Ms. Musenge Musomali is a 2018 IVLP alumna, and the founder and Executive Director of the Liberated Hearts Foundation (LIHEF), focused on promoting effective and interactive dialogue with communities on issues related to gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive health and rights. She is also the author of the book Glow After Pain which draws on her personal experience with gender-based violence and its effects. This blog post is part of a series highlighting and celebrating women leaders in Meridian’s network during Women’s History Month.
Who is or was a female inspiration, mentor or hero figure to you?
My female inspiration and mentor is Ms. Sara Longwe, Zambia’s most celebrated radical feminist activist. She inspires me to speak without fear of intimidation. When I needed another voice for my book “Glow after Pain”, which talks about my journey as a survivor of incest and childhood sexual abuse, she guided me through it and wrote an amazing foreword. Her foreword is insightful and touches on important issues surrounding child safety and society’s role in ensuring that children are protected from sexual abuse in households.
What does ‘leadership’ mean to you?
To me leadership means understanding the value of teamwork and acknowledging the skills and strengths of every team member. Being a leader has had a profound impact on how I view life. My interactions with different kinds of people have allowed me to understand them and how to respond to them and their needs. My leadership skills have significantly improved, too. I have a wider understanding of what it means to be part of a team, and what it takes to succeed as a team. Moving forward together as a team and acknowledging each others’ contributions is powerful.
How do you give back, or build connections or roadmaps for future women leaders?
I mentor women and girls by giving them guidance concerning career choices, personal growth and development. I engage with different people on my social media platforms, raising awareness on various issues that affect women, and share my journey as a survivor of sexual violence. Being able to listen to stories of other survivors is life changing. That has helped me build a network of women from different walks of life who need that extra support and encouragement so that they can find their voices. It’s rewarding to connect with different kinds of women who are willing to be part of the women’s movement and willing to make a difference.