Today you can read about Kahumbu Buyingo Benigne, the president at LOFEPACO (Ligue des Organisations des Femmes Paysannes du Congo). She sees many challenges that women face as female leaders.
Kahumbu Buyingo Benigne, 50 years
Association des Producteurs Agricole de Vuhimba
Bunyuka, Butembo, Democratic Republic of Congo
Since 1988 Kahumbu is member of the cooperative: Association des Producteurs Agricole de Vuhimba. She became a member of the cooperative in order to solve jointly the problem of poor nutrition. By paying the member fees, she could easily join the cooperative and became very active. In previous years, Kahumbu has been in charge of the control commission, but she left this position as she got a new position which she fulfills until today: she is the president at LOFEPACO (Ligue des Organisations des Femmes Paysannes du Congo).
As president of LOFEPACO, Kahumbu sees many challenges that women face as female leaders. Often women are underestimated by men and collaboration is difficult. “Some women are severe and proud”, which is as well a challenge. Besides this, illiteracy among the elderly remains a problem. There could be done a lot at the cooperative level to encourage women to become leaders. “A good education is necessary: girls must be encouraged to attend school and education for the elder women to become literate.” Besides this, she argues that organisations should do more to meet the needs of the members.
“Women are necessary for organisations. Women are good leaders. They are honest and firm in their decisions. They care for others and they make themselves strong for the interests of others.” Including women as leaders is beneficial for the cooperatives. “Female leaders are good in teamwork and there will be no mismanagement. Therefore Kahumbu argues that it is important to focus on involving young women in agricultural cooperatives for the coming years. They are strong and needed for the coming years.”
In the future, Kahumbu hopes to see that the cooperative develop more and more. She wants to focus on producing quantity and quality. “New techniques are essential to develop, as well to overcome the climatic hazards.” She wants the cooperative to develop further and increase the income, as “cooperatives are key to improve life conditions for many”.
Her personal wish is to become specialised in the cultivation of rice and other crop rotation crops; breed chickens; and contribute to the strengthening of entrepreneurial activities