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Jessica Ornella Nett: Driving the WASH Subsector Through the Community of Practice

In the pursuit of impactful change within the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) sector, Jessica Ornella Nett emerges as a dedicated advocate and catalyst for progress. Originally from Cameroon, Jessica is an alumnus of the African Leadership Academy (ALA) class of 2019. Nett is currently charting her academic journey with a focus on International Economics in the Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service program at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar.

Published: 11 December 2023

Jessica’s academic pursuits are deeply intertwined with her passion for community service, knowledge-based learning, and a profound commitment to youth empowerment and education. Her journey into the WASH sector began during an internship with Kmerpad, a Cameroonian NGO specializing in Menstrual Hygiene Management. The experience unveiled the stark realities of inadequate WASH facilities in rural communities, particularly affecting girls. Witnessing the detrimental impact on education, health, and lives, Jessica recognized the broader implications for gender equality. Driven by a sense of duty, she is committed to making a significant contribution to the development of the WASH sector not only in Cameroon but throughout Africa.

As an ALA alum, Jessica appreciates the invaluable support received from the ALA network, including the African Careers Network (ACN), teachers, and fellow alumni, during her gap year and first year of college. The network played a pivotal role in providing assistance with essay writing, facilitating networking opportunities, and offering valuable advice and peer support. Reuniting with ALA alumni during internships or gatherings at Georgetown has become a source of inspiration and collaboration for Nett, reinforcing the sense of community and shared mission.

Looking ahead, Nett is actively engaged with the WASH Community of Practice (CoP). The CoP aims to create a vibrant community of young leaders dedicated to solving water and sanitation challenges across the continent through advocacy, community engagement programs, and the execution of innovative ideas.

Jessica envisions cultivating a collaborative environment within the CoP, empowering its members to develop projects directly addressing the WASH conditions in communities, with a special emphasis on rural areas, which are disproportionately affected by the existing gaps in the field. One of Jessica’s first activities as Lead has been hosting an interview on World Toilet Day – 19 November 2023 with Linday Stradley, co-founder of Sanergy.

In Jessica Ornella Nett, the WASH sector finds a determined and passionate advocate, poised to lead transformative initiatives within the African Leadership community and beyond, ultimately contributing to the broader mission of sustainable infrastructure development across the continent. As she continues her academic journey and community engagement, Nett exemplifies the spirit of African leadership, driving positive change for a more equitable and sustainable future.

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