4M+: My Health, My Choice, My Child, My Life: perinatal peer mentoring project with women living with HIV in East Africa
October 2019: 4M Peer Mentor Training of Trainers Manual launched
We are thrilled to announce the e-launch of our 4M Mentor Mothers Training of Trainers Manual. This is the culmination of over 5 years of work, developing and delivering training materials created by, with and for women living with HIV, to support them as they go on their pregnancy journey.
Training workshops, on which the two-volume manual is based, have taken place across the UK, as well as in Kenya and Uganda.
International Women’s Day 8 March 2018
To mark the completion of the 4M+ Programme, kindly funded by MAC AIDS Fund, UNYPA, PIPE and Salamander Trust are really pleased to share with you our Advocacy Brief on International Women’s Day, 8 March 2018.
This Advocacy Brief describes the programme’s rationale, process, successes, challenges and our dreams for the future. You can access this brief by clicking here.
Project Background 2017
Salamander Trust is delighted that we were funded by the MAC AIDS Fund to deliver training workshops with our partners, Personal Initiative for Positive Empowerment (PIPE) in Kenya and UNYPA in Uganda, for women living with HIV who will become ‘Mentor Mothers’.
Women living with HIV have been trained and skilled up as ‘Mentor Mothers’ to support other women living with HIV, around them. Each training was delivered over 3 days.
The trained ‘Mentor Mothers’ are now able to support expectant mothers (and those planning to conceive) to feel that they are in the driving seat in relation to these 4 issues.
The project is led by a Steering Group, which includes healthcare clinicians and women living with HIV.
The aims are to train the participants in the following knowledge, so that they can each support an average of 5 other women living with HIV as they go through the pregnancy journey.
Participants gain an understanding and/or enhance their knowledge and skills around:
Preconception Planning: basics of HIV, preventing onward and vertical transmission; safer conception/what to consider if/when planning to conceive
Pregnancy: what happens during pregnancy; national guidelines/interventions to prevent onward transmission; how to apply these at a personal level/strategies around talking to significant others about HIV
Delivery: Available options and when which would be suitable/making informed choices around Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights
Aftercare: For both the woman and her baby/the importance of staying engaged in health and social care services before/during and after delivery.
Creative Writing/Peer support: To give participants a safe and creative space in which to explore, share and reflect upon their experiences of living with HIV; as well as to explore, enhance and reinforce their role as effective ‘Mentor Mothers’, through creative writing exercises.
Each training session lasts 3 days. The whole training is conducted in a highly interactive participatory way.
Now that the training is completed, UNYPA and PIPE will continue supporting and, where relevant, refer women living with HIV, in need of support, to the trained ‘Mentor Mothers’.
Nell is a writer, teacher and researcher based in Manchester. She has extensive experience facilitating story collection and participatory film-making workshops that focus on self-expression and imagination in the context of HIV. In 2017, she facilitated creative writing workshops for women living with HIV, who access health services in isolated areas of the UK, as part of the 4M Network Training of Trainers project.
In 2017, Nell also ran creative writing and book-making workshops in Kenya and Uganda, as part of an extended 4M programme known as 4M+. She is currently teaching and completing a research PhD at The University of Manchester, and co-runs the Arts Council England funded feminist reading series, No Matter.
I have many year’s experience of working in the HIV sector on initiatives ranging as an Advocate with Mcare a European Advocacy Network, Peer Mentor with Positive East and Mother Mentor with 4MNET, Active member of Catwalk For Power. I am a member UCKAB, International Aids Society, I am a mother of 2 young Adults, originally from Kenya, Now settled and living in UK.
I am very passionate about Advocating for the sexual health and reproductive rights of women living with HIV. I currently a mother Mentor with 4MNET Supporting mother’s through the Pregnancy journey and beyond.
We provide information, Emotional and Practical Peer Support to Pregnant women living with HIV. We offer Women a safe spaces to share experiences and also and Training to become mothers mentors themselves.
I am the Social Media coordinator working with a great 4MNet team and a convenor, working in multiple social media platforms supporting and helping communities reduce Isolation and support their wellbeing during Covid 19.During this Pandemic I have set up support systems using what’s Up Groups and Facebook ,this has helped women to reduce isolation and help improve our mental wellbeing.
I am originally from Malawi, Southern Africa; currently residing in Luton United Kingdom. I am a mother of twins born in 2009 and it was through the birth of my children that I was motivated to become a Mentor Mother. I wanted encourage other women living with HIV on how safe for them to give birth to HIV- children.
This was one of my best decisions I made in life it has been a life changing. I have met and learnt a lot from other women, who made me a public speaker, treatment advocate, peer mentor and was a member of the steering group for UK Cab, social media blogger and just recently bold enough to take up a more professional role as Social Media Correspondent for 4M Net on their National Lottery Creative Project.
