Behind Our Voices

"Each young woman has a voice, and behind this voice, there is a story… if it’s heard at the right place, it could bring change.”

Learning leadership and technology at AZUR Développement

After reading that quote, there was no doubt the Global Fund for Women would support AZUR Développement’s national leadership workshops and feminist technology exchanges.

The exchanges ensure that young women activists in Congo-Brazzaville have the necessary skills to speak on pressing issues such as HIV/AIDS, gender-based violence and socio-economic development.

Since 2004, AZUR has shaped the national women’s movement through knowledge-sharing on human rights, advocacy and online activism. Program attendees created blogs, published articles in Congo’s largest daily newspaper, and hosted their own workshops on information and communication technologies (ICTs).

One young woman was so inspired by her AZUR experience that she left her job and started an organization promoting HIV/AIDS awareness among Congolese youth. Other graduates collaborated with AZUR to produce a radio program on gender-based violence, which inspired their listeners to send 100 text messages sharing their stories and asking questions.

AZUR often cites an adage: “A young woman who has information has the power to change her life and the lives of others.” This perspective informs everything they do in Central Africa, a region recovering from decades of war and political instability.

The rewards of AZUR’s success are numerous. They now have multiple international partners, including Urgent Action Fund Africa and Mama Cash. Executive Director Sylvie Niombo has published widely on ICT use in Congolese civil society and in 2009, became a member of the Global Fund’s Advisory Council.

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