Philanthropy takes place in many forms. From food pantry handouts to free community resources, charitable giving makes an immediate impact for various marginalized, vulnerable, or underserved communities. While assistance via donations and gifts is certainly valued, the application and delivery of philanthropic resources and the model for this of great importance and providing educational opportunity ushers in the potential to create systemic change, inspire long-term success, and reshape outcomes for various communities.

Mothers2Mothers is a global organization that aims to forward the professional and community roles for women in sub-Saharan Africa. By providing educational and vocational opportunities for women, the organization champions an independent livelihood, formidable income, spread of knowledge, and community evolution for participants. The immediate impacts of these growth opportunities change the lives of participating women. Tertiary impacts create systemic change that can benefit future generations, incite cultural evolution, and empower communities. Educational opportunities within the philanthropic sphere create systemic change and generate impact.

Instil Confidence

Providing individuals with the goods and services they need is undoubtedly a crucial philanthropic goal. Without certain immediate resources, populations face death, disease, and discomfort. Providing groups with educational tools, that can then be implemented in a worthwhile endeavour, instils confidence. By learning valuable skills, individuals feel that they have something to offer. They can feel confident about their future contributions to society, and their role in the local community. On a global scale, many marginalized groups of people are systematically oppressed, and not given the opportunity to rise above their circumstances. By teaching these people in-demand skills, philanthropic organizations can instil the confidence and means needed to pursue actionable change.

For Mothers2Mothers, female empowerment is at the core of operations. The organization utilizes the Mentor Mother Model, creating opportunities for women living with HIV to learn about healthcare, garner a viable wage through employment, and spread resources and knowledge to other community women. The Mentor Mothers are employed as Community Health Workers and provided with the needed vocational training, ongoing support, and continued assistance needed to thrive within their occupation. They work at designated healthcare facilities, and on a door-to-door basis to provide healthcare, resources, and education for women and families across nine sub-Saharan African nations.

Their impactful work relies on the confidence gained by Mentor Mothers. By empowering these women through gainful employment in the community, Mothers2Mothers lights the spark that will not only change the lives of Mentor Mothers but will positively impact the lives of all families served. On a longer-term basis, this increase in resources, education, and prosperity will foster other benefits. By keeping girls in school longer via minimized unplanned pregnancy and HIV infection rates, they will gain the confidence needed to pursue educational opportunities and broaden their scope of hope for the future. This will propel the call for gender equality, focus on health and wellbeing, and long-term economic growth.

Reshape Values and Motivations

Educational opportunities not only champion immediate change and opportunity, but they can also help to reshape the values and motivations of entire communities. By bringing hope and opportunity to previously marginalized and underrepresented people, education can motivate community evolution. By spreading information, resources, and growth opportunities within local communities, individuals can witness the direct effects of the dissemination of new practices, changes, and evolving thought processes. Seeing the positive change, growing opportunities, and successes will inspire the growth of a movement toward further evolution and success.

In the Mothers2Mothers community-based program, Mentor Mothers are trusted members of the local community. Living and working in the same community as their clients, Mentor Mothers understand the particular nuances, challenges, and conditions of their clients. Thus, they can leverage this knowledge to provide healthcare assets and knowledge. By building these relationships, Mentor Mothers inspire women to evolve their values and motivations and utilize resources to help themselves. Mentor Mothers help women to access services, adhere to treatment and opportunities, and stay on course toward goals. 

Inspire Long-Term Action

Instead of merely providing immediate assistance, philanthropic organizations can foster long-term action by championing the successes of participants. As individuals become emboldened by inaugural success, and positive changes in overall life experience, they will yearn for further growth, prosperity, meaningful employment, and community rallying. By providing ongoing support and training, education opportunities turned into vocational practice can become long-term actions. Through mentorship, training, and continued communication, proactive philanthropic organizations will inspire long-term action. 

The Mentor Mother program at Mothers2Mothers provides meaningful employment for women living with HIV while fostering ongoing community health, wellness, and family incentives. In 2018, over 1,500 meaningful and financially sound jobs were created for women living with HIV through Mothers2Mothers. This gave the often-marginalized group long-term access to work, steady income, and enhanced community status. Each year, since the group’s 2001 inception, the organization sees impressive growth in Mentor Mothers who wish to participate in the program. Additionally, Mothers2Mothers reports impressive annual growth in the numbers of local residents who receive resources, partake in long-term programming and treatment, and adhere to the organization’s standards. 

Foster Generational Change

For many communities plagued by systemic oppression, lack of resources, and limited opportunities, creating generational change serves as the best method for systemic change over time. By instilling hope and confidence in young people, organizations can inspire future generations of leaders. In a snowball effect, actionable changes created on a short-term basis through education will elicit positive results for ongoing generations. This formula equates to a greater long-term impact than other charitable methodologies.

As an integral incentive, Mothers2Mothers works to prevent the mother-to-child transmission of HIV. The success of this incentive greatly impacts future generations, as fewer children are born infected with HIV. Working with adolescents, who embody the largest rate of new HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa, Mothers2Mothers provides resources for this group. Undoubtedly, the services rendered by Mentor Mothers change the outcomes for adolescents and leverages education to provide opportunities for at-risk adolescents to thrive into adulthood. For babies and young children, Mentor Mothers provide educational resources for parents and families. This includes information about wellness, development, safety, and protection. This advocacy for young children shapes the concept of parenting within the current generation and provides wellness and opportunity for these children to become healthy, thriving, and educated members of an evolving society in the future. 

Define Successful Systemic Change

As of 2018, Mothers2Mothers has successfully employed over 11,000 women living with HIV. Through the work of these Mentor Mothers, over 11 million women and families have been impacted across sub-Saharan Africa. During that year alone, nearly 900,000 new members enrolled in programs offered by the philanthropic organization. These metrics serve to define the growing successes of the education-based organization and serve as proof that educational opportunities can foster systemic change. Throughout various charitable organizations and community groups, similar outcomes are propelling the call for championing education, and opportunity for self-sufficiency.

For individuals of all backgrounds looking to make a difference within their local communities, there are various mentorship opportunities available that will elicit systemic change. From empowering individuals seeking employment interviews help to champion self-sufficiency through proactive mental healthcare, there are many education-based opportunities to make an impact. Teaching a person to fish, literally or figuratively, is the most direct way to impact their immediate future, create long-term opportunities, and ensure that future generations know how to fish. In the world of philanthropy and charitable giving, knowledge, and education are the most valuable tools for systemic change.

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