Salome Ntububa reflects on her week as The Mary Robinson Centre's Visiting Scholar
Salomé Ntububa is Regional Emergency Manager for Central and West Africa, Christian Aid in the DRC. From South Kivu, Salomé has worked as a humanitarian practitioner for over 17 years, in East and West African countries. Currently, Salomé Ntububa leads Christian Aid’s humanitarian responses in West and Central Africa, including monitoring the political and security situation to anticipate future interventions.
Salomé joined us as The Mary Robinson Centre's Visiting Scholar from the 16th-21st of October 2016. Here she reflects on her experience in her own words.
I would like to say thanks a million to The Mary Robinson Centre and all of you who are engaging in the programmes it promotes. Last week (16 to 21 October 2016), spent in both Galway and Mayo, was very empowering for me personally and has helped develop my humanitarian and advocacy work on Women Protection.
Talking to students and researchers at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, Gender ARC and the Centre for Global Women’s Studies at NUI Galway was a great experience which formed a bridge between my field practices on Gender-Human Rights and the academic experience. Together we share a comprehensive perspective to tackle violence and challenge injustice anywhere it is happening, such as in DR Congo.
On Wednesday night, the film screening of War in Eastern Congo at the Ballina Library, Co Mayo, supported our communication and raised awareness about what is happening in DRC, the continual massacre, with a focus on the case of Beni. With the filmmaker, Dearbhla Glynn, we explained some challenges around this conflict and how it is important to continue to support women in Congo who have been so resilient and continue to fighting day to day for their livelihood and survival.
I really appreciated the talk we had at Gortnor Abbey with youth as part of the ‘Bringing Human Rights to Life’ schools’ programme. Our open discussion was a reminder that as practitioners and scholars we should recognize the need to inform the grassroots and for all of us to seek information about what is happening in the rest of the world in different ways than what is presented on TV. Students clearly valued sharing the experiences of people who are engaged directly in day to day human rights activities. Young people are seeking feedback and accountable information on how support and help in reaching the most marginalized and vulnerable people in society. Citing the US election and press coverage of Trump’s campaign, they observed that it is often not as important to spend time listening to politicians’ debates which have no impact on saving people lives, or on promoting dignity and justice. Students wanted to know how they could be engaged more on supporting fundamental rights actions.
Many thanks again for the celebration of the Congolese Culture at Ballyhaunis direct provision centre, which gave us the opportunity to share positive and peaceful lives of champion women actively working in their local communities to promote peace. Women living in this asylum seeker centre were really encouraged by the event and expressed their willingness to continue their participation towards building a better world for all, dispite where they are or what they have been through.
This week was also a great opportunity for me and my organisation Christian Aid to thank the Irish people for the support that we are getting from Irish Aid funding and all the different forms of solidarity that we have via different Irish organisations – including the Mary Robinson Centre in – for our humanitarian, development and advocacy programmes in Congo. President Mary Robinson played a considerable role as the Special Envoy for Great Lakes Region of Africa from 2013-2015 and she continues to lobby and provide a huge support on the Peace and Security agenda to end conflict in DR Congo. This conflict has caused millions of deaths, millions of women and girls have been affected by gender based violence and enormous poverty created in such a very resource rich African country.
This has been such a full and inspiring week, many thanks indeed Natasha, Susan and Dr. Reilly, wishing all the best and big success for The Mary Robinson Centre and its vision to inspire and foster personal leadership in the service of promoting human rights, gender equality, women's leadership and climate justice.
On Friday the 21st of October, The Mary Robinson Centre, in conjunction with Mayo Intercultural Action (MIA), hosted a celebration of Congolese culture at Ballyhaunis Direct Provision Centre with music, dancing and terrific Congolese food. Our International Visiting Scholar, humanitaritan practitioner Salomé Ntububa, from the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), spoke about about women rebuilding their communities in the DRC. Salomé had given several talks in academic, school and community settings in the West of Ireland earlier in the week, but we felt it was important to connect her inspiring story of hope with the local community most affected by the war in Congo.
We are very grateful for the assistance of Kany Kanyeba Kazadi, MIA board member and passionate spokesperson for asylum-seekers and refugees. Kany is a former resident of Ballyhaunis, fluent in four languages and a terrific community activist. She helped at all stages of the event, from planning and internal promotion to translation and making sure everything went off without a hitch on the day itself. We are also grateful for the manager and staff of Ballyhaunis for supporting our work and for the inspiring women who joined us to celebrate - without all of their support this event would not have been possible.
Kany Kazadi, in her own words...
The news about the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo is rarely in Irish media headlines. So far but so close, Mary Robinson Centre created a great opportunity for the West of Ireland to learn about the crisis in Congo, particularly about violence and injustice suffered by women in the Eastern part of Congo.