“We want our membership in political governance increased significantly and enshrined in the laws and institutions of our countries. We are asking for a minimum of 30% representation in our Parliaments. We want increased access to basic and referral health care and at all levels of education. We are calling for increased property rights and ownership of household and national assets”, stated Madam Mukondola on behalf of the African women folk in Belgium, adding that, “African women have always wanted to crack open their opportunities, but political, cultural, bureaucratic and political obstacles have continued to stand in our way”.
The Zambian-born President of the African Women’s League in Belgium furthered that, the time has come for African women to be given equal space to contribute to building states capable of delivering the services expected by their populations, in close collaboration and in partnership with African Leaders. “Only then can we make a new contribution to universal civilization, and foster a common conception and awareness of Africa as the source and birthplace of international development and lasting peace”.
Highlighting some of the achievements of the women’s organization since its inception in 1998, Madam Mukondola, who also works at the Sierra Leone Embassy in Brussels, disclosed that they’d strived to articulate and pursue programmes and projects to help promote the empowerment of women, focussing in particular on women in Africa. “We have worked with rural women in Cameroon on sustainable development projects, such as agriculture; we have raised funds for HIV/AIDs orphans in Kamanga Township in Zambia and we have also sent back to school, girls who had dropped out of school due to lack of funds”.
Concluding her remarks, Madam Mukondola call on the women folk not to give up the fight. “We must be willing to fight for more space and true representation. It must never be a favour for women. If we are empowered economically, men will be the ones calling for affirmative action”, she concluded.
By Chernor Ojuku Sesay,