There’s a community hall in Mambasa, a remote part of Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ituri Province. The hall was built specifically for women in the community to have a safe gathering space. A message of gender equality is painted in bright blue at the front: “Peace, democracy, and sustainable development are built with men and women.”

In front of this message, Zawadi would stand—sharing with the women of Mambasa how that message translated to their lives.

Mambasa is a community where the main livelihood is artisanal gold mining. IMPACT had been working for years to ensure artisanal gold was improving security and development—and now gender equality.

As Zawadi would speak about how women can be leaders in their home, in their communities and mine sites—and the importance of claiming that space, there would be agreement among the audience. She knew how to walk alongside women on the path to self-reliance and respect.

She was a peacebuilder and leader in Congo’s women’s rights movement. She worked in the communities, supporting women to find their voices as leaders and activists—taking their message to national and international policymakers.

Zawadi Mambo Albertine, along with her husband Mashauri Delphin, tragically died on the flight that crashed at take off in Goma on November 24, 2019. They leave behind five children.

Zawadi was SOFEPADI’s National Coordinator. IMPACT had worked closely with Zawadi to support the women of Mambasa as they improved their understanding of gender equality, their rights—and on their journey to become leaders and peacebuilders in their community.

Last September 2018, Zawadi travelled to Ottawa for IMPACT’s conference. She called on Canadians to not forget the grassroots movement in the country—those working tirelessly outside of the media spotlight to ensure a sustainable, peaceful and equitable future.

It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to our good friend. But we celebrate her life by continuing in her footsteps and fostering a generation of women leaders and activists in Congo—and around the world.

A fundraising campaign has been set up in support of Zawadi’s children and their future education. Click here to donate.