Joannes Yimbesalu

Joannes Yimbesalu - 2017 Nominee
Position: Research Assistant
Organization: WHO/World Vision Niger
Current Location: Canada, North America
Graduate Diploma from International Development, University of British Columbia
Additional Degrees and Certifications:
2017- Masters in Leadership and Community Engagement, York University, Canada (Ongoing)
2016- Diploma in Entrepreneurship, Judy Business School, Cambridge University, UK
2014- Certificate of Public Health, Medical College of Wisconsin, USA.
2013- Certificate Diplomacy, Institute Cultural Diplomacy, Germany.
2012- Certificate Social Innovation, UPEACE Costa Rica.
2011- Certificate Leadership, UMass Donahue Institute USA.
2011- Masters of Science, Biological Sciences, New Mexico Highlands University, USA.
2008- Bachelors of Science, Clinical Laboratory Sciences, University of Buea, Cameroon
Awards Received:
  • Award:
    Emma Watson’s Tribes Scholarship
    Awarding Organization:
    Emma Watson
    Date Awarded:
    July 25, 2016
  • Award:
    Queen Elizabeth’s Young Leaders Award
    Awarding Organization:
    Queen Elizabeth of England
    Date Awarded:
    July 22, 2015
  • Award:
    Young Leaders Program Fellowship
    Awarding Organization:
    Women Deliver
    Date Awarded:
    August 1, 2016
Joannes, an Emma Watson Scholar on gender equality and a Women Deliver young leader currently serves on the Youth Advisory Group for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and a speaker with the Champions bureau program of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada – Nominator
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

Our “School Toilet Safe Lives” initiative through Hope For Children Cameroon,an NGO I founded in 2011 provides access to clean, safe toilets and menstrual ed programs and serving over 1000 school children. More girls stay in school thus curbs early marriages. UN Women as one of their first IMPACT stories featured my work on gender equality since the launch of the “HeForShe” Campaign. My time in Niger, one of 35 crisis affected countries was a nightmare as it faces a huge humanitarian crisis caused by increased food security,malnutrition,population movements, epidemics and natural disasters which has displaced over 300,000 people mostly women and girls. Niger’s high fertility rate, at 7.6 births/woman, has exacerbated the out-of-school crisis and puts lots of strain on basic health services

What sparked your passion for family planning?

Cameroon just like many other countries is plaque with all forms of diseases particularly HIV/AIDs, Malaria and Tuberculosis which continue to claim millions of lives. In 2007, while carrying out a research study on “Prevalence of Malaria and Helminthes infections alongside Hemoglobin levels in school children in Belo, I came across Mary, about to give birth to her 10th child, very ill and never attended any antenatal clinic. She had only 4 surviving kids while the rest had died. This sparked me

Give one or two examples of how you display leadership in your family planning work.:

As a HeForShe advocate, I engage men and boys on family planning awareness programs as they mostly the ones who make family decision in patriarchal societies like mine. I am part of a study on "Role of School Health Promotion and Prevention: A Multiple Case Study in Francophone African Countries exploring planning and implementation experiences of School Health Promotion/Prevention Program in Francophone Africa as a strategic Mobilization and use of resources available at Community level.

If you are named a winner of 120 under 40, how will you use this new platform and the $1000 grant to advance your work? :

With this grant, I plan to train 10 women in rural Cameroon on family planning programs who will act as ambassadors in their community to help educate women on their basic rights and the decisions they can make ensure the health and wellbeing of their families and households. These women will also engage young men and boys on their role in promoting family planning in their households as well as breaking down certain stereotypes that have long affected the wellbeing of women and girls

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