I work for the West Africa sub-regional office of WiLDAF ( Law and Development in Africa) as the Coordinator, since April 1997. My role includes travelling extensively to support the strengthening of networks of women’s organizations in the different West African countries. I design and carry out programs in collaboration with these networks, and to monitor and evaluate the programs that we initiate, since it is very important to us that our initiatives actually lead to changes in our communities and societies. In addition to direct support of the WILDAF network of organisations, I am also engaged in advocacy for the reform of laws and policies at all levels. I am also very politically involved and I am an activist in a party of which I am a founding member since 1990.
My journey with feminism began quite early in life as my awareness increased of the inequalities and oppression of women in my family environment, my neighborhood and in society in general. As a little girl, I also suffered in silence with some women who were close to me, in particular my mother. Naturally, in my academic life, I used the opportunity to explore and denounce the inferior status of women in Togo. I am a feminist because I have chosen to support women, to fight against legal discrimination that they suffer as women, to defend the values that underpin the vision of women living together in social justice, equality, tolerance, solidarity and honesty.
African feminists are often misunderstood and criticized as ‘foreign’ to the continent and having no links with African realities. As a result, many women who are actually unaware of what feminists do do not want to associate themselves with the movement. Many men who share in our values are still with us. The feminist movement needs to continue its efforts to make ourselves understood by those who do not belong to the movement. We need to avoid giving the image of a sectarian movement and one that is disconnected from the interests and concerns of women, including those of the lower class. We also need to convene training for girls and generations of women, and members of women organizations to achieve a truly feminist culture within African women’s movements. Finally, we need to integrate the feminist agenda in the development policies and platforms at all levels.
I try to bring out feminist principles in my relationship with my spouse, children and my family, my colleagues and in meetings that I attend I am always ready to dialogue with those that who want to share their thoughts, attitudes and positions. I am passionate about the fight against injustice in general and the prospect of being able to contribute to a shift in the status quo is my constant motivation. My role as wife and mother is stress relieving and helps provide the balance from dealing with the persisting social challenges I encounter in my work and activism. I find pleasure in preparing my family and friends’ favourite dishes and bringing them joy as it fills me up with joy too.