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February 12, 2023

Recipients of the ABA ROLI Legal Scholarship Program Selected as Teaching Assistants at the University of Kindu, Maniema, DRC

Top Row (left to right): Kalume Feza Sylvie and Roda Ndonde Vanelie;

Bottom Row (left to right): Mutulwa Feza Beatrice and Milambo Anifa Monica

Top Row (left to right): Kalume Feza Sylvie and Roda Ndonde Vanelie; Bottom Row (left to right): Mutulwa Feza Beatrice and Milambo Anifa Monica

Since 2011, the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) has implemented a program to provide scholarships to female law students at three universities in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)—South Kivu, North Kivu and Maniema. This Legal Scholarship Program aims to support women's leadership and promote women's participation in the judicial sector.

Twelve years ago, the program began with only five beneficiaries, but since then it, has aided 72 women to enroll in law school. At the University of Kindu in Maniema, the program supported 20 female students, 17 of whom have graduated from law school and are now employed in the sector. In their successful journeys, four ABA ROLI-supported graduates are now retained as assistants at the Law Faculty of the University of Kindu. This is a testament to the excellence of the selected scholars and the success of this program in the DRC. This achievement is especially significant because the University of Kindu currently has no female professors in the Faculty of Law and has only employed one woman as Head of Section at the Faculty of Law.  

Below, meet the four selected assistants, who are distinguished by each of their remarkable academic careers. Their stories demonstrate the sustainability and lasting impact of the ABA ROLI Legal Scholarship program within the University of Kindu.

Kalume Feza Sylvie is currently a lawyer at the Kindu Bar in Maniema and a lecturer at the Faculty of Law at Kindu University. She is married and has one child. In 2013, She received the ABA ROLI scholarship at the University of Kindu.

According to Sylvie, this scholarship was a major relief for her parents, who had to support five children at university. Sylvie shared, “It allowed me to study in peace and without any financial worries. I also had the opportunity to study in good conditions, which allowed me to refine my intellectual abilities and be among the best in my class, to the point of being retained as a teacher at the same university in 2018.

“As a teacher and an ABA ROLI Legal Scholarship recipient, I would say that the scholarship is very important for a student in the sense that it allows her to be financially stable. She will be able to concentrate on her studies and achieve good results, which will open up great opportunities in her professional life and also protect her from many dangers such as sexual harassment by teachers and sexually transmitted diseases. Today, I am an inspiration to my students because they often say: ‘I have to work with determination to be like Mrs. Sylvie one day.’”

Roda Ndonde Vanelie is an assistant at the Faculty of Law at the University of Kindu, a lawyer at the Maniema Bar, and a feminist activist in Grand Kivu. Roda entered the ABA ROLI scholarship program from 2017 to 2018 and graduated with distinction. Roda plans to pursue graduate and doctoral work and become a university professor. 

“The Legal Scholarship Program is a necessity because it uplifts girls, changes their outlook and accompanies young female students to achieve their goals. As an assistant at Kindu University, I am developing strategies for specific mentoring of female students, not only in legal matters, but also through coaching sessions on the challenges of overcoming gender discrimination.”

Mutulwa Feza Beatrice is an assistant at Kindu University. She was awarded the ABA ROLI scholarship from 2018 to 2019. She has achieved two distinctions in graduate studies, which aided in her journey to become an assistant in the Faculty of Law for the University.                    

“This scholarship is very important for the students because it allows them to see the value of women in a male-dominated society. As a teacher at the university, I want to be an example of leadership so that other girls will be motivated to work even harder to participate in the fight for gender equality in eastern DRC.”

Milambo Anifa Monica is a teaching assistant at the Faculty of Law at the University of Kindu. Monica is also a former recipient of the ABA ROLI Legal Scholarship program from 2018 to 2019.      

The program has enabled her to achieve her academic goals and graduate from law school with honors, but also to distinguish herself through excellence in the field of law.

“My contribution to the emergence of female leadership in my university will be to fight against all discriminatory practices against women, to help young female students avoid stress that can have a negative impact on their academic careers, but above all to encourage women to fight against the feeling of inferiority that is a major obstacle to their ambitions.”

Learn more about ABA ROLI’s work across Africa.