Africa Director: Joyce Lualaba

1. How did you become a greenlight girl and why?

I have always been attracted by women status in the world! Very earlier already, I felt that there was something wrong in the world towards women.  It started with family when I saw my father having so much power over all of us and my mother never saying anything.  Then, as a citizen of the world, I travelled a lot and became aware of the unequal position of female all over the world.  The first subject that attract me when I started working in development cooperation concerned discriminations and inequalities against women. And my first concern was about empowering women to be recognized as the half part of the world!

 Regardless a woman live in New York or in DR Congo, in Bangalore or in Belgium, International studies and researches showed that when it comes to poverty, violence, workplace discrimination, lack of training, sexual abuse, etc. it is always women that are found mostly in these groups of inequalities.

 Solutions to get women out of these constraints are to educate girls and to educate them very early.  Girls must be equipped early for a good start in their life. They must know they can become everything they want in the future. 

 Science and mathematics are part of our daily life but the world lacks women in these domains.  I believe that if we have more girls involved in technology, science, mathematics, engineering we will also have more people who can feel concerned about womens' health, education, nutrition and women at work.  We will have more role models who will inspire other girls to follow and to be the next generation of women scientist, female mathematicians, etc.

 I become a greenlight girl because of this vision and dream I had.

2. What is the first thing you notice about people/society?

I do not understand for instance how some people, when they have opportunities, will decide to stay in the same place, same village, same town, same country their entire life.  The world is so big! So beautiful! So many things to discover!  I will suffer badly, if someone tells me “OK.  You are going to spend all your life in Belgium or in DR Congo or in USA!”.   This is crazy!  I’ll be mad!  This is something I’ve noticed in most of people! We do not move and we stay in our country!  The world is becoming more and more a big village, why not spend some time in a different place? But of course I can also understand that most of people have different constraints to leave everything for another world.

 I think adults have a lot to learn from youth.  When you look at youngsters, there are no barriers, no fears between them.  Try to gather five 13 – 14 years old girls from different countries together and in 1 hour, they become friends.  They share common issues but also same problems and they would rather solve them together.  Now set down a group of people from different background and you get 50% of chance to see the group collapse if there is no leader.  They will target the “weaknesses “of each other instead of finding the strengths of each one.

3. What is your favourite Science?

I like all sciences related to plants, animals and planets: biology, zoology, astronomy, cosmology,  chemistry, etc.  All types of sciences telling us how the Universe and the Earth have been created, how life (all type) exists and how everything works in Mother Nature! I love that! I can spend all the day watching the Discovery Channel or Planet Channel!  I believe that we have a Creator who creates all this beautiful things our eyes can see.  Sometimes I call Him the BIGGEST SCIENTIST!

 I am 100% sure I would have been an excellent scientist!  However, I chose Development Cooperation!

4. What is your favourite science related TV show or book? 

I like Discovery programs and other ones such as “le monde sous-marin du commandant Cousteau”.  There is also a very interesting site I visit when I have time   I also like the books “Science et vie” or “top santé”. 

See Joyce on Linkedin