One does not have to wait for the “right time” or have “enough money” to pay it forward. Becoming an agent of change requires one to look deep within themselves to discover what it is they can offer that can make a difference in their community, their country and the world. Truth is, there is never a right time or enough money, there is just an intrinsic motivation to make a positive mark on this world, and that does not have to wait for tomorrow. That is why in 2011, Papillon MDC Inc., while still in its very beginnings, launched a contest open to non-profit organizations aimed at promoting leadership development, and its impact on society. Every year, the winning non-profit organization would go on to receive up to $15,000 of Papillon MDC Inc. services.
A young leader promoting social transformation
In 2013, the winning non-profit organization BC-ONG located in the community of Sô-Ava, Benin, Africa, singled out one of their young leaders, Hyppolite Dansou, whom through hard work, ingenuity and personal initiative, was already making a difference in his community. BC-ONG is a non-governmental organization entirely run by young people, whose objective is to contribute to the development of their community through environmental, economic and educational programs. Under the leadership of Hyppolite, they have contributed immensely to the community development in Sô-Ava through various initiatives aimed at improving living conditions, education, as well as the local economy. Hyppolite also created the Collective of Civil Society Organizations in 2014, regrouping more than 60 NGOs located in the commune to ensure alignment of vision, actions and to leverage efforts across the community, thus significantly increasing the effectiveness and aligning governance across the community. Papillon MDC Inc. began to work with Hyppolite soon after the announcement and it did not take us long to discover that we had a found a true gem in him. We saw in him the potential to bring about real change in his community, and we made a conscious decision to work hand in hand with Hyppolite and his team of leaders, offering him leadership services to identify and develop talent as well as one-on-one executive coaching to support him in his decision-making process. Our decision to incorporate several leadership services far surpassed the prize outlined in the contest. Our time was not budgeted: When you work with meaning and purpose, there is no hard stop! In 2014, Hyppolite surprised the team at Papillon MDC Inc. by coming to Montreal. It would be an understatement to say that we were deeply touched by his presence. The truth is we were overwhelmed by his sheer humbleness, compassion for humanity, and a force of character to be reckoned with. He shared with us how his team has made tremendous progress in terms of decision-making capacity, collaboration, ownership of responsibilities, as well as a mind shift in seeing themselves as capable of leading his organization. He also shared with us how Papillon MDC Inc. helped him to develop a more robust process for succession planning and talent development in his organization. But, the story does not end here! In 2016, Hyppolite began his PhD., at Université Laval here in Quebec where his focus is to examine the impact of community participation in sustaining services implemented in partnership with organizations that aim to bring about true change in Sô-Ava. We have no doubt he will succeed and surpass expectations given his sheer resolve to do whatever it takes to document the best possible trajectory for sustained changes in communities. His research has benefits for other communities across Africa, with lessons learned for all of society. The entire team at Papillon MDC Inc. is proud to continue to support Hyppolite in his vision for himself and his community. In fact, Mirella De Civita, President of Papillon MDC Inc. was a member of his doctoral Thesis Project Review jury. We wish him continued focus and fortitude.
Watch Hyppolite Dansou’s personal testimony (French only):