Mamello Makhele Attends Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Japan

Mamello Makhele
Mamello Makhele

Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) is an international conference on the theme of African development. Since 1993, it has been led by the Japanese government and has been held jointly with the United Nations, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the World Bank and the African Union Commission (AUC).

Mamello Makhele is a midwife from Lesotho with 4 years of clinical experience in HIV. She is one of the “25×25” young leaders in the global women’s rights movement, SheDecides, and founder of ‘MobiHope’, the a health mobile application to address issues of HIV in Lesotho.

Mamello participated in TICAD7 side event on challenges of sexual reproductive health and rights in Lesotho. This was to foster collaboration with Japanese Government and organizations to augment strategies which we can adopt to increase ART adherence, and increase maternal well-being.

She was also able to pioneer a collaboration between SheDecides African region and Japanese organization for international cooperation in family planning.

Culture plays an integral part in Lesotho’s society. This has made the possibility of young girls engaging on the topics of family planning a very sensitive issue. It ultimately leads to the high statistics of teenage pregnancy and related complications, including maternal death.

Mamello believes we can reduce maternal mortality through a combination of ways by improving and intensifying adolescent health services in facility and outreach. We can remedy the myths by offering family planning counselling in connection with infertility, as well as counselling on all of the available treatment methods, and adopting a ONE stop approach which integrates HIV, TB and cancer screening services.

She takes a lead role by educating young girls on what their sexual reproductive health and rights are, debunking myths around family planning as well as providing a detailed mode of action and clear explanations of the potential side effects for each product, so they can make informed choices.

Mamello is keen to incorporate technology to tackle the issues surrounding HIV, she intends to do this through ‘MobiHope’ which aims to solve the burden of HIV, making sustainable health a reality. As a midwife she is also interested in Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights and teenage pregnancy.

What excites her as a SheDecides 25×25 is to be able to user her POWER to create an impact, to challenge the status quo as well as daring to go beyond cultural norms. To be one of the many forces who have dedicated their efforts to influence change by advancing the rights of women and girls.

SheDecides was launched at the start of 2017 as an urgent reaction to the Global Gag Rule. It has rapidly evolved from two words, to a one-day conference into a global, political movement driving change, fuelled by community action, and with young people at its heart. guided by the vision as articulated in the SheDecides Manifesto: A new normal where girls and women decide about their bodies, their lives, their futures. Without question. 

This includes having access to modern contraception, to sexual and relationship literacy and safe abortion. SheDecides unites everyone who believes that every girl and every woman should decide for herself about what she does with her body: to enjoy all sexual and reproductive rights, the right to pursue healthy, pleasurable sexual lives – free from judgement, stigma, coercion and harm.  

The 25×25 consist of 25 young people born in 1994 – the year of the International Conference on Population and Development – who are taking action and consulting with young people in their local communities throughout the year.

Together they bring a remarkable range of perspectives and talents, showing how much has been achieved, and how much more is needed to create that world where SheDecides. Without Question.

The evidence is clear: when She Decides about her body, the world is better, stronger and safer. Respecting her rights improves her health, life and future – and those of her family, community and society.