Congratulations to the winner of the 1st ever Africa Peace Builder Award, Arielle Ahouansou from Benin.
How did you feel when you got the news of your nomination?
“It was such a feeling of honour, pride and satisfaction. Honour to know that I will have the privilege to represent my country for this prestigious competition, after having proven the growing scale of our local peace revolution. The satisfaction feeling came from the fact that every little of my effort in the past could been recognized and rewarded at that moment”
What challenges did you have in the campaign and how did you change strategy to secure victory?
“When I launched my campaign i automatically received support and congratulations of all my community on different social networks. I swore to myself that I would win to return this honour and joy to all of those people.The first challenge to which I was confronted to was that I was able to view the email which announced the beginning of the vote only 3 days after it was sent.That gave us a great disadvantage compared to the other contestants.
I had to campaign harder and put a lot more energy to balance the game.Secondly, I was confronted to maintaining stability through the seven days of the campaign despite several technical challenges such as internet dysfunctions, website traffic and mostly the power cuts.That was not easy but some meditation coupled to my willingness to win for my country were far greater than those issues. So i had the chance to benefit from the support of many volunteers who maintained our momentum during in the last four days of the campaign; a persistent campaign and leading to more people to continue voting. At some point, it wasn’t only about me anymore, but it became the work and the pride of a whole country; that permitted me to take for a second time the lead of the competition. It were many days of hard work for my team and myself. But we made it with love and passion.”
How do you feel now being the winner of this prestigious continental award?
I am grateful to God who permitted that victory.I am also grateful to that great community especially to my fiancé who supported me and permitted me to win, it’s a great sign of love and consideration . I am definitively aware of the fact that I have to give back to my community, by investing more of myself in that community in order to help them experience real inner peace. That will be my new commitment to let them know that they did right by supporting me like they did.
Arielle was able to successfully finished in first position with a total of 10,222 votes despite the challenges she faced like other nominees.Congratulations Vena Arielle Ahouansou!
Arielle AHOUANSOU is 23 years old medical doctor from Benin. She has a strong passion for leadership growth and has been working with Benin youths through the NGO she founded (REFELD BENIN) which has given educational materials to 2000 children through the project Illuminate Life of 2000 children.
In early 2014, Arielle was selected to join the 1st African Youth Amani Fellowship in Thailand but could not make it because she got robbed on her way from Benin to Nigeria for visa by road.Her passion for peace and sharing knowledge could not let her relent her efforts despite the awful incident. Hence in 2015, she organized a two days peace conference in Cotonou and Parakou bringing together 750 youths in the university to manage stress,stay peaceful and achieve academic excellence. She also organized the Benin Global Women Management Fellowship that was a two week retreat where 50 influential young ladies came together to discuss on the interconnection between peace and development.
Though being a student at the time, Arielle co-sponsored the local cost of organizing the peace events and even invited foreigner trainers to Benin that brought a paradigm shift from looking at peace from an outward perspective to looking at it from an inward consciousness.She had to overcome the barriers of financial constraints,introducing a new approach towards peace, language integration by the trainer whom French was not a first language and spending sleepless nights in a 10 hours bus drive just to ensure that the message of peace goes through.
Arielle believes that it is very important to encourage young people to see peace as not the absence of war but work collectively to build a culture of peace to ensure development since as the youths are the leaders of tomorrow.Her efforts to build a peace culture has reduced the tension that used to exist between the administrators and students particularly in the university of Parakou.