Democratic Republic of Congo
iLEAP International Fellow, 2016
Fred Bauma’s vision is nothing less than creating a just and equitable society in his home country, Democratic Republic of Congo. At 26, Fred is now one of the leaders of the nonviolent youth organization Lucha. He wants DRC to become a “sentinel of democracy and good governance” and is inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, “and other great minds that positively changed humanity.”
He believes young people can create a better future through political participation and social entrepreneurship. Yet in a country devastated by war and poverty, it can be difficult to motivate people to engage civically when they need jobs to survive. As a community organizer in Goma working on waste management, he found a successful strategy for overcoming this hurdle: combining voluntary community cleaning/sanitation activities with cultural activities.
As a national movement leader, he coordinates various initiatives, from prisoner rehabilitation to peace festivals. The work comes at a heavy price: he spent 17 months in jail after attending a youth conference. But living with fellow prisoners from all walks of life gave him insight into his own struggle for unity. “Dialogue. . . helped me understand the deep motivations of others and to find the means to overcome those differences together,” he says. Frédéric wants to provide Lucha, which is growing rapidly, the organizational structure it needs to succeed.
As an iLEAP Fellow, he will have the chance to explore strategies with others who are working for transformational change in their own countries.