Renowned Senegalese musician Youssou N’Dour has temporarily stepped down from his role as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as he embarks on campaigning as a candidate in his country’s presidential elections, the agency has reported.
According to UNICEF policy, politicians or those seeking public office cannot serve as Goodwill Ambassadors for the organization, the agency said in a statement issued yesterday.
The agency expressed its gratitude to Mr. N’Dour for his involvement in UNICEF’s work, most recently his meeting with children in the Dadaab refugee camps in north-eastern Kenya in September, when he heard heart-rending stories of suffering from some of the hundreds of thousands of people who sought assistance in the camps after fleeing famine, drought and insecurity in Somalia.
“UNICEF thanks him for his over 20 years of service in making a real difference in children’s lives around the world,” the agency said.
Mr. N’Dour was appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1991. “I want to use my voice to break the silence of suffering children,” he said on his appointment.
He provided support to UNICEF’s efforts, especially in Africa, where prior to becoming a Goodwill Ambassador he was already helping to promote immunization campaigns in Senegal. On the year of his appointment, Mr. N’Dour attended the first symposium of the Organization African Artists and Intellectuals for Child Survival and Development, set up by UNICEF.
As a committed anti-malaria activist, he also created Senegal Surround Sound, an initiative that combines the influence and power of the entertainment industry, media, marketing and political assets to reach individuals and communities with anti-malaria education and activities.