In the western reaches of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, women are at the center of the household and the heart of local livelihoods. They prepare meals for their families, tend to the crops that they’ve nurtured, and use breaks in the day to fish, make soap, or weave mats.
Yet, women are often excluded from community-level decision-making about the natural resources on which they rely.
With longstanding and critical funding from USAID and other partners, WWF works to empower Congolese women by teaching them sustainable farming techniques, offering literacy classes, building leadership and entrepreneurial skills, and ensuring their representation in decision-making bodies.
Women are eager to develop leadership expertise for the betterment of their families and communities—and to create a more secure economic and environmental future for their children. Today, on International Women’s Day, we celebrate these women and their hard work toward cultivating a community of equals.
Caption: Header: Women at an environmental meeting in the Congo © Karine Aigner/WWF-US;
Caption: Portrait of Victorine Balako © Karine Aigner/WWF-US