The Mother of All Roadshows — m2m’s Impact Roadshow

 Two continents, ten events, over 500 audience members, one goal.

mothers2mothers (m2m) recently wrapped up a whirlwind two-week which saw Spokeswoman Babalwa Mbono—an early client and Mentor Mother, who now trains new Mentor Mothers in South Africa—travel from Geneva to New York via London!

At the heart of the Roadshow was our recently released Impact Data from our 2017 Annual Evaluation. Joining a number of m2m’s senior staff on the road, Babalwa helped bring the impact data to life for supporters that ranged from foundations and individuals tocorporate and institutional partners. She shared her powerful testimony of testing HIV-positive during her second pregnancy, how m2m’s Mentor Mother model has supported her and women, children, and adolescents in her community to access treatment, stay healthy, and thrive, and how she builds on that experience today to train the next generation of Mentor Mothers.

m2m CEO Frank Beadle de Palomo, Spokeswoman Babalwa Mbono and Cartier Philanthropy Executive Director Pascale de la Frégonnière

m2m CEO Frank Beadle de Palomo, Spokeswoman Babalwa Mbono and Cartier Philanthropy Executive Director Pascale de la Frégonnière

 

First stop on the Roadshow was Geneva, Switzerland where we joined Cartier Philanthropy to celebrate their 5th anniversary. m2m was invited to be the guest of honour and showcase the lasting impact that community-led solutions such as the Mentor Mother model are having. Babalwa told the audience how she had refused to be defined by her HIV status, explaining that “without mothers2mothers and the support of organisations like Cartier Philanthropy, women like me could not have become the strong, independent, and resilient women we are today.” The celebration also featured a photo exhibition called “Resilience” with images of a health centre in Uganda where Cartier Philanthropy is supporting the roll out of m2m’s Mentor Mother programme.

m2m Founder Dr. Mitch Besser with Babalwa Mbono and a captivated audience at the Impact Drinks in London

m2m Founder Dr. Mitch Besser with Babalwa Mbono and a captivated audience at the Impact Drinks in London

Next, the team travelled to London. Among the highlights were our “Impact Drinks,” hosted by French international banking group BNP Paribas. There we took the packed room through our impact data and our strategic plans for the next three years. It was a thrill to have m2m Founder Dr. Mitch Besser—who was Babalwa’s doctor when she was first introduced to m2m in 2002—join us for the evening.

 
Babalwa Mbono talking all things mentoring at Push PR with the Step Up Club

Babalwa Mbono talking all things mentoring at Push PR with the Step Up Club

 

The London leg of the Roadshow wrapped up with a Coffee Morning at London-based PR agency Push PR. Babalwa joined the duo behind the Step Up Club, a community for modern women looking for career advice, and Push PR’s Emma Hart to discuss mentoring and the power of women lifting each other up. As Phanella Fine from the Step Up Club said, “there is something incredibly powerful about shared experiences and being able to relate to someone.” Babalwa found the perfect way to sum up the theme of the day: “Mentoring is about finding out how the person is feeling and telling them you are there for them. The Mentor Mother model is all about universalacceptance.” We couldn’t agree more!

Finally, the m2m team landed in New York City during the opening of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to participate in some of the high-profile events taking place around the city, many of which focused on global health and the achievement of the United Nation’s (UN) Global Goals.

Babalwa Mbono addressing the audience at the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) event

Babalwa Mbono addressing the audience at the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) event

 

Babalwa first spoke at an event hosted by the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) in support of its Free to Shine campaign to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Africa and ensure that every child has the opportunity to thrive. Babawla reminded the audience that even though tremendous progress has been made towards eliminating paediatric AIDS, more than 250 children still contract HIV each day in Eastern and Southern Africa. “If we all work together, wecan make sure the next generation thrives, not just survives. We can help raise the future—one woman, one baby, one family, on community at a time,” she concluded.

Spokeswoman Babalwa Mbono at the Global Citizen’s Movement Makers Summit in New York

Spokeswoman Babalwa Mbono at the Global Citizen’s Movement Makers Summit in New York

Babalwa wrapped up the Roadshow at a Global Citizen event, which is a movement of engaged citizens that are taking actions to solve the world’s biggest challenges. At m2m’s booth, we asked participants to spin the wheel and test their knowledge of the challenges facing sub-Saharan Africa to reach the UN’s Global Goals of ending the AIDS epidemic and ensuring good health and wellbeing for everyone, and achieving gender equality by 2030. Babalwa not only gave a first-hand perspective on these challenges, she talked to participants about how m2m is contributing to the achievement of the Global Goals and the impact that we are having on the ground across eight African countries. A huge thank you to our longtime supporter Johnson & Johnson for making our booth possible!

We are so grateful for all of the wonderful opportunities we had to share the impact of our work with many of our partners and supporters, while also welcoming so many new individuals into the m2m family.