SUCCESS STORY FROM THE REPUBLIC OF CONGO: VANESSA METOU, A YOUTH ADVOCATE
Strategist, Creative and Dynamic, Vanessa Metou is a young Congolese activist, passionate about youth issues. She graduated from the Free University of Congo and the International University of Brazzaville.
Vanessa is a non practicing lawyer with a specialization in International Criminal Law, and has been working for the past 4 years in the area of corporate communication. She also offers tutorials to law students.
Vanessa's commitment began at the age of 10 with the Local Committee of Democratic Children where she was already working for the promotion of Child’s rights. Based on her significant experience, she gradually integrated various NGOs and then actively engaged in student associations, where she has been using her potential and ability to inspire and discover a true heart for the causes of Congolese youth.
In 2013, she won the 2nd Women Activity Awards and later joined the National Youth Council as Secretary for Legal Affairs and the Pan-African Youth Union, as Administrative Assistant to the Vice-Presidency, Central Africa Region. In 2016, Vanessa had been shortlisted to participate in the highly competitive Mandela Washington Fellowship and attended a Civic Leadership’s 6-week training at the University of Kansas in the United States.
In addition, she participated in a 6-week internship at the NGO Mercy Corps where she conducted a research work on the role of youth in conflict prevention. Her participation in international conferences on youth issues and the YALI program have definitely boosted her commitment to Congolese youth’s empowerment, by organizing volunteer activities with students and idle girls in her community.
Once back home upon the completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she decided to set up LONA NGO, a framework for development and transfer of knowledge for the benefit of the young people, around topics that are relevant to leadership and civic engagement, education, reproductive health and well-being, entrepreneurship, female leadership and Sustainable development. Through workshops, Vanessa shares her experience with other young people and hopes to expand her advocacy for the implementation of youth rights across the continent, through the Young Leaders Legal Network. For the past 3 years, she has been working for the promotion of the socio-cultural, economic and political rights of young people and she is advocating for youth inclusion in the development’s process.
Vanessa's leadership is about inspiring, giving hope in return and realizing the full potential of everyone. She believes in the strength of community engagement and dreams for a better future for Africa. Vanessa thinks that change is possible and she works for it. "Failure is not an option for a YALI," she says. She feeds her dream every day and sows the seeds of change by accompanying youth initiative from across the Republic of the Congo and beyond.
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