Global Youth Innovation Network
My name is Amos A. Avoce. I am 22 years old and live in Parakou, Benin. I’ve been working with Phelps Stokes for about 10 months now. My partnership with Phelps Stokes began at a Global Youth conference for Innovation in Cotonou, Benin in 2011. President and founder of GIVE1PROJECT, Thione Niang, notified me of this opportunity and I ended up representing GIVE1PROJECT Benin at the conference. The 3 day conference was a fabulous experience. This was the first time I’d assisted at an international forum of this size.
I had the opportunity to meet and speak with many young people like myself at this conference. Since then, I’ve opened myself up to the world. Phelps Stokes’ workshop helped me realize that young people in developing countries have the opportunity to impact individuals on an international level. For example, I could utilize my skills at a local and national level. The opportunity that Phelps Stokes gave me allowed me to enlarge the scope of my skills to an international level. Since then, I’m been working with Phelps Stokes’ Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN) as the coordinator of the Youth Advisory Group. For the past 10 months, the experiences I’ve obtained through this position has changed my life and mentality.
My first challenge as the GYIN coordinator was the language barrier. I am a native French speaker. During my educational career, I made no effort to become proficient in English, Spanish, or Arabic. I work with GYIN, an international network whose first language is English. I am continuously collaborating with GYIN ambassadors from various regions of the world (Spain, Portugal, Egypt, Yemen). I am now attempting to become more proficient in English. Through GYIN, Phelps Stokes provided the opportunity and framework to learn this essential language.
My role in GYIN via Phelps Stokes also reinforces my skills in organization management and
youth networks. I am very passionate about organization management, a domain in which I hope to obtain a career. As GYIN coordinator, I am practically applying the skills necessary in organization management. But my experience with GYIN is different. It allows me to extend my expertise to the international level. My leadership skills and understanding of democracy and management on an international level where cultural diversity is an important fact has increased. This new position allowed me to better serve my community. With GYIN, we share successful experiences and reproduce them throughout the world.
Phelps Stokes has also given me the opportunity to expand my partnership network. Two examples include the strategic partnership between GYIN and the FIDA, in Rome on February of 2012. During this trip, I visited FIDA’s headquarters, had the opportunity to meet individuals
at this institution, discuss GYIN and establish future partnerships. The second example is Pape Samb’s (CEO of Phelps Stokes) arrival at Benin to introduce me to partners in Benin. Pape’s arrival allowed me to establish contact with the World Bank’s representative in Benin, the director of
USAID Benin, and the director of Songhai.
Finally, GYIN has given my community a success story and has encouraged many young people I know to become leaders. I always share my story in regards to GYIN and Phelps Stokes at various events, conferences, or leadership seminars that are organized by GIVE1PROJECT for youth. This inspires them and motivates them to take initiative in their communities and extend them to an international level. Phelps Stokes helped me impact the youth in my city, country, and in the rest of the world. I am very proud to work with Phelps Stokes.