Why Women’s Political Participation Matters in the Congo

June 28, 2018
03:00 pm - 04:30 pm

About the event

Despite participating enthusiastically in political and community life in the Democratic Republic of Congo, women hold few public decision-making positions. Many have withdrawn from seeking office or getting involved in public life, even though they are disproportionately affected by the civil wars and the resulting humanitarian crises that have plagued their country for more than 20 years. Women are under-represented or absent from national and international consultations in peacebuilding processes. During her presentation, Passy Mubalama shared her experience as a former journalist and current human rights activist in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. She examined how the current political crisis affects women’s rights in the DRC, and why the participation of women in politics and security is vital for the prospects of bringing peace and democracy to the country. Comments from NED Program Officer for Central and West Africa Rudy Massamba followed.


  • Passy Mubalama, Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow

With comments from:

  • Rudy Massamba, Program Officer for Central and West Africa, National Endowment for Democracy

Moderated by: 

  • Sally Blair, Senior Director of Fellowship Programs, National Endowment for Democracy


About the Speakers

Passy Mubalama is a pro-democracy and women’s rights activist with many years of experience in supporting democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She is founder and executive director of Action and Development Initiative for the Protection of Women and Children (AIDPROFEN), a nonprofit organization that promotes women’s rights in the eastern region of the DRC. In 2016, with funding from NED, she founded the Education Center on Democracy and Human Rights, which organizes trainings and arranges meetings between community and local party leaders in order to bolster women’s political engagement. For her notable work to strengthen women’s and youth participation in public affairs, she received an award from the Mandela Washington fellowship for Young African Leaders Initiative in 2014.

Rudy Howard Massamba is a program officer at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), where he oversees grants programs for several countries of Central and West Africa, including the Democratic Republic of Congo and Côte d’Ivoire. Before joining the NED, Mr. Massamba worked at the National Democratic Institute (NDI) on portfolios that also encompassed Central and West Africa. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from Binghamton University, and a M.S. in International Affairs from Florida State University.


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Image Credit: USAID in Africa/Flickr