Fungai is a passionate researcher in the HIV field with special interest in mental health (quality of life for people living with HIV), migration and educating adolescent girls in making informed choices about their sexuality and wellbeing.
Fungai studied at the renowned Institute of Development studies with her MA (poverty and development) dissertation focusing on the mental health of undocumented women living with HIV in the UK. Fungai currently works as an independent consultant focusing on policy, advocacy and project delivery.
Fungai is affiliated with national and international advisory boards. These include, board member at AMAZE, The Sussex Beacon, Beyond Stigma, SWIFT (Supporting Women with HIV Information Network) , a Community Representative for the collaborative HIV Paediatric Study (CHIPS and CHIPS +) and a member of the Organising Committee of the annual International Women and HIV Workshop.
Thubae is a lady who is currently studying for a dual Master of Science in Global Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science and University of Cape Town. She was trained as a human rights defender by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights in 2011 in a bid to fight for student rights.
Her focus is on Communication for Development and she has over 6 years’ experience in the field. She has worked with several organisations in Zimbabwe such as National Youth Development Trust (NYDT), Center for Sexual Health and HIV Research (CeSSHAR), Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD). Her roles included Information Officer, Program Officer, Research Assistant and Monitoring and evaluation Officer. She has contributed immensely to the media and development sector of her country. She is passionate about coming up with solutions for the disadvantaged communities who do not have as much opportunities as most people do.
Originally from Kenya, Angelina has over 24 years’ experience of working in the HIV sector on different initiatives ranging from providing one-to-one support to people living with HIV, treatment advocacy, managing service delivery to facilitating, promoting and advocating for the involvement of women living with HIV in forming and informing local and national strategy and policy.
She is passionate about the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of women living with HIV and enabling good quality of life for young people living with HIV and has supported them around various issues and coping strategies including HIV Treatment Literacy and general well-being around living with HIV. Her special area of interest is HIV and pregnancy. From 2010-2011 she led the planning, curriculum development and delivery of the pilot project ‘From Pregnancy to Baby and Beyond’ with Positively UK. This project featured in Salamander Trust’s “Rights, Camera, Action” participatory film training workshop. From 2012-2015, Angelina’s work with Positively UK developed it into a sustainable model of education, information, emotional and practical support, for women living with HIV through ante- to post-natal care. It then moved on to be called 4M in 2016 when the project expanded across the UK as a Salamander Trust Project. 4M has now become a separate organisation in its own right. Angelina is the lead author of our 4M Mentor Mother training manual to train other women living with HIV as Mentor Mothers.
Angelina also sits on various national and international advisory boards. These include as a patron of the National HIV Nurses Association , a lay member of the Women’s Network of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, a member of the Organizing Committee of the annual International Women and HIV Workshop, has been a Community representative for BHIVA , and is a Trustee of the National AIDS Trust and SAFE Kenya . She has co-authored various articles in peer-review journals and UNAIDS reports.
Longret Kwardem is a Co-director of the 4M Mentor Mothers Network CIC and a Salamander Trust Associate. She is a peer researcher, public speaker and active community advocate who belongs to several networks including Making Waves, UK Community Advisory Board (UK–CAB) and Supporting Women with HIV Forum and Information (SWIFT). She is passionate about the value of peer support, peer research and the meaningful involvement of People living with HIV. She has a special interest in the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of women and girls living with HIV and the sustainable funding of grassroots women-only spaces.
Rebecca is a mentor, speaker and trainer who has long standing experience of working within various areas of the HIV sector. Rebecca is a member of the UK Community Advisory Board which she represents at the British HIV Association Steering Group Committee. She has been actively involved in producing a Patient Accessible Version of the BHIVA standards. She is also an Associate at the Salamander Trust (4M Project), which aims to protect, promote and enhance the health and rights of people marginalised by societies worldwide as a result of their gender, HIV status or sexual and reproductive health issues and violence against women. Rebecca is passionate about these women’s issues and spends much of her time advocating and supporting other women through speaking engagements and delivering training workshops.
Rebecca has been living with HIV for the past 23 years. She holds a BSc in Psychology and an MBA in Healthcare.
I am a consultant physician and clinical researcher in HIV Medicine in East London at both Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and at Barts Health NHS Trust. I have helped establish services for women and families affected by HIV, with the aim of securing equitable, joined–up, person centred, collaborative approaches to HIV related care and prevention.
I am co-founder of the Europe-wide HIV Outcomes Initiative, which works to secure best long-term outcomes for people living with and affected by HIV. I chair the Board of Trustees, National AIDS Trust, and co-chair of London’s HIV Fast Track Cities Leadership Group. I am a past Chair of the British HIV Association.
