IVLP Impact Awards Perspectives: Stories of Inclusion Part III


Betty Nancy Fonyuy is an alumna of the International Visitor Leadership Program and a 2023 recipient of the IVLP Impact Awards for her project Advocacy Role of Youth in Human Rights & Rights of Persons Living with Disabilities. Meridian International Center, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, implements the IVLP Impact Awards Initiative. IVLP Impact Awardees from across the world administer community impact projects that build on their experiences and promote innovative solutions to shared challenges. The IVLP Impact Awards Initiative aims to engage alumni, strengthen global networks, and support lasting community impact.

Diverse Experiences and Expertise

I am a human and disability rights advocate, a Certified Behavioral Analyst, Speech and Language Therapist, and Special Educator with over 7 years of experience. Currently, I serve as the Director of Timely Performance Care Center. My passion lies in supporting vulnerable individuals in my community, and I actively engage through campaigns, outreach programs, and live videos on Facebook and TikTok. Holding a degree in Healthcare Management from the University of Zürich, I am committed to creating awareness about persons with disabilities and their rights.

I had the privilege of participating in the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), where I engaged in the impactful project Human and Civil Rights for the Marginalized Communities.  This experience was transformative, broadening my understanding of effective advocacy strategies and providing me with valuable insights into addressing the challenges faced by persons with disabilities.

IVLP exposed me to diverse perspectives and initiatives that broadened my understanding of effective advocacy strategies and innovative approaches to address challenges faced by persons with disabilities (PWDs). The life of Martin Luther King Jr. is an inspiration to me.  This experience has profoundly influenced my approach to advocacy and further fueled my commitment to promoting the rights of persons with disabilities in Cameroon.

Disability Rights are Human Rights

My IVLP Impact Award project Advocacy Role of Youth in Human Rights & Rights of Persons Living with Disabilities empowered young people in Cameroon to become advocates for the rights of PWDs. The project encouraged youth to be voices for PWDs in addressing challenges faced in accessing education, healthcare, and employment through training workshops and community outreach opportunities. This ultimately reduces PWD’s marginalization and enhances their contribution to society by promoting equality and inclusion. 355 youth participated in this 50-day advocacy campaign. During the final project ceremony, the U.S. Embassy of Cameroon’s Deputy Public Diplomacy Officer, Karen Tang, acknowledge the impact of this project, stating “Disability rights are human rights.” I leveraged connections from my IVLP experience to enhance my project with specific partner organizations like YAI: Seeing Beyond Disability, Center for Independence of the Disabled New York. I also stayed in touch with some members from The Arkansas Peace and Justice Memorial Movement.

Addressing Challenges in Education, Healthcare and Employment

The most pressing challenges in increasing inclusion and accessibility for the communities I work with include limited access to education, healthcare, and employment opportunities for PWDs. Addressing these challenges requires more funds for advocacy, awareness campaigns, and collaborative efforts to create an inclusive environment. My ultimate goal is to reduce the marginalization of PWDs and empower them to contribute meaningfully to society. Keeping in mind that human rights include disability rights under Article 10 of the Human Rights Act of 1998, advocates will restore the voice and the right to be heard for people with disabilities, thereby fostering inclusion, cohesiveness, and equality.

Betty Nancy Fonyuy was a participant on the IVLP Project Human and Civil Rights for Marginalized Communities, organized by the U.S. Department of State and World Learning. Learn more about her IVLP Impact Award project, Advocacy Role of Youth in Human Rights & Rights of Persons Living with Disabilities on our website.