With a track record of researching health issues at the University of Goma, a fervent commitment to ensuring a healthy environment for her constituents and numerous healthcare initiatives, Malaika Gakuru leads the way in building a society where tragedies due to healthcare system deficiencies become a thing of the past.
For overcoming deficiencies in the healthcare system
As a project manager and researcher at the University of Goma (UNIGOM), Malaika has conducted studies on microbiological conditions in hospitals and the prevalence of hepatitis B, syphilis and HIV among sex workers. This provides her with a unique perspective on health problems in Goma. But more than anything, it was the tragic death of her brother, Christian, which motivated Malaika to take action in the field of health. Her brother was the victim of an assassination and the lack of adequate blood supplies at blood banks in hospitals across the city meant he did not receive the potentially life-saving treatment he needed. Prompted by this personal tragedy, Malaika created Blood Aid: Femmes pour la vie (“Blood Aid: Women for Life”), a campaign to mobilize massive blood drives and train women in administering first-aid.
For the rehabilitation of victims of sexual violence
Profoundly affected by the different forms of gender-based violence faced by Congolese women, Malaika is an ambassador for several organizations that support victims of sexual violence in their reintegration efforts. This enabled her to successfully petition for sending one hundred women to Collective Alpha Ujuvi, a community organization where they learned to read, write, and hone skills in the crafts industry. She also campaigns for the allocation of rotating credit among small businesses and local organizations in order to empower women in rural areas and assist them in sending their children to university.
For the promotion of community diversity in the Kivu provinces
The Kivu region, with its considerable diversity of culture and expression of identity, has for a long time, been an epicenter of deadly conflict. In 2008, when Malaika was designated at the peace conference “Amani Leo” as a women’s representative from the Rutshuru territory in North Kivu, she pledged to improve the image of her community. This eventually culminated, in May 2017, with her appointment to the inter-community general assembly of North Kivu (the Baraza la Wazee or council of elders), thereby ensuring that the voices of Rutshuru women will always be heard.