Julienne Lusenge


Julienne Lusenge is from the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A tireless and intrepid advocate for justice, peace and gender equality, she founded two separate NGOs. In 2001, she became the co-founder and president of the Female Solidarity for Peace and Integral Development (SOFEPADI), an NGO that works for the promotion of women and girls rights and on sexual and reproductive health in eastern DRC. Born out of the need for broader advocacy for women's rights, she created the Congolese Women's Fund (FFC) in 2007 and serves as the organization's executive director. The FFC works on six distinct but overlapping pillars of advocacy: women's empowerment, women's political leadership, conflict transformation, sexual and reproductive health / HIV / AIDS, climate justice, and protection of the environment, and sexual and gender-based violence. She is a member of the International Campaign to End Rape and Gender-Based Violence in Conflict Zones and is vice-president of the International Women's League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). 

On 8 February 2023 Julienne was awarded the honourable mention for the Félix Houphouët-Boigny-UNESCO Peace Prize for her long-time commitment to the women who are victims of sexual violence in North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo, for keeping a bright spotlight on women's and girls' situations in the DRC, and for advocating tirelessly for peace and for women's inclusion in peacebuilding processes.

The Félix Houphouët-Boigny UNESCO Peace Prize is intended to honour living individuals and active public or private bodies or institutions that have made a significant contribution to promoting, seeking, safeguarding or maintaining peace, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations and the Constitution of UNESCO.

Dr. Denis Mukwege said of her: “You defend women's human rights and the scourges of sexual violence that is a method of warfare when women's bodies become a battlefield…a woman on the ground who not only responds to the needs of victims but also contributes to their empowerment." 

Ms. Lusenge received the title of Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur of France in 2013, the Ginetta Sagan award from Amnesty International in 2016, the international award for women's rights in 2018 from the Geneva Summit for human rights and democracy, and was chosen as one of the 100 most influential people on global gender politics in 2019 by Apolitical. In early 2020, she was recognized by the United Nations as the first of twenty "Women to Watch", published in United Nations News under the headline "Twenty Women on the Front Page of United Nations News in 2019". (" Twenty women on the front page of UN news in 2019. ” Currently a member of the High Panel in charge of supporting his EM Félix Antoine Tshisekedi President of the DRC in the DRC-AU mandate for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, in this High Panel, Madame Julienne is in charge of issues of Women, Peace and Security, good governance, democracy, elections, Human Rights and contacts with Civil Society. She is the 2021 laureate of the Women of Courage Award from the United States Department of State. Recipient of the 2021 I-Angel Prize and the ICIP Prize, she has been proclaimed the winner of the 2021 Aurora Prize.