Unprecedented Empowerment Self-Defense Movement led by ESD Global Graduates in DR Congo
Working with a network of young leaders in DR Congo, Aimé Kamosi Kazika recognizes the importance of cultivating Empowerment Self-Defense skills in youth. Aimé sees violence as a major issue in Kinshasa, his country’s capital, and believes that all young men and women should learn Empowerment Self-Defense (ESD).
Aimé is the National Representative at Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD), an international movement empowers young leaders to shape sustainable food systems. Aimé thought that self-defense is only for “certain groups of people”, but after completing an ESD Global Co-Ed Instructor training in Israel last February, he realized that “everyone needs to know Empowerment Self-Defense to protect themselves from violence”. “Self-defense skills are needed in our everyday life, be it for men, women or children”, he says.
“Collective action is needed to combat gender issues in my country”, says Aimé, who believes it is important to adopt a gender-inclusive definition of Gender-Based Violence (GBV): GBV refers to violence against each man, each woman, LGBTQI, and marginalized populations. According to Aimé, a lack of understanding when it comes to gender definitions and the failure of authorities to address this issue are a challenge for LGBTQI people in the religious country of DR Congo. He believes that authorities should draft and enforce laws to fight GBV and promote gender equality.
“Life changing!” is how Aimé describes his ESD training in Israel. It was “the best experience” and has prompted him to share his knowledge on how to advocate for women’s empowerment in his community. He strongly believes that ESD is the best tool to empower women and help them to voice their needs.
Aimé's work centers on women’s empowerment, and he is planning for in-person ESD trainings in DR Congo as soon as COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are lifted. In fact, Aimé teamed up with other participants from DR Congo who attended the ESD training in Israel, including Rachel Ngum, and Sandrine Bussa, ESD Level 1 graduates, as well as Picasso Makofi, an ESD Co-Ed graduate. Together, the four ESD Global alumni are drafting proposals for funding requests from international donors for ESD classes in the country.
In addition to organizing trainings, Aimé is using the power of his voice to spread the message, urging people to raise awareness about gender equality nationwide through meetings, seminars, campaigns, television, radio, and online platforms. This is no easy task, and he is making history by bring the ESD message to prime-time television in DRC and talking about self-defense on a youth program.
Aimé's commitment and passion to share ESD knowledge drove him to work hard to network and land a segment on national TV in Congo where was interviewed alongside Sandrine Bussa. Sandrine, also from DR Congo, completed her ESD Women’s Level 1 ESD training in Israel last February. She is an inspiring strong woman who shares Aimé's passion for building an ESD Global movement to empower women. Watch them discuss the importance of Empowerment Self Defense on National TV.