ISLAMABAD: Canadian High Commissioner in Pakistan Leslie Scanlon, together with ice hockey fans, including her daughter, who is an ice hockey coach, participated in five winter festivals held in Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan in January 2023.
This is the fourth year Canadians have actively participated in the winter festival to empower women and girls through sport; promote environmental protection and responsible ecotourism while addressing the challenging impacts of climate change; and, supporting community-based economic development, particularly for women.
Through the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives, Canada is joining hands with the Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) to support communities that demonstrate a commitment to hosting inclusive winter festivals, increasing discussions around climate change adaptation and environmental protection, and to support women entrepreneurs.
The High Commissioner and his team traveled for 16 days to visit communities, train youth in ice hockey skills, attend various festival events and engage with local leaders. The program brought together 40 men’s and women’s ice hockey teams and gave more than 100 rural women entrepreneurs the opportunity to showcase their products at the Women’s Business Fair held on the sidelines of the winter sports festival.
“Canada has a Feminist International Assistance Policy, which underscores our belief that by involving women and girls in everything from politics, the economy, and sport, only then will communities thrive both in Canada, and around the world,” said Scanlon. “We all have a role to play in breaking down barriers and ensuring that women, girls and people with disabilities have every opportunity to succeed in life,” she added.
Meanwhile, the General Manager of AKRSP, Jamil Uddin, also explained the aims of the project. ”The broader aim of the Winter Sports festival is the economic and physical well-being of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, as the harsh winter stops the winter. physical and economic activities in the region. Therefore, AKRSP and its partners provide an opportunity to activate physical and economic activities,” said Jamil.
The High Commissioner also visited international aid projects funded through “Broadening Economic & Social Transformation for Women’s Economic Empowerment & Recovery (BEST4WEER)”. BEST4WEER is a five-year, $20.16 million project, co-funded by the Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC) and Global Affairs Canada, aimed at increasing the social and economic empowerment of women.
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