Africa Representative on the Board of Trust Funds for Victims of the ICC, Chairperson of the Platform of Women Leaders of Mali, Member of the UN Women’s Advisory Group West and Central Africa, member of the Francophone Equality Network , Ms. Doumbia Mama Koité is undoubtedly one of the women who carry high, the torch of Mali.
Her rich associative and trade union career and the many international conferences in which she took part, have earned her the honorary recognition of national and international authorities. At the national level, Ms. Doumbia has a Mali National Medal and is a Knight of the National Order of Mali.
Internationally, she was nominated Nobel Peace Prize laureate 1000 Women of the World (Switzerland), received the Gender Awards 2011 in Dakar, the International Minerva Prize (Italy) in 2007 and the distinction of Chevalier of African Merit (Addis Ababa) in 2007.
Strong in her professional life and with an excellent leadership, Ms. Doumbia has brought her touch to the Platform of Women Leaders of Mali since her accession to the presidency.
Undoubtedly, this great lady is the pride of Mali in Africa and in the rest of the world!
Who is Mme Mama Koité Doumbia ?
I am Mama Koité, Mrs Doumbia. I am a teacher, educator and activist. I was Professor of History and Geography then Inspector of Youth and Sports in the Ministry of Youth and Sports. I have been involved in unionism and associations. I have had 35 years of trade unionism and more than 25 years of struggle for the rights of women and girls in Mali, Africa and the world.
What motivates you to do what you do ?
First in the unions, my motivation was to fight for social justice and to defend the interests of the workers and the people for a more just and equitable world.
In the defense for the promotion and protection of the rights of women and girls, I am motivated to put an end to all these discriminations that weigh on the emancipation of women and girls and to give them their dues.
What is your greatest achievement?
In the union, I helped to give the union the place it occupies today, that is, a respected social dialogue partner and, together with my colleagues, we have worked to improve significantly the standard of living and working conditions of the workers we are fighting for.
In my fight for the rights of women and girls, I have greatly contributed to giving visibility and a voice to African women on the continent and on the international stage. I have been heavily involved in building the leadership of women and youth.
How have you overcome the barriers visible/or invisible to get to where you are today?
The obstacles were numerous and difficult to overcome. In my family life, it was very difficult to reconcile the life of a couple, which involved the household, the care and education of the children, and work – social actions and trade union and associative activities.
I created trust and cultivated good communication with my husband and colleagues. I made my children responsible, very early.
I also worked to give a positive image of women through my physical and moral behavior, my courage and my determination to produce results. I respect my word. I listen and agree to share.
I cultivate positive societal values. I build alliances with men and girls and boys.
Throughout my life, I have continued to cultivate myself to improve my intellectual level in order to keep pace with the evolution of the world. Leadership cannot be decreed, it is built and shaped.
What is your greatest fear or failure?
As an activist, the rebellion of Islamists in Mali disrupted my life at some point. It was not a failure, but my determination almost split my family life. The momentum of solidarity has strengthened me.
The Islamist threat still hangs, given the socio-political environment, but I remain determined in my struggle for the rights of women and girls.
My country has ratified several legal instruments, not “to put them in the drawers” but to apply them for the advancement of women and girls.
What advice do you give young women who aspire to become leaders?
- Women must work harder to build solidarity among themselves.
• Women must train themselves through good education and be informed.
• Women must give up looking for an easy life and build up a positive image among men
• Young peoplemust study and maintain the positive moral values of our societies.
• Young people must stop serving as ‘stairs’for leaders to access power and then leave them unaccountable.