I have been passionate about HIV since the very beginning of the pandemic as I had two childhood friends with haemophilia. Both brothers died, the first of a mysterious infection in 1981 when I was a medical student and the second of AIDS just a few years before HAART became available. I helped set up multidisciplinary teamworking, guidelines and ethical services in the busiest HIV antenatal service in the UK in the 1990s, always trying to keep services personalized and evidence based as treatments and outcomes changed so dramatically over the decades.
I am convinced that pregnant women must be treated respectfully and protected from stigma, shame and abuse. Their human rights are so easily overwhelmed, even by the most well-intentioned of doctors. It is only by working ‘with’ women as equals that we get the best results ‘for’ women and their children. Peer support and advocacy go a long way in redressing power imbalances and empowering women living with HIV.
Vicky Johnson is Director of the Centre for Remote and Sustainable Communities at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and is an Honorary Associate at IDS. She has over 20 years of experience leading international teams as a principal investigator, complemented by her entrepreneurship and multi-stakeholder engagement in the international non-governmental organisation (NGO) sector.
Research interests include understanding how marginalised people can be supported as agents of change in rapidly changing environmental, political and cultural contexts. Recent research includes: Youth Uncertainty Rights (YOUR) World Research with marginalised youth in Ethiopia and Nepal (Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)- FCDO’s Poverty Alleviation Fund). Vicky’s most recent book with Andy West is: Children’s Participation in Global Contexts: Going Beyond Voice (2018, Routledge).
Fiona is passionate about the work women and girls are doing everywhere in their communities and supporting others around them. For her, this is the motivational stuff of life – yet this work is often done without recognition, support, funding or payment. While she is not living with HIV herself, she thinks women living with HIV have done amazing feminist work to deepen the global understanding of intersectional and gendered inequalities, and is proud to be involved in the HIV response as a collaborator and supporter.
She works as an independent consultant and Salamander Trust Associate, focusing on gender, HIV, violence against women and girls, and sexual and reproductive health and rights. She’s a member of the Making Wavescollective, part of the 4M advisory steering committee, and a Trustee of Nomad (a community of young people and collaborators who come from all walks of life including migrants and people who have experience of being a refugee or asylum seeker, based in Harrow, London), and LIVErNORTH (a national liver patient support group).
Shema is a Clinical Research Fellow at UCL’s Institute for Global Health, and Honorary Consultant HIV Physician at Mortimer Market Centre. Her research focuses on women living with HIV, and she has specific expertise in HIV and pregnancy, and patient and public involvement in research.
She is Chair of the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV’s Lay Public Research Panel, and Trustee of Positively UK and Tommy’s Baby Charity. She was Vice-Chair of the British HIV Association’s Pregnancy and HIV Guidelines Committee from 2018-2020.
Pat is a non-clinical epidemiologist with a focus on women and children’s health. She spent over 30 years in teaching and research, working mainly on infections in pregnancy and childhood (including HIV, syphilis, rubella, neonatal herpes and cytomegalovirus), antenatal screening and immunisation.
She was responsible for the National Study of HIV in Pregnancy and Childhood (https://www.ucl.ac.uk/nshpc/) at UCL’s Institute of Child Health until her retirement from full time work at the end of 2015. She contributed to the development of antenatal infection screening programmes, and the BHIVA Guidelines on HIV and Pregnancy, and has an extensive list of publications.
I was diagnosed with HIV in 1992 when I was expecting a baby. Sadly, that was before the days of anti-retroviral medication and I was advised not to go ahead with the pregnancy. I was lucky to have excellent supportive care throughout this trauma, but many women still, despite the huge advances in science, which can enable them to have HIV-free babies, still experience enormous psychosocial challenges along their perinatal journeys.
This is why this programme, which provides such excellent peer-led care, respect and support is especially close to my heart. It is what every woman going through pregnancy deserves, if she wants it. I am a writer, researcher, trainer, anthropologist and activist, mother, partner and citizen of the world.
Dr Wright is a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at the Royal Free hospital in London, where she is the clinical lead for infectious diseases and HIV in pregnancy.
She is the immediate past Vice-President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and is currently a National Specialty Advisor for Obstetrics to NHS England and NHS Improvement and a clinical member of the GMC council.
Dr Wright’s clinical interests include childbirth trauma, urogynaecology, infections in pregnancy, maternal medicine and intrapartum care.
She has a long history of supporting mentor mothers to support women living with HIV, via Positively UK, 4M and Salamander Trust.
Dr Wright is the UK representative for FIGO Safe Motherhood and Newborn Health committee and has advised the WHO on various guidelines.
She is part of the BHIVA guideline writing group and co-authored the BHIVA guidelines for the management of HIV in pregnancy and postpartum.