Global Leadership Awards
Chouchou Namegabe Dubuisson is a pioneering, fearless voice for justice and accountability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Born in Bukavu in the South Kivu Province, Chouchou developed a strong interest in radio broadcasting and journalism as a young student. She saw radio as way to reach the masses in Congo — the only medium of communication accessible to nearly everyone, everywhere.
Chouchou got her start in 1997 as a presenter at Radio Maendeleo, a popular local community radio station. As Eastern Congo was overcome by violence in the late 1990s, Chouchou turned her microphone into a potent weapon against the violations of women’s human rights she saw running rampant in her community. She earned a reputation as a fearless journalist with considerable expertise in women, health and human rights, and she was also known for courageously denouncing corruption and mismanagement at all levels of the ruling authority.
In 2003, Chouchou founded the South Kivu’s Women’s Media Association (“Association des Femmes des Médias du Sud Kivu” or “AFEM”) to support her activism and women's advancement through available media outlets. Working to promote Congolese women and defend women’s rights through media, AFEM specializes in radio broadcasts to both urban and rural audiences by utilizing and training women-led radio clubs and local social activists.
- To inform women of their rights and the mechanisms in place to protect those rights.
- To encourage women's freedom of expression.
- To fight for equal rights between men and women.
- To fight for quantitative and qualitative gender parity in organizations and in all areas of public life.
- To facilitate women's involvement in good governance and the brokering of lasting peace.
- To support activities for women's development by helping them with communication and access to available media outlets.
- To fight against all forms of sexual violence through the media.
- To promote peace through the media.
Due to their ability to record testimonies of survivors and expose the perpetrators of violence, AFEM reporters face great danger when conducting their work and often receive threats against their lives. These threats not only disturb their work, but also instill fear in the women they are aiming to protect and advance at AFEM. "We are afraid the list will grow," Chouchou told Women's eNews. "At the funeral of the last journalist killed, someone in the crowd yelled: 'It's now the women's turn'."
With AFEM and through her radio broadcasts, Chouchou shines a spotlight on women’s issues, especially in rural areas. She lifted the plight of Congolese women to an international stage, traveling to The Hague in December 2007 to plead the case of Kivu’s women at the International Court of Justice. In 2009 she captured the attention of Vital Voices and actor/director Ben Affleck, who presented her with the Fern Holland Award at the Global Leadership Awards benefit at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Also in 2009, Chouchou accepted the Knight International Journalism Award for her impactful radio broadcasts despite such great obstacles.
As the Director at AFEM, Chouchou recently delivered the keynote speech, “Congo Conflict and Sexual Violence” at the Informed Activists International Summit at Clark University and is featured by PRI’s “The World” for her work to expose the brutality of sexual violence in the DRC.