As Neema Namadamu toured the US this past fall, heralding a women-led peace movement in the Democratic Republic of Congo, she had a goal in sight: for her message to reach the White House.
Thanks to your signatures on her Change.org petition, Neema’s dream has become a reality. On January 29, Neema gathered the Maman Shujaa ‘Hero Women’ around a phone in Bukavu, DRC to await the call from Washington, while her Congolese ‘sister’ Adele Kibasumba hand delivered their petition to White House National Security Council leaders. World Pulse founder/CEO Jensine Larsen, Change.org organizer Shelby Knox, Enough Project campaign manager JD Stier, and actress Robin Wright joined her in delivering 100,000+ signatures and one united message urging the appointment of a special presidential envoy for peace in DRC.
Kibasumba, who has lost family members in Congo’s 16-year conflict, lives in the United States and dreams of the day when her country is safe enough for her to return to work as a nurse and women’s movement leader. Her powerful testimony left everyone in the room visibly moved. Stier observed that this meeting felt different than any other White House meeting he has attended.
While the US government hasn’t yet made immediate commitments to appoint an envoy, it is clear that this grassroots effort may be a tipping point.
“This is a critical moment for action that could be a turning point for the people of eastern Congo,” said Robin Wright.
The Maman Shujaa ‘Hero Women’ are a group of 200 activists who regularly log in to World Pulse to report about life in war-torn DRC from a women’s Internet café in Bukavu. The November occupation of nearby Goma by M-23 rebels put their lives in immediate danger, which led them to create the Change.org petition with support from World Pulse staff.
The petition garnered signatures from across the world and reflects a coalition of organizations, grassroots activists, and world leaders united in action. Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee endorsed the petition, saying “I believe that trusting Congolese women will secure the future of that great nation.”
World Pulse extends our gratitude to all who showed their support of these grassroots heroes by signing the petition. We know, however, that the work must continue. As Neema Namadamu says, “We will not be quiet until REAL Peace is upon us.”
The petition is still active. Sign and share it if you haven’t yet.
Connect with the Maman Shujaa online. Listen to their voices and lend your support to the women who will one day lead their country to peace.
World Pulse and the Hero Women of Congo