patron is a perfect fit for me. I am inspired by the incredible work done every day across eight nations by the HIV-positive women mothers2mothers employs as Mentor Mothers to end childhood AIDS and help women and their families to stay healthy and thrive. I fully understand just how daunting it can be to be pregnant for the first time. But I can’t even imagine what it must be like to have to deal with a life-changing diagnosis like HIV at the same time. Thankfully mothers2mothers and its sisterhood of Mentor Mothers are there to support women and families to get the lifesaving medical care they need.”

Meet Candice Swanepoel

Samantha Bond – Actress

“I am honoured to be a Patron for mothers2mothers and to join the 1,600 Mentor Mothers that are committed to creating a generation free from HIV. I have had the opportunity to spend time with several Mentor Mothers since supporting m2m, and have continuously been astounded by their strength and resilience. It is clear that they are a force to be reckoned with and are advocates for change not just within their own communities, but beyond.”

Meet Samantha Bond

Rochelle Humes – Television & Radio Host

“I am so honoured to join mothers2mothers as a Patron, having seen their invaluable work first-hand in Kenya in 2016. There, HIV-positive mothers told me about the anxious wait of finding out if their child was HIV-free but also about the hope and support they were given by m2m. Mentor Mothers, like the lovely Dorcus whom I met, have walked in their shoes and stand shoulder to shoulder with them by sharing knowledge and experience. As a mum of two little girls, my priority is that they grow into healthy teenagers. I’m excited to represent these inspiring women who help other mothers make this hope a reality.”

Meet Rochelle Humes

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