Atlas Corps celebrates its 15th anniversary! It is time to celebrate the achievements of our amazing network of over 1,100 leaders from 110 countries and share stories on the global impact of our Alumni, Fellows, and Scholars.

Today we speak with Atlas Corps Scholar Mbivnjo (Cohort 2, Cameroon) from our Virtual Leadership Institute. Mbivnjo is passionate about public health and health policy. She works for the Association for Community Awareness (ASCOA), a nonprofit organization protecting the environment and improving people’s lives in Cameroon.

Thank you, Mbivnjo, for your work on improving public health, promoting peace, and protecting the environment in Cameroon. We appreciate learning about your impact and your personal and professional growth. We wish you the best with this impactful work!

Name: Mbivnjo Etheldreda Leinyuy

Home Country: Cameroon

Current Organization: Association for Community Awareness (ASCOA)

Role at current organization: Development and Fundraising Officer

Social Issues that you have worked with: Good health and well-being, Clean water and sanitation, Climate action, Life below water


Tell us about projects you have worked on?

At ASCOA, I write community projects and involve with editing website and newsletter content on issues related to health, peace promotion, environmental protection, child support, and women empowerment. In addition, I manage volunteers mostly obtained through the United Nation’s Online Volunteering platform and supervise students from local universities on internship at ASCOA.

In 2020, I moderated a series of webinars on “engaging volunteers and organizations in ASCOA’s trash-free coastline project” with presentation on issues such as “volunteering for real change” and “pollution control”. In 2017 and 2020, I was part of the organizing committee for conferences in celebration of the International Day of Peace. In 2017, the theme of the day was, “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All” with presentations on peace and development; peace and the family; peace and media; and peace and religion. In 2018, I was part of the environmental protection awareness campaign team. As part of the World Environment Day celebrations, we held a radio talk show on the theme: “stop pollution, protect our environment” at a local station called Media Afrique Radio Buea.

Mbivnjo—second from right—with students on internship after drills at ASCOA office as part of World Peace Day 2020

Why is it important for you to work with public health projects?

My main social issue of focus is health and health policy. I am convinced that health does not occur in isolation as the determinants of health are found across every other aspect of life (education, work, cultures, environment, climate, inequalities, peace, etc). Ultimately, I believe in health mainstreaming and until we start thinking of health outside the confines of hospitals/institutions, we will not make any progress. Therefore, I am interested in anything that will affect the health of individuals and communities directly or indirectly such as women/gender issues, environmental protection and peace promotion.

Furthermore, as a young woman who leaves about 25 minute’s drive from the Atlantic Ocean in a region of Cameroon that has been torn by conflict for 5 years, I have had first-hand experience of health as a function of a complex web of many factors. This is partly why I decided to extend my practice beyond the classroom (work as a Nurse Educator on full-time basis and volunteer for nonprofits on a part-time basis), to obtain a second master’s degree in public health and health promotion and to apply for Atlas Corps Virtual Leadership Institute. To me, capacity building/development for social change is key!

Mbivnjo—pictured seated—at radio talk show on environmental protection, World Environment Day 2018

How has Atlas Corps contributed to your professional and personal accomplishments?

My social capital had been greatly improved as I am now in touch with highly motivated social change leaders from all over the world. Through the Virtual Leadership Institute, I have learned about the logic model which I am using to explain the theory change for other projects in ASCOA and to boast the research proposal for my PhD application.

Lastly, my experience as an Atlas Corps Scholar has inspired me to refine my idea of establishing a Volunteerism Bank in the future which will link volunteers to nonprofits within their vicinity (showcasing and linking existing local opportunity to local talent).

What is your favorite Atlas Corps memory?

One of the founding principles of Atlas Corps that was re-echoed during the orientation module launch call was that “talent is universally distributed [but] opportunity is not”. I immediately identified with this phrase by not just acknowledging how talented I am but also the wealth of talent that is out there which I can build on and/or connect to. Also, self-compassion as an aspect of managing self is something I used to neglect as a social change leader. Now, I make a conscious effort to be kind to myself and to accept my common humanity.

Mbivnjo receiving an Outstanding Volunteer Award from Ann Griffith, North Wales Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner. Awardees group photo—second image.

What advice do you have for applicants and current Scholars?

Atlas Corps is an excellent continuous professional development opportunity for social change leaders. I would say, dare to expand your professional network and capacity to change the world! Maximize this career uplifting opportunity and let the individuals and communities you care about feel the impact of the transformation you have received from Atlas Corps.

What message would you like to send to individuals who support Atlas Corps?

I have observed that Atlas Corps is a big consumer of its own products; many of its very resourceful staff are Alumni. These Alumni are making significant and meaningful contributions to the advancement of Atlas Corps vision, which to me, is a great and living testament of the impact of the support you have been giving for the past 15 years. It also mirrors the tangible impact that other Alumni are making in other parts of the world and provides the reassurance that your investment in programs geared towards the resolution of pressing social issues is not in vain. Keep doing the great work!

On November 20, Atlas Corps celebrates 15 years of engaging social change leaders. Join us to honor our legacy of service with more than 1,100 leaders from 110 countries at the Atlas Corps 15-Year Anniversary Gala. We will convene friends of Atlas Corps from all sectors and regions of the world to reflect on 15 years of engaging social changemakers and inspire towards our future. Join to connect with our community, meet Fellows, and celebrate Atlas Corps!

 Photos from the personal archive of Mbivnjo Etheldreda Leinyuy