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Founded 2001
Founder Dr. Mitch Besser (Founder/ Medical Director), Gene Falk (Co-Founder, Former CEO), Robin Allinson Smalley (Co-Founder/ International Director), Frank Beadle de Palomo (Current CEO)
Type Operating public charity
(IRS exemption status): 501(c)(3)
Focus Prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV
  • Cape Town, South Africa
$15.6 million (2009)[1]

mothers2mothers is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV by providing education and support for pregnant women and new mothers living with HIV. mothers2mothers believes in the power of women to eliminate paediatric AIDS and create health and hope for themselves and their babies, families, and communities.

Founded in 2001, the organisation currently works in over 400 sites in 7 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and employs over a 1000 women living with HIV.[2]


mothers2mothers was founded by Dr. Mitchell Besser at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa in 2001.[3]

In January 2000 Besser moved to Cape Town, South Africa as a member of the University of Cape Town's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and as a consultant for the clinical roll-out of Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) services at Groote Schuur Hospital.[4]

While working at Groote Schuur, Besser realised that even when PMTCT medical treatment was available, it was often less than effective because of social, emotional and psychological barriers to success.[5] To help break through those barriers, Besser identified South Africa's HIV-positive mothers as a "valuable, under-utilized resource."[4] Besser enlisted new mothers living openly with HIV/AIDS who, as Mentor Mothers, began to connect with and educate their pregnant peers about the importance of PMTCT services, disclosing their status to loved ones, and living positive lives. The result of these efforts is mothers2mothers today.[3]

In recent years, as the programme has expanded internationally, the organisation has taken on the name mothers2mothers + [Country X], e.g. mothers2mothers South Africa and mothers2mothers Kenya. However, worldwide and in the press, the organisation as a whole is known as mothers2mothers.

Goals and the mothers2mothers Model[edit]

mothers2mothers' mission is to impact the health of mothers by putting them at the heart of improving reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health. Its Mentor Mother Model empowers mothers living with HIV, through education and employment, as role models to help other women access essential services and medical care. [1] Through this Mentor Mother Model, mothers2mothers works with governments, local partners, and communities to:

  • Prevent HIV infections in children
  • Reduce maternal and child mortality
  • Advance healthy development of newborns and children
  • Improve the health of women, their partners and families
  • Promote universal access to reproductive health and family planning
  • Reduce stigma and discrimination
  • Promote gender equality
  • Support livelihood development for families and communities


The mothers2mothers program currently operates in over 400 sites in the following countries:

mothers2mothers employs over 1000 women living with HIV.[2] Since 2001, mothers2mothers has enrolled over 1,000,000 HIV-positive pregnant women and new-mothers and logged nearly three million unique client interactions.

At least one source claims that in 2010, mothers2mothers enrolled approximately 300,000 unique HIV-positive pregnant women and new mothers into its program.[5] However, a recent investigation by GiveWell has led that organisation to question the way mothers2mothers counts its clients[6]

Awards and recognition[edit]


Foundation funding[edit]

mothers2mothers has received funding from the Skoll Foundation,[12] Mulago Foundation,[13] Jasmine Social Investments,[14] and other foundations.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ mothers2mothers 2009 Annual Report
  2. ^ a b " Where We Work". mothers2mothers. Retrieved 24 May 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Caelers, Di (26 June 2010). "Recognising a mother's love" (PDF). Weekend Argus. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Dr. Mitch Besser". About Us/ Our Team. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c d Loewenberg, Samuel (2 April 2011). "Profile: Mitch Besser--helping motherswith HIV become mentors". The Lancet. 377 (9772): 1145. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60452-2. Retrieved 16 May 2011. 
  6. ^ Karnofsky, Holden (7 March 2012). "More errors in widely-cited figures: the case of mothers2mothers". GiveWell. Archived from the original on 7 March 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2012. Its published figures suggest that it serves a huge number of women - specifically, that it accounts for around 20% of all women on PMTCT in sub-Saharan Africa. Yet when we performed a simple check on its figures, we saw major anomalies. ... After corresponding with mothers2mothers, we believe that the anomalies we’ve seen are chiefly explained by flaws in mothers2mothers’s data. 
  7. ^ "2005_2006 Annual Report" (PDF). mothers2mothers. Retrieved 23 May 2011. 
  8. ^ "Social Innovations South Africa- Impumelelo Innovation Awards". Impumelelo. Retrieved 23 May 2011. 
  9. ^ "mothers2mothers Case Study Please respect's ts&cs and copyright policy which allow you to: share links; copy content for personal use; & redistribute limited extracts - from the UN Global Compact and Dalberg report". Financial Times. 5 July 2007. Retrieved 23 May 2011.  External link in |title= (help)
  10. ^ "The President Participates in a Ceremony for 2008 Recipients of the Presidential Citizens Medal". The President Participates in a Ceremony for 2008 Recipients of the Presidential Citizens Medal. The White House. Retrieved 16 May 2011. 
  11. ^ "World Economic Forum Events 2009". Schwab Foundation. Retrieved 23 May 2011. 
  12. ^ Farhat Kassab, Sally (2012-07-19). "Skoll Foundation Advances Global Goal to Eliminate Pediatric AIDS with $2.5 Million Award to mothers2mothers". Skoll Foundation. Retrieved 2012-08-14. 
  13. ^ "mothers2mothers (portfolio page)". Mulago Foundation. Retrieved 2012-08-14. 
  14. ^ "Who We Fund (click mothers2mothers for more details)". Jasmine Social Investments. Retrieved 2012-08-14.