Samson Haileyesus is a youth policy advisor and climate change activist.
Born in the Ethiopian touristic city of Hawassa, which is located 273 km south of the capital Addis Ababa, 26 year old Samson is passionate about advocacy for youth leadership, development and empowerment with experience in developing and managing various youth programs.
He holds a bachelors in Construction Technology & Management in the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development (EiABC), Addis Ababa University.
Having graduated in 2018 with an accredited certificate of Leadership from the Project Management Institute (PMI), Samson is preparing for a Master’s class in International Relations & Diplomacy to be started in fall 2020.
Samson started his volunteer and professional work with youth organizations in 2011 and served in many national and international youth organizations from membership to senior leadership representing Ethiopian youth.
These include; AIESEC, World Youth Alliance (WYA), Ethiopian Youth Federation (EYF), Youth Ambassadors Program (YAP), Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development in Africa (YALDA-AAU), Pan-African Youth Association for the Promotion of Peace and Unity in Africa (AJEPAX), Team 54 Project, A Common Word Among the Youth (ACWAY), and O-YES Global Foundation.
Currently, he serves in 2 professional positions (Executive Director of O-YES Global Foundation & Youth Policy Advisor in Youth Steering Committee) and volunteered as Deputy Country Director of International Youth Society in Ethiopia.
In 2019, Samson was recognized as a Global Goodwill Ambassador (GGA) for Ethiopia and winner of the Special Award of Books for Peace 2019, and recently I won the Policy advocate of the year Award on the Young African Leaders Summit (YALS2019). I am an AIESEC & YALI alumni & ACWAY Fellow.
Samson identifies unemployment and lack of entrepreneurial skills as the major issues facing the youth in today’s world. He said For African countries, youth represent a challenge as well as an enormous opportunity, particularly now, when populations in other parts of the world are aging. Young people, while needing jobs, are also critical in creating them.
He said the growing youth population has placed immense pressure on African countries to address youth unemployment, but their ability to generate employment among sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing is limited by infrastructure constraints. “The youth’s lack of entrepreneurial skills limit their ability to develop businesses that can generate employment and growth, and their lack of capital to exploit business opportunities limits their chances of starting and sustaining a business.”
He identifies Gender inequality, Political Instability & Conflict, Poverty and Illegal Migration as other issues facing the youth in recent times.
Samson says he is passionate about making a difference and therefore engages in various community and personal development programs to make this impact happen. He has therefore managed and implemented a number of projects & initiatives in the past 8 years, some of which include;
Sira-Tukole Project – In late 2014 he spearheaded the “Sira-Tukole” project, a regional youth exchange project between three East African Countries of Ethiopia, Kenya & Uganda entailed on training youth on leadership, entrepreneurship, and business development. The project which was funded by FK Norway (Fredskoprset) impacted more than 2000 young people in the universities of the 3 countries. Through the exchange, Samson and his team from AISEC managed to give opportunities for 8 Ethiopians, 8 Ugandans, and 5 Kenyans, in total 21 young Africans on a fully-funded exchange program for 9 months.
Youth 4 Peace – The Programprimarily seeks to promote the meaningful participation of youth in all spectrums of peace and security by engaging them as leaders, partners, and implementers of peace initiatives but also working to dissuade them from all acts of violence. The initiative was first launched by the African Union which was later managed by O-YES Global Foundation to restore the program which included 107 university students in Ethiopia.
Ethiopian Youth Entrepreneurs Fair – The Ethiopia Youth Entrepreneurs Fair (YEF) is a platform that will see Government bodies, Investors, NGOs, Universities, experienced entrepreneurs, new entrepreneurs, and over 300 youths to discuss issues and share their experiences on Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Ethiopia. The event is meant to promote an entrepreneurial culture among the youth by exposing them to the vast network of opportunities in Ethiopia. The event will have different Speakers share their experiences on Entrepreneurship and also talk about some of the challenges and how the youth can overcome them. The event will also have an exhibition for Startups and SMEs to showcase their products.
The Manifesto – Samson worked with more than 5000 youths across the world to prepare a manifesto of youth on climate change in which the document compiled & adopted at the 11th Conference of Youth (COY11) in Paris was handed to the COP President in COP21 conference on December 2015. This information was used as a manifesto and input of the youth to the COP21 Int. Climate Conference.
Green Environment Initiative – The initiatives main goal is to create awareness, share knowledge and build the capacity of youth on environmental protection. The initiative planted many trees in several schools by coordinating 82 high school students.
In his message to the youth across the globe, Samson says;
“I believe there is nothing we can’t do if we really want to do. if we came together to achieve a common goal like the SDGs.
Too often, many of us live with more awareness of our limitations than our potential. As a young person lets go out and try new things, it doesn’t matter if we fail or succeed. “We are not defined by our failures; instead we have to be empowered by them”.
We have to realize every day is a new day and ask what we can do with it?
The trails of yesterday are behind us. A new day dawns, and with it comes possibilities, chances for success, innovation and discoveries are abundant. The opportunity to be better than we were yesterday is right here, right now. The chance to change our community, our country, our continent and the world is right in our hands.
We don’t have another world in some other place, we need to take care of it, for this let’s work together to make sure the SDGs are achieved fully across the globe. By all legal means, let’s hold responsible those governments who are not working towards achieving the SDGs.
We are the world and the world is nothing without us.”