New IGAD Youth Envoy to advocate for youth policies in the region

IGAD Executive Secretary Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu presenting first-ever IGAD Youth Envoy Sam Ogwal with his credentials./COURTESY

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has appointed Sam Ogwal as the IGAD Youth Envoy.

Speaking in Mombasa during the unveiling of the first-ever IGAD Youth Envoy, IGAD Executive Secretary Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu said the youth envoy will advocate for the youth agenda and policies in the region.

“When we talk about the youth in the region, we are talking about 70% of the population of the region, so definitely we are not only talking about the majority in terms of the numbers but in terms of all the other aspects of activities,” said Dr. Workneh.

The IGAD Youth Envoy will also link the youth in the region to decision-makers in the six IGAD member states.

“As a regional organization, one of the areas of IGAD’s intervention is building the capacity of the youth. When talking about women, working on peace and security, climate change, and other issues both nationally and regionally, it is impossible to do so without the participation and significant contribution of the youth,” said the IGAD Executive Secretary.

“That is why we are working on a youth policy, that we have communicated to our member states to have, a vibrant youth policy that goes with the agenda of the youth, “ he added.

Meanwhile, Sam Ogwal, the newly appointed IGAD Youth Envoy says he will use the position to bring the youth closer to the IGAD secretariat.

The Secretary for Finance in the Uganda National Youth Council said young people need special attention to be included in the democratic processes going on in their countries.

“IGAD itself is an Intergovernmental body that brings together member states to discuss the issues that affect the region and on several occasions the voices of the young people have not been recognised in these discussions. One of my key interventions is to work closely with the office of the Executive Secretary to ensure that the voices of young people are being discussed and are part and parcel of the IGAD framework and also the member states,” said Ogwal.

The other role of the IGAD Youth Envoy is to advocate for the implementation of youth policies supporting efforts among the six member states and building connections with youth leaders in similar platforms.

“The contribution of the youth towards the development of the region is something that cannot be ignored and an institution like IGAD’s role is to make sure member states agree on what is good for the young people and the community,” said the new IGAD Youth Envoy.

Sam Ogwal was selected through a competitive process which involved the six IGAD member states nominating a candidate.

“Through a critical, transparent, and merit-based process . The high level panel selected the most eligible candidate for this role,” said Siraj Fegessa, Director IGAD Peace and Security Division.

Also at the unveiling was United Nation Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa Hanna Tetteh who spoke on the benefits of good governance to the region.