Vanessa METOU is a Congolese lawyer in international criminal law and a youth rights activist.
She has been an activist from the age of 10, alongside the Local Committee of Democratic Children where she worked to promote the rights of the child. She gradually joined various NGOs and youth-led organizations.
In 2016, she benefited from the YALI (Young African Leaders Initiative) programme, which aims to forge an active network of young African leaders by providing them with six weeks of training in American universities. She was also trained in Civic Leadership at the University of Kansas State and worked with the NGO Mercy Corps in the United States, where she conducted a study on the role of young people in conflict prevention based on the case of the Republic of Congo. After these experiences, Vanessa Metou affirmed her commitment by participating in activities with young girls from her community. She wanted to give hope to the Congolese youth and to ensure the future of her country.
The NGO LONA (which means “sow/plant” in lingala) was founded in 2017, with the primary objective of promoting the well-being and development of youth by providing a framework for the development and transfer of knowledge for the benefit of young people, focused on leadership and civic engagement, education, entrepreneurship and women’s empowerment. In addition to these key areas, the NGO organizes awareness-raising activities in the fields of health, peace, justice and human rights. The objective of LONA is to structure itself, in order to obtain financing and to be able to evolve in its actions and become a real point of reference for entrepreneurship.
Vanessa advocates Pan-Africanism and sows the seeds of hope by inspiring an entire generation to be African makers. Her commitment to youth has given her the opportunity to represent Congo at various international meetings on youth issues.
She is the coordinator of the World Entrepreneurship Week in Brazzaville and current President of the YALI CONGO Association, she is also a member of the Advisory Council of Youth of the African Union since November 2018, where she advocates for policy makers across the African continent on the theme of “4 E”s – entrepreneurship, education, engagement and employment.
In 2013, she won the Women Activity’s Awards organized by the Association Femme Modèle, in the best student category. Then, she was elected Secretary in charge of legal issues of the National Council of Congolese Youth in 2014; she has been working for 9 years in the promotion of socio-cultural rights, economic and political concerns of young people and advocates for their voices to be heard. She was ranked among the 100 most influential young people on the continent at the 2019 African Youth Awards.
In March 2020, Vanessa did not hesitate to share her experience with about 75 young global personalities by participating in the Programme des Personnalités d’avenir of the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs.
Vanessa METOU holds a Licentiate in Law (Private and Public) from the Université Libre du Congo (U.L.C) in 2010 and a Master in International Law (International Criminal Law) from the Université Internationale de Brazzaville (U.I.B) in 2012.