In the words of Anny T. Modi: “Young women want to be considered as actors and agents of change”
Date: Thursday, August 2, 2018
Anny Tengandide Modi is a 36-year-old single mother living in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In July 2017, she joined the African Women Leaders Network, launched by UN Women, the African Union Commission and the Permanent Mission of Germany. Modi serves as the Youth Advocate within the Network. She is also the Executive Director of Afia Mama (Women’s Health), an organization committed to the reproductive health and access to justice for women, as well leadership development, economic empowerment, legal assistance and social development for young women.
To escape the killings and war in Eastern DRC, my uncle managed to send me to South Africa as a refugee. I was fluent in English, and I started standing up for other refugees who would face discriminations when it came to dealing with local authorities to get their papers processed.
I was still in South Africa when another armed conflict broke out in DRC in 2009. Rape was being used as weapon of war. Along with other young women I started a campaign against rape. I was supported by the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa. That is when I first thought of myself as a young leader.
Young women lack information about their own rights. The discrimination against them [and the roles they are expected to play] is still anchored in our culture. The lack of enabling environments that support young women-led initiatives prevent them from rising.
Young women, everywhere, not just in major cities, need to be mentored and supported throughout their leadership development. They also need to be considered as peers who can bring innovative solutions.
Young women want to be considered as actors and agents of change and not just beneficiaries. We are not asking for help, we want to sit at the table with everyone else and participate fully in the development of this country.
The African Women Leaders Network is very important for young women in the DRC. It came at a time where there was no bridge between the two generations. As young women we were working in silos. The Network helps bringing young women on board to strengthen the women’s movement.
The DRC Chapter wants to improve the leadership of Congolese women in bringing transformative changes. Women, not only in Kinshasa, need to know the strength and benefits of belonging to this Network.”