She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.
She says: “To educate a woman is to promote the culture of peace”.
She is registered as a political heroe.
Lea Ngaïdana – Central African Republic
She works for the Association of Central African Women for the Fight Against Illiteracy
Ngaïdana Lea, is the founder and chairlady of the AFCLA, the Association of Central African Women for the Fight Against Illiteracy (Association des Femmes Centrafricaines pour la Lutte contre L’Analphatisme). Since 2000 the association has promoted women to become partners with. She says, “More than ever before women are resolute to eliminate illiteracy. Illiteracy is the principal obstacle to the improving their lives. They are conscious of their role in the country’s development.”
Since 2000, the association has promoted literacy for women at all levels as the basis for fighting injustice, discrimination, violence, politico-military crisis and establishing long-lasting peace.
Lea studied in Bangui where she obtained a technical and professional diploma, then joined the public service in 1984. She trained to become a literacy officer and in 2002 became the head of the literacy service. She has been awarded several distinctions for her contribution, including Knight and Officer of the Order of Academic Palms in 1997 and 2004, respectively.
She uses Information, Education and Communication (IEC), advocacy and negotiation to fight for the emancipation of rural women. Women of diverse backgrounds are organized into specific working, such as businesswomen, gardeners, food processors, farmers.
Lea explains her motivation, “My vision is to set a foundation for lasting peace through women’s education and their effective participation to social, economic and cultural life of the country. However, she notes that in landlocked Central African Republic, women, 80% of whom are illiterate, have suffered successive politico-military crisis since 1996, in addition to various forms of violence and destructive traditions.
However, her work is hampered by various problems include inadequate transport to the women’s groups. She often travels by public means and sometimes simply walks to her training sites, which s not without risks. She also spends much time away from her family
She is unable to reach some women, facing refusal for ethnic reasons. Nevertheless, Mrs. Ngaïdana preserves. She says, “The association helps the Central African women not only to get an education but also to get organized in the community and develop income generating activities. We have to pay a price for the country’s development. Don’t we say, “to educate a woman is to educate an entire nation?”
Lea raises financial support from the international organizations. She successfully secured funds from the WFP and FAO in 2004 to run literacy courses and start income-generating projects.
Lea was among a small group of women who presented peace proposals to the former president of the Central African Republic. In her capacity as the assistant general secretary of the council of NGO’s she also participated to preparatory seminars for the National Dialogue.
“The search for ways eliminate daily violence against African women in general and in particular women in Central Africa, was the determining factor in my fight in for lasting peace. The Department of Literacy is aware of my constant drive for the education of women and girls training. That is the issue that pushed me to fight for peace and a better life”. She said
Lea has participated in meetings in support of peace organized by the UN agencies, the government and the civil societies because of her courageous involvement and devotion to the national cause and conviction that development is possible only through lasting peace.
Mrs. Ngaïdana is a simple woman who does not live in comfort. Her involvement and conviction in improving the lives of women through AFCLA is unwavering. She has a great love for the weak. “I am baffled by the violence I hear about through the testimony of innocent victims. Moreover, this violence – rape of women and children, assassination of men – is often the source of numerous traumas in the community,” she says.
Mrs. Ngaïdana explains the reason for women poor status, “Women’s illiteracy is caused by traditional discrimination that states that girls are not meant to go to. More than half of those who have the opportunity to go to school drop out for various reasons.”
It is not known how many women who benefited from her action and programs but everywhere happy women are visible who can read, write and calculate; many women also participate in critical meetings, forums and organized debates that determine the life of communities and the nation, in favor of peace and development. The country has also benefited because AFCLA, the Association of Women for the Fight Against Illiteracy and the sister associations cover the entire country. (1000PeaceWomen).
Sorry, I can’t find more informations about Ngaïdana Lea of the Central African Republic in the Internetlinks:
the fights against illiteray of the UNESCO;
The Scourge of Illiteracy, soon to be Erased;
Adult Education: The Fight against Illiteracy.