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Country of the Week: Côte d'Ivoire
August 29, 2017

Did you know that Cote d’Ivoire is the world’s largest producer and exporter of cocoa beans? Cote d’Ivoire is also the fourth-largest exporter of goods in sub-Saharan Africa, following South Africa, Nigeria, and Angola.

The country’s long coastline and dynamic trading history contribute to its substantial economy, as well as its vibrant culture. Nearly two thirds of the population currently engage in agricultural work, which plays a key role in transporting goods to neighboring landlocked countries. Musical genres in Cote d’Ivoire can vary from talking drums—an instrument constructed to mimic the tone and prosody of human speech—to strong, vocal textures consisting of multiple melodic lines.

Woman presenting in front of a class
Murielle attends a conference at the Institute of Women’s Education and TraininMurielle Aizan’s dream is to serve her community. // Cette photo à été prise le 9 mars 2017, lors d’une conférence que je dormais aux filles de l’Institut de formation et d’éducation féminine, mon but était de leur fais c

Cote d’Ivoire continues to prosper because of you, and other dedicated members of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Network. Your efforts are shaping peaceful and positive change, which is why we are excited to announce that Cote d’Ivoire is the YALI Network #CountryoftheWeek!

Keep reading for three inspiring stories from this week’s featured members.
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As a leader in Cote d’Ivoire, she credits the YALI Network for providing accessible resources and helpful races. “The YALI Online Courses helped me understand that I am a woman with potential, who has rights, who has the determination and will to be a leader,” she explains.

In addition, Murielle hopes to empower young women who struggle with self confidence. “[I want] to help young women understand that they are capable of many things,” she says, discussing a conference she recently attended at the Institute of Women’s Education and Training. Most importantly, she wants to share her own resolve to be an effective female leader with girls in her community.

Murielle, a YALI Network member in Abidjan, said:
“I have not yet worked with the YALI network, but it is my dream to do so, simply because I like to serve my community, YALI courses have allowed me to understand that I am a woman with potential, with rights, who are leaders and that all I need is determination, self-will. This day I give it to the girls in my community. “

Elle a pris beaucoup des cours de YALI Network et a participé en #Africa4Her 2017.[

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Kinanwlély Roméo Koné is deeply invested in his country’s development, encouraging men and women to create and build small businesses.

His own experience working in the private sector, as well as studying entrepreneurship at the Network’s Regional Leadership Center (RLC) West Africa, taught him to believe in Cote d’Ivoire’s youth. “I learn[ed] that young people can participate in their [country’s] development by creating businesses,” Kinanwlély says. He notes that with proper mentorship, young businessmen and women can achieve their goals.

YALI Network member, Kinanwlély, speaks about Cote d’Ivoire during a presentation at the RLC training.
YALI Network member, Kinanwlély, speaks about Cote d’Ivoire during a presentation at the RLC training.

Kinanwlély often speaks about how young people can make Cote d’Ivoire a better place and how the YALI Network can help people learn through a practical curriculum and useful resources. “I had the opportunity to share my YALI experience(s) with … participants, encouraging them to apply to the program and to get [involved] … through online courses and activities,” he says about a recent event he attended in Abidjan. “[Many] opportunities [were] offered to me thanks to the YALI Network, and, in return, I always encourage friends and people to become YALI [Network] members themselves.”

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Yao Williams Kouassi is passionate about sharing knowledge with other young leaders. He enjoys participating in YALI Network events where he can meet men and women with similar ambitions and interests.

Yao loves learning about human rights and gender based topics—two meaningful subjects featured in YALI Network Online Courses. “The [N]etwork permits [me] to read and watch videos about the issues I am interested in.” He and his peers share and discuss the courses and resources, while expanding their professional network. “It is a rich network in terms of knowledge acquisition.”

At a recent event, Yao and other members attended a workshop where they learned about their personal rights and connected with other young leaders. “It [was a] fabulous and awesome … day.”

Jacmen Kouakou has completed 11 YALI Network Online Courses covering topics from Focus On: Understanding Climate Change to Leadership: Strategies for Personal Growth and Development.

Yao Williams visits the US Embassy of Cote d'Ivoire to take part in a Human Rights conference.
Yao Williams visits the US Embassy of Cote d’Ivoire to take part in a Human Rights conference.

Jacmen focuses on sharing knowledge with his local community, and he has hosted several #YALILearns events. At his events, he brings awareness to issues like climate change, gathering nearly 50 young people to discuss the harmful consequences of a heavy ecological footprint. He also lead discussions about solutions, such as tree planting, which can mitigate the effects of climate change. “These events benefitted the participants, as they all engaged themselves for the betterment of the environment,” he notes.

During the first #YALIGoesGreen event, Jacmen hosted a group of people from his district as seen in the adjacent photo. “I [explained] the drawbacks on climate change and [gave] solutions to mitigate climate change effects.”

If you’re interested in getting involved in your own community, like the YALI Network Facebook page, and access free online trainings, virtual events, and more by visiting the YALI Network website.

Man teaching a group of students in classroom
Man teaching a group of students in classroom