On the 24th of January 2013, TASO’s first-ever Corporate Executive’s Luncheon took place at the Protea Hotel in Kampala, Uganda. This inaugural event was well attended by a thorough cross-section of representatives from TASO’s expansive network of corporate partnerships. In addition to the literal pantheon of executive attendees, a strong media presence looked on alongside a wide array of TASO staff and stakeholders.
Throughout the event, a celebratory mood commemorating TASO’s 25 years of service in HIV prevention, care and support actively intertwined with the luncheon’s theme of “re-engaging corporate partners in the fight against HIV.” The objectives of providing: a platform for networking, an opportunity to share experiences, time to reflect on HIV prevention and mainstreaming, and an avenue for mobilizing further leadership engagement were all met with great vigour as the imperatives of corporate responsibility were aptly summarized and subsequently broken down into a self-preserving model of reducing operating costs through the provision of HIV and AIDS support to staff.
The event kicked off in a timely fashion with back-to-back performances of the Ugandan national and TASO anthems. Following this, the luncheon’s MC, Joshua Wamboga, guided attendees through a procession of powerful speakers that included: TASO’s Patron, Dr. Noerine Kaleeba; the current Chair of TASO’s Board of Trustees, Professor David Serwadda; and the newly appointed Executive Director, Dr. Christine Nabiryo. Each speaker delivered a brief speech on the ever-more crucial role of corporate partnerships in the fight against HIV and AIDS; and the program culminated in a celebration of the recently graduated Dr. Shafik Lubulwa: a true beneficiary of TASO’s social support systems as a long-term recipient of TASO-funded school fees and scholastic materials. An energetic performance by the pitch-perfect drama group of TASO Mulago drove the audience to roaring applause before a quick group photo ended the official ceremonies.
In sum, the luncheon was hailed as an unprecedented success by TASO staff and attendees alike. Celebration of the 25 years of success marked a true milestone for TASO, and this inaugural luncheon served as a ‘coming out party’ to remember. As TASO enters into a new 5 year strategic planning cycle to carry them through to 2017, they can be proud of the precedent that was set on this day, as the strength of their message along with the robust relationships of corporate support continue to bolster their efforts toward “a world without HIV.”
Article prepared by Douglas Lau