"My name is Jolie Sifa Kpaka. I currently live in a city called Beni."

Jolie Sifa Kpaka | Coordinator of Advanced Studies | Congo Initiative

“I started being involved with Congo Initiative (CI) as a student at the University. Then right after graduation I was retained to serve in the department of economics and management, and I am still here. I went for further studies, and now I am back still with CI, serving as the Coordinator of Advanced Studies and International Partnership Program.”

“When I was retained to work with CI, at that time, there were seven national female staff apart from international female staff members. We were the only seven. I was the first national female staff to stand before students and start teaching. That was something very encouraging, even for other women who were working with Congo Initiative at that time because they said, ‘Oh, we thought we were not allowed to teach! This work is just for men.’

“It was very difficult because some of the students and also staff members would say ‘Is she going to succeed? Does she really know what she wants to do?’ So many people were really having doubts, but of course, I had encouragement and encouraging words from the leadership of Congo Initiative. They were very supportive. They said, ‘This is the generation that we want to create, the generation which is transformed, the generation that can do things that people think they cannot do. So please just continue and work hard, and you will make it.’

“Women have the potential to help others, but traditionally in our Congolese context, women are not allowed to participate in community decision making. The perception of women is that their work is only in the family. To become wives for their husbands, be mothers of their children, and just cook food at home. But here at Congo Initiative, there is a focus on empowering women so that women can know that their voices can also be heard.

“Congo Initiative is doing a new thing, which is something very positive, and people need to know that these kinds of initiatives need to be encouraged. Lives of people are changing and being transformed, and now, people are starting to look at the right direction of the way things should be.

“There is the problem of the lack of ethical leaders, and this dearth of leadership contributes to the failing of the state where the entire country is now compromised. Ethical leaders as agents of social and spiritual transformation: This transformation is the center of all. If people are transformed socially and spiritually, then they will go out there and also transform the rest. Currently the university has been able to graduate more than 650 students who are out there impacting the world and organizations, plants, public sectors, even private sectors.”

Listen to Jolie share her story in her own voice on our Two Coins podcast HERE.