Participating in the IVLP gave Joannie the opportunity to interact and share innovative ideas and best practices with professionals in the United States, but also with other young emerging leaders from the continent.
“I enjoyed making connections with other young African leaders who all have a development vision for Africa by Africans,” says Joannie. I’m in contact with all of the delegates. I think we are a strong network that can positively change Africa in the coming years.”
“I am now more aware of the change that can happen, as either a physician or a public-service leader. This program keeps me inspired. I’m already thinking about many activities I can apply in my community.”
Since her IVLP, Joannie has continued to make inroads in her country. As part of the Beninese State Alumni community, she contributed to the “Empowering Pre-University Women to Choose Scientific Subjects” proposal, which won a State Department’s 2012 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) grant, and through her civic engagement and professional training, she has made an impact upon more than 5,000 girls and young women entrepreneurs in Benin. Joannie is also the first female president of the U.S. Ambassador’s youth council in Benin, where she will advise the U.S. Ambassador on critical youth issues and suggest innovative solutions.
“We don't have to wait for every solution to come from Europe or the U.S.,” says Joannie. “I think we have to become a strong Young African Leaders network that can impact other young leaders in our communities.”