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IGAD appoints youth envoy to incorporate inclusivity

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has appointed its first-ever youth envoy with the aim of making the organization more youth-inclusive.

Speaking during the IGAD Governance 2023 conference and official inauguration of the new envoy in Mombasa, the organization’s Executive Secretary Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu said that the youth make up approximately 70 percent of the total population in the region.

This makes them an integral part of the society, which IGAD is privy to, and has taken the deliberate step to fully include and involve the youth in running the affairs of the region as active stakeholders.

“IGAD as a regional organization is dedicated to building the capacity of unique populations such as the youth and women in our region to get them on board in key matters affecting our region including peace and security, climate change and other pertinent issues,” said Gabayehu.

He added that IGAD is in the process of formulating a youth policy and has communicated to member states to hasten the process.

The Executive Director said as such, the new office of the youth envoy will be better placed to articulate the challenges, successes, and opportunities that cut across the region.

“We are institutionalizing the issues of youth inclusivity, member state governments and partner organizations should take the charge to spearhead the interests of youth to exploit their full potential,” he added.

The three-day conference has drawn delegates and participants from member states and strategic partners to deliberate on key issues surrounding the region with a focus on the adoption of the IGAD regional gender strategy and IGAD regional action plan on women, peace, and security (WPS).

Sam Ogwal from Uganda is the pioneer holder of the first youth-led office at IGAD and will take up key roles and responsibilities the Authority has earmarked to be a niche that the youth across member states resonate with.

Ogwal said that he is up to the task of taking up the responsibility of augmenting the voices of the youth and clamoring for their rights and needs.

He said that through his new role, he will tackle the challenges that are synonymous with youth across the region and find long-lasting solutions that will go a long way to benefit the youthful population.

He added that he bears the responsibility to ensure the region’s young people are part of the institution and are included in the discussions that form the basis of decision-making that in -turn shape the region in general.

“This is a new and exciting journey that will see the youth included in the decision-making table to pronounce the issues we face including the proverbial gender-based violence, access to justice, peace, and security among other related agenda,” said Ogwal.

By Andrew Hinga and Chari Suche

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