Rehmah Kasule – 2021 WIA54 Marraine East Africa

Rehmah Kasule is a Senior Fellow of the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative, and the Founder of CEDA International in Uganda and the USA. She is a civil society champion, social innovator, gender and youth development expert, and serial entrepreneur who started her marketing business at 26 years. In 2007, she shifted from building brands to shifting mindsets by founding CEDA International, a nonprofit that builds generations of ethical and values-based leaders and entrepreneurs. Her work has skilled and mentored 168,000+ youth and women across Africa and was recognized by President Barack Obama. Rehmah is a Let Girls Learn Global Ambassador, a winner of the 2014 Fortune-Goldman Sachs Global Women Leaders Award, and the Islamic Development Bank Women in Peace and Development Award.

With a 25-year solid track record, she possesses 360 degrees of work experience as a serial entrepreneur, a social innovator, a strategic leader, and a consultant. She has mobilized cross-sector strategic partnerships and supported businesses to build stewardship, leadership, and management systems for growth, competitiveness, and sustainability. Rehmah has delivered strategic planning, private sector development, policy, and gender mainstreaming consultancy for the United Nations, African Development Bank, and International Trade Centre. Rehmah led the designing of the Uganda National Export Strategy – Gender dimension to mainstream women in the export sectors, which enhanced inclusive growth and increased women’s participation in traditionally male-dominated exports. She has a wealth of expertise in mentorship, executive leadership development, resource mobilization, diversity and social inclusion, and branding and communication.

With a passion for girls’ education, gender equality, the future of work, financial inclusion, racial equality, and social innovation, she serves as Judge for the Harvard Social Innovation Funds. She is also a Judge and Capacity Development Advisor for the MacArthur Foundation 100&Change, a $100 million competition to help solve a critical social problem. Rehmah serves on corporate and non-profit organization boards such as World Connect Inc. USA, StrongMinds USA, and Pangea Education Foundation.

Rehmah is an author of the book “From Gomba to the White House,” co-author of Sheroes of COVID-19, and a contributor to Leading Educational Change During a Pandemic: Reflections on Hope and Possibility by a Harvard Professor, Fernando Reimers. Named one of Africa’s most influential women in government and civil society by CEO Global in 2016, she is a key convener, knowledge broker, and facilitator of gender empowerment and the future of work high-level policy discussions in Africa.

A graduate of Peace, Conflict, and International Development from the University of Bradford, Rehmah is a Synergos Senior Fellow, Vital Voices Fellow, KAICIID International Fellow, and an Aspen Global Leaders Fellow. In 2019, during the yearlong fellowship at Harvard University, she innovated the PLUS+AFRICA Linkubator. With an audacious goal of creating 1 million employment pathways for youth, this social venture mentors and skills young people links them to opportunities and collaborates with the private sector and governments to strengthen the education-to-work and entrepreneurship eco-systems in Africa.

Born a village girl, she refused to become a village woman in rural Uganda. A critical thinker, thought leader with an entrepreneurial spirit and impeccable integrity, Rehmah strongly believes that quality education breaks intergenerational cycles of poverty, and she is committed to changing trajectories – one life at a time. 

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