International children’s charity COCO (Comrades of Children Overseas) and Newcastle University Business School teamed up for a special event to mark International Women’s Day.  The two organisations brought together inspirational women from across the North East to celebrate their success and to look at how to achieve greater gender equality for women and girls, both here in the UK and overseas.  The #BalanceForBetter event took place on Friday 8 March.

Guests at the event heard from esteemed communications specialist Susan Wear, and Louisa Rogers, founder and CEO of online marketplace TrendListr.  Susan began her career as journalist and has gone on to have a hugely successful career in communications.  She is particularly known for her key roles in the development of city brands and stakeholder engagement with major companies.  She was most recently director of corporate affairs at the Port of Tyne and is now an independent consultant still focussing on areas that support the economic growth of the North East region.  Meanwhile, Newcastle University Arts, Business and Creativity alumnus Louisa has seen TrendListr, a curated online marketplace for vintage and pre-loved clothing, go from strength to strength since its launch in 2017.  The business was recently listed in the Chronicle’s 19 to watch in 2019 list.

Joining Susan and Louise on stage was COCO’s East Africa director, Oswin Mahundi.  Oswin grew up in an impoverished area of southern Tanzania where he struggled to access education. Undeterred, Oswin worked hard to gain education to improve his and his family’s circumstances.  He founded The Hoja Project in 2004, which is now COCO’s main project implementation partner in Tanzania.  The Hoja Secondary School was then developed, the graduates from which have achieved the highest results of 192 schools in the region for the past six years.  During the event, Oswin shared stories of the many inspirational women and girls who he has worked with in Africa.

The event coincided with International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

Lucy Kendall, CEO of COCO, comments: “We were delighted to team up with Newcastle University Business School for the second time to host a special event to mark International Women’s Day.  It is always a fantastic celebration of successful women in the world of work here in North East and overseas, particularly in East Africa where much of COCO’s work is focused.

“We were delighted to have Susan and Louisa on board to share their own inspirational stories of success and Oswin gave a brilliant insight into some of the challenges that women and girls have overcome in East Africa, partly with support from him and the COCO team.”

To find out more about the work of COCO visit www.coco.org.uk, find the charity on Facebook or follow @COCO_Charity on Twitter.