Chairperson – Dr. Chris Opio

Dr. Opio, a Canadian citizen, is a professor at the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada. He was born and raised in Kamdini Parish, Oyam District, Northern Uganda (a war-torn, poverty-stricken region). Dr. Opio’s parents were peasant farmers and very poor. His mother never went to school (she could not read and write); and his father stopped in Grade 4. Dr. Opio and his nine siblings grew up in abject poverty. Like all other children in his village, Dr. Opio and his family had nothing by the Ugandan standards: they walked bare foot, had to drink dirty water full of parasites, and suffered from bilharzia and many other water borne-diseases. Dr. Opio, together with his siblings and mother, spent considerable amount of time traveling long distances to collect dirty water for drinking. However, Dr. Opio’s parents were dedicated Christians and knew the value of education. They sacrificed all they had to send their children to school. Dr. Opio did his early education in Uganda and worked briefly there before immigrating to Canada in 1982. In Canada, he attended and graduated from the Universities of New Brunswick, Fredericton; Calgary, and Alberta.
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Manager, Uganda – Geoffrey Odongo

Geoffrey Odongo who is an Alumni of University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) was born and raised in Kamdini, a village in rural northern Uganda. Before joining the graduate school at UNBC, in the College and Science and Management Program in 2001, he held a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Management from Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda. While at UNBC, he remained a permanent advocate for the plight of people in northern Uganda following a devastating civil conflict which lasted well over two decades. His views and passion for the people facing untold suffering in his native northern Uganda greatly contributed to the founding of Northern Uganda Development Foundation (NUDF).
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Treasurer – Dave Nielsen

Dave is a partner with Schmitz, Anderson, and Nielsen Certified General Accounts. He joined the practice in 1996 and has been working in public practice for over 30 years after receiving his CGA designation in 1987. Dave is a long time resident of Prince George, British Columbia. He leads a busy family life and is a committed biking and swimming enthusiast. Dave has been involved in a number of volunteer positions including Prince George Youth Soccer and other sports organizations, as well as business committees including Prince George Estate Planning committee and the Prince George Cariboo CGA. In addition to his work with the Northern Uganda Development Fund, Dave is currently active in the local CGA chapter as an education chair. Dave has been moved by the stories Chris and others share. He believes in the importance of clean drinking water for everyone and is looking forward to traveling to Uganda this summer (2014) to see NUDF’s work in action.
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Vice Chairperson – Ted Renquist

Ted likes to say he was raised in beautiful downtown Burnaby. He came to Prince George in 1974 for a teaching position and adventure for just a couple of years; he retired from the school district in 2007 as a school administrator. Ted has never lost his interest in history. While studying at Simon Fraser University he became interested in African history. In later years he continued his passion for history and was presented the Jeanne Clarke Memorial Award for his research into the history of local education in Prince George. His interest in Africa, especially Uganda has also developed because his wife Janet is from northern Uganda. Ted continues to serve his community in retirement. Besides being a director for NUDF he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Caribou Action Training Society, and an active member of the African Heritage Society and the College of New Caledonia Black History Committee. As Director at large he takes on projects that need considerable time which other directors who work full time cannot fulfill.
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Director at Large - Andrea Byrne

Working in Water Management has always been a passion of Andrea’s. Having worked as an Environmental Professional in Northern British Columbia, her days are often dictated by water related issues such as assessing watercourses and stream habitats, testing water quality, and ensuring water resources are properly managed and mitigated from damage caused by construction. Andrea is a Registered Professional Biologist and is currently working for the City of Prince George, where she manages the Water Conservation, Erosion and Sediment Control and Air Quality programs.

Andrea became impassioned to pursue projects that provide safe drinking water to those that need it most, after working in several remote First Nation communities that lack proper drinking water infrastructure and were on constant boil water advisories. This interest continued to grow through her travels to Mozambique, South Africa, Indonesia, Argentina and Honduras where water quality and scarcity are common issues. Andrea is currently working on a Masters of Planning through the University of Waterloo, which have included courses in International Water Management. She hopes the skills she’s gained through her professional and educational experience will assist her in Projects with NUDF and will be traveling to Uganda with NUDF this summer.

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Director at Large - Dr. Karima Fredj

Dr. Fredj is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada. She graduated From Université de Montréal with a PhD in Environmental Economics and joined UNBC in 2004. Besides her academic occupation, Dr. Fredj has been involved in a number of volunteer positions in the local community; such as executive member on the board of directors of the Prince George Air Improvement Roundtable (PG AIR), the local black history society, and the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club and other sports organizations. Inspired by Dr. Opio’s personal story and the mission of the NUDF, she joined the Northern Uganda Development Fund, in hope of contributing meaningfully to this wonderful association and giving back to the continent of her origin, through her current expertise and personal experience and ultimately make a life-changing impact for those in need.
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2 Comments on “NUDF Executive team”

  1. Pingback: Environmental expert brings water renewal to Uganda | The Province

  2. Thank you Chris for your great work because you left not only to change yourself with all what you through “I inclusive” but you want us current generation not to continue living the same life. I pray that you continue lobbying for a project that support single mothers sincerely men of nowadays don’t want to take up responsibilities guess why I type the name Opio Chris. God bless you.

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