unctad.org | Djoulé Sabi Boum: From distance learning to sharing knowledge
Djoulé Sabi Boum: From distance learning to sharing knowledge
01 February 2016
Djoulé Sabi Boum
 
Djoulé was born in Boukousséra, a small town in the north of Benin. He spent his childhood in the countryside with his seven brothers and sisters. Djoulé remembers there was no drinking water there. "The water you could drink came from the marshes," he says. His parents were cattle breeders who decided to divide their offspring into three groups: the first would take care of the livestock, the second would work in the fields and the third would go to school. He was part of that third group - so he would learn to read and write.


At 36, Djoulé is today the happy father of a 4-month-old baby. He knows the value of studying and that education can change a life.

His first dream was to become a journalist. Life's path took him elsewhere, though. While Djoulé began his professional life as a French teacher, he pursued his career in the private sector, which led him towards law - and to the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Benin. He works there now as a legal adviser to the Minister. Over the course of a few years, he has seen many ministers come and go, but he has stayed in his position, as solid as a tree. "When I was newly appointed to the position of technical legal adviser, the colleagues with more seniority did not trust me. They thought I was very young and inexperienced," he says.

In 2014, Djoulé took a long-distance training course on legal aspects of electronic commerce organized by the UNCTAD Information and Communications Technology Analysis Section and the TrainForTrade Programme. The course turned out to be very interesting for him. He became familiar not only with practices, but also the legal side of trade. "With the Internet, there are no borders, so you have to ask yourself which is the competent jurisdiction." Djoulé tries to convey the knowledge he gathered in the course to his colleagues in order to improve the quality of their work. "You need to apply knowledge to reality. Before this course, I did not have that basic information. Now more than ever, I would like to continue my training."

Having contributed to settling many legal issues at the Ministry, Djoulé shares his enthusiasm: "I have gained confidence in myself. I stay calm and collected because I know that I have the tools needed for work. Because of my accomplishments, I am very much in demand at the level of the Ministry, including for cases that involve sectors other than mine." A passionate professional, Djoulé is convinced that the tools acquired through that initial UNCTAD course allowed him to improve his performance.

"I am sure of what I say at work because it is based on verifiable technical and scientific elements. So I know the Internet uses a special language and responds to a particular set of rules. It is an infinite source of knowledge. Nowadays, resorting to the Internet is natural, and I discover new information every day. For instance, I have met with some technical advisers from other ministries to teach them how to prepare case briefs. I understand today that 'nothing is lost, nothing is created, but everything is transformed'. I have taken several long-distance training courses through the UNCTAD TrainForTrade Programme that have truly given me a taste for searching on the Internet. I have more tools to address issues, I feel I am thriving and I have earned the trust of my colleagues."

These days, Djoulé's path is full of expectations. New trees, as steady as he is, are growing to strengthen the institutional capacities of his country.

Djoulé Sabi Boum


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