Welcome to March!
Our Young Person of the Month is Gimnez Patrick Matsouela from Congo! Gimnez Soungou volunteers as the Executive Secretary and ICT Manager at Leadership Entrepreneurship and Business (LEB) Congo; an NGO committed to decreasing the rate of youth unemployment. He previously served as the Vice President for Uprising of Fire Club (UFC), a local NGO which promotes education through free English language training for young people. He is very passionate about education and social entrepreneurship.
Patrick Matsouela is an alumnus of the YALI East Africa Regional Leadership Training Centre, and he is also the 2017/2018 Opportunity Desk Impact Challenge (ODIC) first place winner. Read his incredible story below and be inspired.
GIMNEZ PATRICK MATSOUELA
Gimnez Patrick is a passionate Congolese entrepreneur and a business strategist. His passion for tackling youth unemployment began during his studies at Marien Ngouabi University where he was pursuing a course in Environmental Management. He observed most of the fresh graduates solely relied on the government to get jobs. Even his parents urged him to go to school and get good grades so he may work in the public service sector.
After Gimnez Patrick graduated, his country, Congo, began facing an economic crisis. Both the private and the public sectors stopped recruiting recent graduates, and the rate of youth unemployment raised exponentially forcing many young people to leave their country. At first, Gimnez did not have a clear vision of the path he was taking. But after he studied leadership, business and entrepreneurship at the YALI East Africa Regional Leadership Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, he decided to take action for his beloved country. As a result of the training and together with other three outstanding YALI alumni, Gimnez Soungou co-founded LEB Congo which equips and trains people in leadership, business and entrepreneurship.
On success and plans
Between March 2017 and January 2018, LEB Congo has successfully trained and equipped approximately 1000 young people with practical skills in business, leadership and entrepreneurship. The trainees, in turn, create employment opportunities for others.
LEB Congo remains true to its commitment to breaking the cycle of unemployment in the Republic of Congo. By 2021, LEB Congo envisions having trained more than 12,000 young people in the 12 departments of Congo as well as providing funds to young people who have the best community projects. They also envision having the consulting firm with branches in Senegal, Equatorial Guinea, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Togo.
On overcoming obstacles
When Gimnez Patrick was beginning the venture, he greatly feared failure and lack of funding. However, perseverance, courage, motivation and determination helped him overcome these obstacles. He coins Brian Tracy’s quote, ‘Everyone is afraid, but a leader is a person who masters fear and acts in spite of it’ and explains that it fueled him to go the extra miles. To overcome his fears, he did the things he feared most, and it helped him. His mentor showed him how funding is never a problem when you are passionate about a project.
His words of advice to young people intending to do impactful work in their in their communities
Gimnez Patrick firmly believes today’s young generation is the most powerful generation in the entire human history. He describes it as a generation which is empowered to change status quo and paradigm.
He advises young changemakers not to be worried about funding when beginning their projects and emphasises the importance of keeping company with people who have a purpose.
“The future depends on you. You cannot give up now. If you have belief, want and act, you will accomplish great things. Nothing is impossible when you believe. Therefore, believe in yourself as well as in what you do. No matter how clever you are, be humble, network and collaborate with others who do the same thing as you because networking and collaboration are essential tools for solving the most pressing global issues. If you are still hesitating on bringing change in your community, you must know that the best ideas are found in the graveyards. Nobody is going to do your work, start acting now! ”
Who will be the Next Young Person of the Month?
You can be the next Opportunity Desk Young Person of the Month! All you have to do is get a friend to recommend your work or fill out the nomination form here. We want to use the platform to recognize and celebrate the efforts of amazing young people around the world. O! And you must be an active Opportunity Desk member, either as a fan, reader or subscriber!
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