In recognition of International Women’s Day, the entire staff of women at Virunga National Park were invited to Tchegera island, off the north coast of Lake Kivu for a day of celebration and contemplation.
Arriving early on Monday, the party of women were draped in vibrant Tchenga print in a show of unity. The day commenced with the event moderator expounding on the vital role of women in Virunga. This was followed by a talk from renowned women’s rights and pro-democracy activist Passy Mubalama on her life and work.
Passy, is the founder and executive director of Development Actions and Initiatives for the Protection of Women and Children (AIDPROFEN), a non-profit organization that campaigns for women’s rights. Through AIDPROFEN, Passy and the organisation’s affiliates actively seek to prevent violence and discrimination against women while offering support to survivors of abuse and bringing about awareness of human rights and opportunities for women.
The proceeding address was delivered by Chantal, deputy director of Virunga National Park, who discussed the role of women in conservation and the benefits of eco-friendly briquette, a type of compressed cooking fuel which offers an alternative to unsustainable logging in and around Virunga.
After a day spent with some of DRC’s most inspirational women, attendees had the chance to ruminate over some of the new ideas presented during lunch.
The day concluded in true Congolese style with a DJ set of traditional and popular music playing late into the afternoon. For what better way is there of celebrating life and the mutual support of Congolese women than dancing in the sun on a beautiful volcanic island?