In 2020, the international community will mark several galvanizing moments in the gender equality movement: a five-year milestone towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security; and the 10th anniversary of UN Women’s establishment. Also, on March 8, we celebrated International Women’s Day, the theme of which was I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights.
For the occasion, we are sharing excerpts from the accounts of two generous women who are championing the cause on behalf of TSF.
Country director – Democratic Republic of the Congo
“Gender-based violence against women is of great concern to me, particularly within the context of armed conflict like in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. That’s why we decided to work on psychosocial support for women, going beyond traditional approaches by helping them achieve self-empowerment, so they can take their place in society. We need to recognize not only their rights, but also the important role they play in the development of local communities. Survivors also need to regain confidence; through conversations with them, we have found that they blame themselves for the violence they endured.”
“We set up a professional learning centre (PLC) in the hopes of helping women rebuild their self-esteem and giving them the means to thrive, not just survive. Our goal is to help them launch income-generating activities.
We also involve men in the process, especially young men, so they have the opportunity to work with women and understand their rights, sowing the seeds of more equal gender relations.”
“I believe African women are well aware of their rights and of the efforts being made to promote gender equality. However, communities still need guidance and consciousness-raising for these women to move from a passive to an active state and gain more control over their own lives.”
SEE VIDEO INTERVIEW (in French)
Country director for programming and development – Sahel 21 TSF’s subsidiary in Mali
“Women and children are not allowed much say in the region of Mali where TSF subsidiary Sahel 21 operates. However, our interventions have helped communities build a strategy that allows them to understand the important role women play in developing their villages, their neighbourhoods, their households, and even their own personal growth. I have seen real progress in our area of intervention. Women now have meetings with men and freely express themselves in public. They speak up, ask questions and engage in activities, like men do.”
“We are also creating spaces for exchanging ideas, training and knowledge sharing, where women can continue to find their voices. Doing so will help them become even more involved in village development. One or two men will always be there to see what’s going on, but such spaces are no longer prohibited. Once they fully understand what is said and done in these spaces, they can become spokesmen for women.”
“As well, we have a scholarship program for promising young women, so they can stay in school. Some are in university, while others are already working. These measures support the development of women everywhere in Mali, especially in rural areas.”
SEE VIDEO INTERVIEW (in French)