Bio: Claudine Zongo – Burkina Faso
As a young girl, Claudine’s father sent her to live with her grandmother who was old and needed help. The many lessons she learned through that relationship have served her well as she continued her education and embarked on her professional career. Claudine works with the World Health Organization as a Coordinator of the Intercountry Support Team for West Africa.
Along with several other professional women in the capital city of Burkina Faso, Claudine founded AProFEn, Action Promo Femme et Enfant, an association that allows these professional women to “give back” to their larger community. These women had the opportunity of education and training, and they, through this association, now provide training to village women who have not had the same educational opportunities.
Claudine has been leading this association since 2004. It is an Association fully recognized by the government.
What makes their work amazingly powerful is that these women created a way to share this training that did not alienate the men of the village, but gained their support as allies. The result is that AProFEn has gained the confidence of the Chief of the Village and the Association has been granted 3 hectares of land. The women envision building a headquarters there which will be a training centre including leadership training for women and education for young girls.
The Centre will also provide resources for business capacity building for women to develop production of such products as soap, shea butter, weaving, conservation of fruit, etc. In August (2011) AProFEn members, traditional leaders and invited national leaders visited the land that has been given to the Association.
Claudine describes her objective in this way, “My intention is to build worldwide active awareness through sustainable projects and programs led by women for women.”