Given the predominance of child labour in Africa and most especially Cote d’Ivoire, several international conferences and committees have been set up to draw up plans that will assist in putting an end to these activities. These steps will not be complete without the touch of a mother who is directly affected by the negative conditions and wellbeing of children. It is based on this fact that the First Lady of Cote d’Ivoire Madame Dominique Ouattara, has exhibited the qualities of a true mother by spearheading the fight against child labour in her country.
Dominique Claudine Nouvian Ouattara was born on December 16th, 1953 in Constantine. Originally, she is from France and Côte d’Ivoire. Following her High School Diploma from the Academy of Strasbourg, she holds a University Diploma (the equivalent of a Bachelor) of Languages specializing in Economics, from the University of Paris X. Her studies have successively been crowned with a Diploma in Property Management (Paris-1987) and a Real Estate Expert Diploma in Paris in 1989.
On the accession of her husband to the Presidency of Côte d’Ivoire, Mrs Dominique Ouattara gave up her brilliant international career as a business operator to exclusively serve her adopted homeland. First Lady, Protector of Ivorian Childhood, Advocate for Women’s Rights, Dominique Ouattara shares since 1989 her brilliant international business operator career with humanitarian missions in Côte d’Ivoire and provides help and comfort to the underprivileged populations in the remote areas of the country.
Madame Ouattara created the Children of Africa Foundation in 1998 to improve the living and health conditions of African children. With the support of Ivorian and international personalities, the foundation helps and supervises thousands of poor children and women in Africa and particularly in Côte d’Ivoire.
On September 12, 2017, Mrs Dominique Ouattara received the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Portugal from President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in recognition of her many charitable actions in Africa.
In Côte d’Ivoire, the foundation works hard to tackle challenges faced by women and children. The outcomes of its sponsorship in favour of Ivorian children and women include:
- The fight against child labour – Appointed in November 2011,
President of the National Oversight Committee of Fight Actions against trafficking, exploitation, and Child Labor (CNS) she has supported the development of the National Action Plan 2012-2014, which aims to eliminate child exploitation and which must reduce in Côte d’ Ivoire, the worst forms of child labour. In June 2012, the report of the U.S. State Department on the fight against trafficking in persons, reclassified Côte d’Ivoire in Tier 2, indicating the progress made in the fight against abusive child labour
- An ongoing Support to women’s economic empowerment in rural areas.
The First Lady has created a Support Fund for the Women of Côte d’Ivoire ( FAFCI ), to finance the micro-projects. The objectives of this fund are to improve women’s income, facilitate their financial independence, and strengthen entrepreneurial skills while fighting against unemployment. 115 000 women have received this fund already.
- Construction of a mother/child hospital: Against the difficulties of access to care endured by women and children in Côte d’ Ivoire, Children of Africa Foundation has built the Mother / Child Hospital of Bingerville. This hospital has 120 beds, and it is intended to contribute to the reduction of maternal, newborn and child mortality while at the same time introducing measures to reduce HIV infection rates from mother to child.
- Management and Promotion of the Fight against mother to child transmission of AIDS: Mrs Dominique Ouattara actively supports all local, regional and international initiatives, Programs for the Prevention of AIDS by participating personally in the activities of relating organizations including membership to of First Ladies’ International associations: the Organization of African First Ladies against AIDS in 2011; the African Synergy Association, as well as the participation in a meeting of First Ladies in Deauville, France in May 2011. Her active participation in the meeting of the First Ladies of the sub-region in Mali, in October 2011, demonstrates her commitment to fighting against the scourge in Côte d’ Ivoire.
Before devoting herself solely to Côte d’ Ivoire, the brilliant career of Dominique Ouattara as an in international business includes the following positions:
- Creation of the Malesherbes Gestion, Cabinet Parisien of management consultancy of joint ownership.
- CEO of the AICI international (international real estate group), (International Properties Marketing Agency) which she created in 1979 and which is located in several cities in Africa and Europe (Paris, Cannes, Abidjan, Yamoussoukro, Libreville, and Ouagadougou).
- President & CEO of EJD Inc., Management company of the Jacques Dessange Institute and acquisition of a DESSANGE franchise in the United States followed by the election as CEO of the “French Beauty Services, Inc.” company.
- Elected in 1989 Honorary President of the Chambre Syndicale (Union House) of Côte d’ Ivoire’s Realtors (CSDAIM)
- Honorary President of the Chambre Syndicale (Union House) of the Realtors Côte d’Ivoire (CSDAIM) elected in 1989.