Somaliland National Youth Organization (SONYO Umbrella)—which represents 50 youth organizations and 3 university student unions across all regions and celebrated for its 10th anniversary in 2013—managed to timely conduct its 7th GA Meeting. SONYO Umbrella is credited with relatively better transparency and accountability; timely elections for Board members; smooth transfers of leadership; and wider/nationwide geographical coverage of its services.
The SONYO’s 7th General Assembly Meeting was held in Hargeisa accordingly with the organizational constitution, particularly sub-articles of 8.5.1—2 and 8.6.1—4.
The objective of the GA Meeting is explicitly explained in the Constitution of SONYO. As per the desired outputs agreed during the opening event of the meeting, almost all milestones were achieved. The outgoing members of the Board were held accountable through hearings on their performance during their office tenure. The external audit reports of the years 2013, 2014 were also presented.
The Opening Ceremony of the GA Meeting were participated in full house by representatives of the Civil Society, private sector organizations, government bodies and funding partners of SONYO Umbrella. The leaders of the political parties, the Minister of Youth, Vice Minister of National Planning and Development, the Executive Director of Academy for Peace and Development (APD), the Chairman of SONSAF and other esteemed personalities were all present in the Ceremony—appearing at the front stage of the Conference Hall.
During the meeting, some of the debates—which were being observed by the voting delegates—got very heated to an extent that, in the 2nd day, the meeting got closed without electing the new Board of Directors (BoD). On the contrary of the preceding two GA Meetings, the Meeting took 4 days as other two days were needed for resolving the issues which hindered new Board elections in the 2nd day. However, most of the issues were resolved spending the whole 2nd and 3rd day. Delegates from 45 Member Organizations out of 53 current Member Organizations attended the 4th day sessions in order for them to elect the new 7th Board members including the Chair. Because of the afore-mentioned pity challenges, a meeting was extended and made 4 days. This one-day extra and break day served useful in providing a room for negotiations and open discussions for resolving the misunderstanding. After series of negotiations, mediations by the key stakeholders of SONYO including intellectuals, Civil Society actors, Ministry of Youth—which is the line ministry that partners with SONYO on the youth empowerment projects were observed, all issues were resolved through consensus, and as a result, a conclusion was arrived at. The conclusion was simply to remain stick to the Constitutional provisions in place. Page 2 of 2
In this regards, members taking part in the GA Meeting were strongly advised to continue the GA Meeting by moving it to the new SONYO HQ and Resource Center. In respect to that conclusion reached and in conformity to the Constitutional Articles 8, 9 & 10, the sessions of the last day of the meeting were held in SONYO HQ yesterday on 30th December, 2014.
Finally, a new Chairman and 18 Board members were elected with landslide majority. 66 members voted for Mr. Siyad Omar Ali from AYODA member organization based in Awdal region. Hence, the GA Meeting was officially closed with some remarks by the Outgoing Chair, Chairman-elect and the Minister of Youth of Somaliland. Following the GA Meeting, the new members of the Board including the Chairman-elect conducted their 1st Meeting in yesterday at the SONYO HQ.
This meeting had twofold objectives; to provide a fresh platform through which the new Board members can introduce to each other, and to elect the new Vice Chair among the members of the elected Board members as explicitly ordained by the Constitution of SONYO Umbrella. The new Board, being chaired by the Chairman-elect, Mr. Siyad Omar Ali, elected Mr. AbdiqaniMohamoudJiidhe. The Vice Chair is from LYVO member organization based in Las’anod, Sool region.
Resorting to the resource/expertise of the peer Civil Society actors, the outgoing Board and the Board-elect are currently busy with settling all conflicts/arguments that had arisen from the 7th General Assembly convention. Despite, the highly-charged atmosphere of the GA Meeting in which Board elections were held, SONYO proved that resilience and institutional majority have become stronger to withstand both internal and external shocks!
The Way forward:
Since SONYO Umbrella has managed to successfully host its 7th GA Meeting, the way forward is to sustain the organizational initiatives and provision of the services for the communities in need. After having the vacations of the New Year (2015) and the following off day of the birth of the holy Prophet Muhammad (SWT), the office will start its work on the 5th January, 2015. As per the Constitution, the transition of handing over the power to the new Board elect will take one full month. It is noteworthy that any unresolved outstanding issues will be reviewed and addressed accordingly by the new Board1.
1 As per the language of our Constitution or organizational jargon, SONYO Board is usually referred to as the “National Council”.
Eventually, our heartfelt thanks go to all our partners and collaborators and particularly those who supported us to successfully accomplish one of our 7th GA Meeting—which is a constitutional duty that we give our utmost considerations.
Confirmed for authenticity and official use:
Chief Executive Director
HQ Hargeisa, Somaliland