News — July 23, 2018

Sharing a Passion for Our Region: Vanessa Mbamarah Recounts Her 2018 JCI Africa and the Middle East Conference Experience

My name is Vanessa Mbamarah, Founder and Creative Lead at Ztallion — a Creative Digital Agency in Nigeria that has left a footprint in Cotonou, Benin. 

My first contact with the JCI team was when my agency was hired to consult and handle communications for the 2018 JCI Africa and the Middle East Conference. At first it was all work for me, but as the days went by I began to understand the core message of the conference and the JCI Mission. Apart from getting to know JCI members from all around the world, I couldn’t but notice how much effort each community and its members were contributing towards a bigger global impact and that for me was key.

Regardless of the fact that we have individual roles in creating more impact and advancing the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, I strongly believe collaboration is key to reaching the 17 Global Goals faster.

It starts with being able to see just how much we can do together by making a conscious effort to put our differences aside and build as one. This was part of the ideology at the 2018 JCI Africa and Middle East Conference in Cotonou, Benin whose theme was “Promoting the Global Goals through Active Citizenship.”

Some of the best experiences for me was the panel discussion on the second day of the conference that covered the conference theme. Panelists shared stories of people driving impact outside their local communities and gave an in-depth look at how we can take part in creating solutions that are sustainable worldwide.

At the Conference Assembly, I learned the importance of continuity — especially in managing leadership roles. The take away for me was the leadership structure which was all about focusing on the objective at hand, rather than the struggle for titles and position, which would mean creating a system that allowed for continuity.

Having moved to Cotonou as an orphan and experiencing the same challenges people face today due to lack of proper education, my company focuses on doing two things to help advance the Global Goals:

-Feeding less privileged kids in Cotonou as a way to help eradicate hunger.

-Providing digital skills training to less privileged kids, as a way to equip them for the future and increase their opportunities for future employment.

I had an amazing time working, learning and connecting with people that have a similar passion and vision as I do for our region at the 2018 JCI Africa and the Middle East conference. Even though I am not a JCI member, it felt good knowing that there are people who are actively trying to make the world a better place.

See more of my experience during the 2018 JCI Africa and the Middle East Conference by visiting the JCI Facebook page and looking through the conference photo album. Want to attend next year’s Africa and the Middle East Conference? Visit the JCI Events page and register for the 2019 JCI Africa and the Middle East Conference in Balaclava, Mauritius from 1–4 May.

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