AGE: 27
NATIONALITY: Cameroonian
EDUCATION: Masters in Bio Science| New Mexico Highlands University

Originally from Cameroon in Central Africa aged 27, Joannes is a Research Scientist by profession with over 5 years of research experience with focus on infectious diseases and cancer biology but in the course of his career, he actively gained interest in issues affecting young people especially women and girls worldwide. Joannes holds a BSc in Medical Laboratory Sciences from University of Buea, an MSc in Biomedical Sciences from New Mexico Highlands University and a Graduate Certificate in Public Health from the Medical College of Wisconsin USA. With his increasing interests in International and youth development, he obtained a diploma in Leadership Excellence from the Donahue Leadership Institute at the University of Massachusetts, a diploma in Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Social Change from the United Nations Mandated University for Peace, a diploma in Cultural Diplomacy and International Relations from the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy in Germany and is currently pursuing a graduate certificate in International Development.

Joannes comes from a family of 4 all boys and growing up as a child was challenging. His mother never got the best education because she was a girl despite the fact that she wanted to continue with her education. As a single mum, her major concern was the education of her children so she resorted into petite business so she could keep up with our educational needs because she believed Education was the only tool that could never be taken away from anyone. I still remember the times my twin and I would carry food to go sell in the bus station just to help our mum safe for our education but still we believed we could make it. During his undergraduate studies, he carried out a health study on the “Prevalence of Malaria and Helminthes Infections alongside Hemoglobin levels in school children of school going age” in a rural community in his village and he came across many children including orphans and those living with disability who looked malnourished and desolated not in school and learning and had to do something.

In 2010, Joannes founded HOPE for Children Cameroon, with one goal of educating every child, one school, one village at a time. Since 2010, his organization has provided tuition assistance to over 300 children while over 500 children have benefitted from school supplies in three schools in different communities. He realized that most children were falling sick while most girls stayed home because most schools lacked safe and clean pit toilets. To address this health challenge his organization with support from Selfless4Africa  embarked on the construction of three clean and safe pit toilets in 3 different schools which is currently serving over 1000 school children hence eliminating the practice of open defecation and ensuring that the health and immediate learning environment of these children is secured and safe. His organization has just finished constructing 2 more toilets in other schools that are in dire need which will be handed in September 2015. His organization is also working with schools to develop an educational needs assessment protocol which will be incorporated into the school curriculum to help children acquire more learning skills especially those with disabilities. Through his organization they are engaging men and boys through the “HeForShe” campaign an initiative of UN Women to be strong advocates for gender equality through awareness on the importance of girl education and ending child marriage.

Last March 2015, he was invited as a youth speaker on two high level side events namely: "Ensuring the Emerging leadership of African young women and girls towards Agenda 2063" and the second a press conference on “African women and girls speak on peace, security and development in Africa” jointly organized by the African Union and the UN office of Special Adviser on Africa on the heels of the just ended 59th session on the Commission of the Status of Women at the United Nations. As a Global Youth Ambassador for A World At School, an initiative of the UN Envoy of Global education since 2014 and with his demonstrated leadership and courage in the fight to get every child into school and learning, Joannes was honored as the 2014 Youth Courage Award recipient by the Office of the United Nations Envoy on Education from Gordon Brown.

Last September 2014. In May 2015, Joannes was named one of the 200 Young Leaders, a group of amazing, inspiring young people under the age of 30 working to build a world where the health and well-being of girls and women is a priority by Women Deliver which comes with a 3 year fellowship. In June 2015, Mr. Yimbesalu was one of the 60 young people selected to receive the first ever Queen's Young Leaders Award presented by her Majesty the Queen of England for his exemplary leadership and commitment in providing access to education to underprivileged children including children living with disability in his country of Cameroon. This award which recognizes exceptional young people aged 18-29, who are taking the lead and using their skills to transform the lives of young people while making a lasting difference in their own communities was presented to him by her Majesty Queen Elizabeth herself at Buckingham Palace. As part of this award Joannes benefitting from a unique package of training, mentoring and networking.

Joannes has also volunteered with the US Fund for UNICEF as the UNICEF Initiative Campus Club president at his university while educating, fundraising and advocating on issues affecting children worldwide. In 2013, Joannes was recipient of the Student of the Year Award recognizing his leadership and academic excellence during his graduate studies in New Mexico Highlands University and he is the first International student to have received this award. He currently serves as a member with the Clinton Foundation 20/30, a steering committee member on both the Canadian Society for International health as well as SustainUS. He also serves on the Global Citizenship Education Working Group on Policy, Advocacy and Communication by the Learning Metrics Task Force of the Brooking Institute convened by the UN Youth Advocacy Group, the Center for Universal Education and UNESCO. Joannes gained membership into the Carnegie New Leaders Program of the Carnegie Council serving as the ethical voice in international affairs through youth innovation. Joannes also served as a Clinton Global Initiative University commitment mentor for Infectious Diseases mentoring over 50 youths across the world with interests in infectious diseases. Joannes attended the first ever United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development, a network consisting of UN entities, whose work is relevant to youth also he recently attended the World Bank Group 2014 Youth Summit with focus on The Need for Open & Responsive Governments in Washington DC.

Joannes has presented at conferences such as the UNICEF Campus Initiative Summit  on Leadership and at the Millennium Campus Conference as a panelist on the “Advancing Education” workshop. Joannes also fundraises for several causes through several organizations such as “Live Below the Line Challenge” (which challenges people to live on less than $1.50/day in order to help raise awareness on hardships faced by those that live in extreme poverty) and the UNICEF Emergency Relief fund in which he raised over $1000 to help support victims of the severe flood that hit the Northern region of his country in 2012. Joannes believes that we can all make a difference and it’s not how much we give that matters but how love we put in the act of giving that matters. He hopes of an Africa with shared prosperity and gender equality. “There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children.” Nelson Mandela.

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