A peacebuilder's story: Bertin, DRC

We believe that peace requires the equal participation of all members of society, including men, women, girls, boys and gender minorities.

To mark International Women's Day 2015, we are sharing the stories of our inspiring peacebuilders around the world – both men and women – and their views on peace and gender equality.

Bertin Bisimwa Kabomboro, DRC

Bertin is a Senior Project Officer for International Alert in DRC and is based in Bukavu.

Why did you decide to work in peacebuilding?

"From around 2007 until 2009, I was following the work International Alert was doing in the context of conflict and violence in DRC, especially in the eastern region. Alert’s engagement in promoting women's leadership and participation in the peace process in DRC inspired me to one day join that vision. Working with Alert has allowed me to achieve my personal goal in contributing to peacebuilding to improve the situation in DRC and the Great Lakes region."

Why is International Women's Day important to you?

"This day is important to me because it is recognised worldwide and provides an opportunity for men and women who are struggling against gender inequality to speak up and make themselves heard. It is a day of mobilisation and advocacy. However, I believe that there should be more taking stock of the previous year."

Why in your opinion is gender equality important for peacebuilding?

"In my opinion, women as well as men must all be taken into account and should all participate in peacebuilding processes and efforts. Regardless of their gender, women and men as citizens and members of a society should all contribute to and participate in peace efforts, conflict transformation and development. Gender equality in peacebuilding is important because peacebuilding concerns and should include everyone."

What has been your proudest moment as a peacebuilder to date?

"Oh, I can think of a few here! In 2012, I attended an activity meeting in a classroom in Kanga, South Kivu [province in DRC]. My first observation was that women sat on one side and men on the other. On that day, we discussed the role men and women play in peacebuilding efforts. I was surprised to see that women could not talk without the approval of men. The last two times I passed through Kanga, I noticed some changes: more women were speaking up and some men had embraced equality and were supporting women. Today, women and men interact and discuss their future together. I am proud to have been there at the beginning of a seemingly minor, but in reality quite big change."