VOLUNTEERS TUESDAY: MEET CONSTANT ODOUNFA

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Tell us about yourself

I am Constant Odounfa, a OneAfricanChild (OAC) volunteer from Benin Republic.
Willing to contribute to the improvement of policies in my country, I learned Project Management and Economics for my Bachelor degree, and I will graduate with a Master degree in Statistics and Economics during this year 2018.
I am passionate about everything related to problem-solving through projects because I think better policies, well planned and managed are essential to save us from wandering around in our development processes.
And please, see nothing political here. but I think good governance plays a key role in developing a country, and in a way or another, we can all contribute to it. For us youth, I see volunteerism and activism as excellent ways to improve governance and contribute to the development of our community.
When I have some free time, I like spending it reading and watching documentaries. I also, as I think most youth do, love travelling; sports too, volleyball for practice, and football for watching.

Philosophy

Three words: Never give up.
Many say it, but few really experience it in their life.
For me, you cannot expect life to give you a hand if you don’t give the maximum you have yourself. We should understand that opportunities are everywhere around us, and it is on us to know how to seize them, by our hard work and determination.
If we keep in mind that success cannot be an easy journey, when we happen to encounter failure, we will always find a way to try again. Trying again is not doing again exactly what you did to fail, but taking the time to reflect and think, find out what made you fail and design another strategy to start over.
Regrets come when you know you did not do your best toward your objective.
I am sure, for a lot of people, not many things are new here. But the day I REALLY started PRACTICING it, I understood that there is a difference between saying or knowing something, and actually doing it.

 

Likes and Dislikes

Likes
I said in introduction that I am a traveller in my heart. I also love children! For me, the genuine love parents have for their children, is the most beautiful thing to contemplate. Personally, the ability to make a child smile fills my soul with happiness. I think this is a huge reason why I joined OAC.
Dislikes
On the other side, everything that infringes peace and mutual understanding is a problem for me. This includes “kongossa”, lies and “bad belle” people. You can’t even think on your own development if you waste your time lying and putting your mouth in things that don’t concern you, only to divide people and create frustrations.
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Career Goals

 Apart from OAC, I am also a United Nations (UN) volunteer in a project implemented in Benin to improve sustainable livelihoods and increase resilience against climate change. So first, I will surely be an eternal volunteer.

Now, in whichever position I am, I want to be able to contribute to designing and implementing strategic policies to respond to the many challenges facing Africa. Whether at a community, national or a more global level. I want to see myself actively contributing to concretely solve problems, preferably in the fields of education and climate change.

I see myself working as a Project Manager or Development planner for a private or government organisation.

But also, I want to be in the consultancy world by running a consultancy firm in the fields of statistics, economics and IT. This, in order to give leaders the most accurate and well-gathered information to take the best decisions in managing their organisation.

 

How did you learn about OAC and what are your reasons for joining?

As I hope you know, Benin Republic is a French-speaking country. So, after my Bachelor degree, I went to Accra, Ghana in 2014, to improve my level of English.

There, I was invited with a friend interpreter, to an American Embassy’s event: the Tech Camp in Gimpa. To be frank, I was not (and am still not) a big fan of those meetings where people gather together and talk a lot without anything concretely impactful coming out from it.  We went though, but there I met tremendous people doing incredible things for their communities; amongst them was Victoria Ibiwoye. She talked to me about an organisation she was running in Nigeria and I promised her to go and visit its page on Facebook, which I did some days later. And there, I was astounded by what I saw them already doing in Nigeria.

A social and community organisation that doesn’t keep talking but works on the field, targeting children from disadvantaged communities, using education as a tool, and led by youth. After seeing this, I knew that I wanted to join. And believe me, these last years volunteering for OAC have had a huge impact on my life.

Experience so far

It has been a great and life-changing experience so far! I discovered a whole lot of things, including the courage to take responsibilities and to do your best to fulfill them. I learned that each of us can change the world at his or her own level and pace; but also keep in mind that to change the world, we should change ourselves first.

I learned that Africa needs all its children, well-educated and in a good physical and moral state, and we can provide that by doing it for one African child at a time.

Education is key to development, and youths are one of the most important, if not the most important, actors to improve access to that quality education. That is what my experience as a volunteer for OAC made me understand, through training, field projects, and community development activities.

 

Share your best moments with OneAfricanChild Foundation.

 

One of those moments that come to my mind now is when I organized the first training of OAC Benin here in Cotonou, for children in a public school, about self-awareness and leadership. I was so excited to finally bring to the field what I have learned so far, and after the session I couldn’t help but scream of joy when my attendees told me that the session was inspiring and that they would be coming for another one. And other sessions followed.

Also, I had the occasion to participate in two international meetings for OAC. The most impactful was the Global Citizenship Education workshop in Jeju, South Korea. I learned a lot there about GCED and ESD, and had the occasion to meet incredible people from around the world.

 

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What are your thoughts about OneAfricanChild Foundation in the universe?

I see OAC as the light that will spark change and love throughout the world.
We train children today, they will become adults and leaders tomorrow and will convey our values anywhere they go. We are also growing strong as an organisation.
We’re all set to change the world!

Concluding words

Sharing some thoughts with you guys and telling of my experience has been a great moment for me. Thanks to OAC, my family, for that occasion and I would like to say one thing to all my fellow volunteers: Keep shining, you’re all incredibly great for OAC, great for the world.
I love you.

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