The United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) reported around half of girls between the ages of 15 to 24 are illiterate, and four in five girls do not attend high school. Up to 40 percent of girls in Uganda are married before the age of 18. Around 10 percent of these girls are married before the age of 15.
Allowing girls to continue through secondary education significantly reduces the chances of early marriage and childbearing. In Uganda, teenage pregnancy rates are some of the highest in the world. Poverty is the largest contributor to low standards in girls’ education. Uneducated girls are highly susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases as well as other health complications.
NIDO's Black History Month Panel Discussion is a NIDO fundraising event that seeks to raise funds and awareness about the foundations of its global initiatives; the 4E's which include Education, Environment, Equality and Economy. Founder of NIDO Henry Lukenge builds schools, provides educational opportunities, and raises awareness to NIDO’s initiatives.
- Local Business Women
- Local Entrepreneurs (who recognize the value of education and its impact on Gender Equity)
- Finance Educators
- Finance Professionals
- Suubi Fusion Troupe (NIDO Students/Performing Arts Group)
Why does gender equality matter?
Gender equity impacts economic sustainability for all. A future of gender parity is one filled with abundance:
- Increased economic opportunities for businesses globally
- Solutions to a worsening labour shortage
- Diverse representation among political leadership
- Further innovation in the tech and startup industries
It all started with Mrs. Kalule's desire to find different ways for the youth she was sheltering to open up and share their experiences, however traumatic, so they could heal and move on. She had tried a few remedies from her work as a psychiatric nurse, but they did not seem to help, so thought of using African music and the sound of the drum as a starting point for story telling.
This humble start led to many discoveries about the difficult but hopeful lives of the youth she was supporting. Over time, she developed the shelter into Cambridge Secondary School, and with it came a music program.
The Suubi Fusion Troupe has blossomed into a full-fledged touring group which now has a full-time dance and music teacher. Talented music students who are able to access scholarships from the school and have earned the opportunity to perform in Uganda and internationally. The music program and its students were also the subject of a documentary that premiered at Canada's Grand River Film Festival. Henry Lukenge and NIDO has continued the work of his mom (Mrs. Kalule).
Music and Dance in Africa has been part of African culture since the beginning of time. In Africa, music is a language through which people communicate and the dance tells us stories that are part of our everyday life through movement, joy, sorrow, dreams etc. These are all powerful emotions that bring people together in all situations to celebrate, work, mourn, eat and live as a family. Before schools and institutions were built the history and knowledge of African people was preserved and passed on through songs, stories and dances from generation to generation. Africa is the continent with the richest cultural diversity, thousands of languages, tribes, food, fashions and music and dance draws deeply on these elements.
Anna Chowthi is the founder of Merge Project Management and Leadership (Merge PM&L), a technology project management consultancy supporting organizational-wide strategic technology initiatives and implementations in the non-profit and entrepreneurship space. She is currently the strategic implementation Project Lead at the Heart and Stroke of Canada driving the implementation of enterprise-wide technology and strategic initiatives, including a portfolio of digital and process optimization initiatives, as well as strategic implementations such as equity, diversity and inclusion action plans.
Anna currently lives in Toronto, Canada after immigrating with her family from Guyana at a young age. She’s the founder of Savouring the Indo-Caribbean, a digital platform that aims to support a thriving Caribbean community through positive representation, dialogue, community collaboration, advocacy and cultural education. She’s a Steering Committee member of the Indo-Caribbean Organizations Network (ICON), an organization aiming to serve the Indo-Caribbean community in unique ways through charitable and philanthropic initiatives such as fundraising, clothing drives and empowerment events.
She’s a writer and co-author of various books, including “Blooming Through Adversity”, “Two Times Removed: An Anthology of Indo-Caribbean Fiction” and “Two Times Removed 2: An Anthology of Contempory Indo-Carbbean Stories”. She’s the writer at Conscious Womaning, a platform and blog aimed to empower readers towards our highest potential.
For her professional, community and passion work, Anna was a nominee for the 2021 and 2022 Women of Influence RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneurship Award. She’s passionate about intentional leadership and social issues, and has spoken, hosted and facilitated various conversations through various events and programs, such as Conscious Leadership with Women of Project Management (WoPM).
Anna is a lover of food, hiking, travelling and anything that allows her to be creative.
Karen Francis is one of the founders and owners of, Segun Water Systems Inc. She has been active in the Water Purification Industry for over 10 years helping hundreds of homeowners and businesses with their water purification needs.
Prior to establishing Segun Water, Karen was a Marketing Executive and has served on multiple boards within various sectors.
Educating the public about the benefits of purified and contaminant free water is an issue she has actively incorporated into her business model.
In her spare time, Karen loves to travel, read, listen to music, entertain friends and family, and spend time outdoors. Another one of her passions is being a Foodie.
Margaret Hachey was previously the owner of Duocom Canada Inc. She founded the company in Toronto in 1980 and with organic growth and acquisitions expanded coast to coast. Its success earned it recognition as one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Private Companies, two years in a row. Chatelaine and Profit magazine recognized her over a 10 year period as ranking in the top 10 of the Top 100 Women business owners in Canada. A sought after keynote speaker, Margaret has addressed audiences across the country on various topics. Currently she owns Operation Evergreen Business Group and is the Managing Director for Ontario and Eastern Canada of GroYourBiz, peer-to-peer advisory boards for women entrepreneurs.
Cassandra Dorrington is leading the charge of championing business relationships and economic growth of the Canadian supply chain through the inclusion of Aboriginal and Minority suppliers, Cassandra has expanded the CAMSC brand, both nationally and internationally. This has resulted in significant growth and impact in the Canadian marketplace. Known for her business and community environment involvement, Cassandra has been named one of Diversity Canada’s Influential Women in Diversity and HR. She sits on the National Advisory Council for the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises (OSME) for the Government of Canada, Elevate International, and Dalhousie University Board of Governors. With approximately 450 certified suppliers, 85 corporate members and more than $7 Billion in diverse spend, CAMSC is a proud member of both Supplier Diversity Alliance Canada (SDAC), single voice for supplier in Canada and Global Supplier Diversity Alliance (GSDA), promoting supplier diversity globally with councils in Australia, China, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, and board member for the Canadian Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (CCSBE).
Charlene Forde, Owner/CEO of Melanated Vegan, is a vegan celebrity chef who creates mouth watering vegan food with a hint of Caribbean flavour. Charlene's culinary experience spans over 20 years and she has been cooking since the age of 12. With her passion for food, she loves to take traditional recipes passed down from her grandmother and veganize them. She's the author of "Hold On, Let Me Veganize This" cookbook, which has over 50 veganized Trinidadian recipes. Charlene's services include: Professional Athlete meal prep, Private in-home Chef Services, In-home cooking classes, special event and corporate catering. Her belief is, Health is wealth and that veganism is a lifestyle, not a diet.
Kamshuka is an award winning entrepreneur and author. A Certified Life & Wellness Coach with a journey as a war child survivor of the Ugandan civil war. Her purpose is to awaken the warrior within the people she encounters around the world. Her inspiration & influence is recognized internationally in the UK, Uganda, Atlanta and Canada. As the founder of “The Conscious Warriors” a wellness platform she is also the host of the virtual sessions “Masterclass with Coach Kamshuka”