ISLAMABAD: The Canadian High Commissioner in Pakistan Leslie Scanlon, along with ice-hockey enthusiasts, including her daughter who is an ice hockey coach, participated in five winter festivals organised in Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan in January 2023.
This was the fourth year Canadians have actively participated in winter festivals in order to empower women and girls through sports; encouraging environmental protection and responsible eco-tourism while discussing the challenging impacts of climate change; and, supporting community-driven economic development, especially for women.
Through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, Canada joined hands with an NGO to support communities who demonstrated a commitment to organising inclusive winter festivals, raising discussions around climate-change adaptation and environmental protection, and to supporting female entrepreneurs.
The High Commissioner and her team travelled for 16 days to visit communities, coach youth on ice-hockey skills, attend a variety of festival events, and engage with local leaders. The programme brought together 40 male and female ice hockey teams and provided opportunities to more than 100 rural women entrepreneurs to display their products at the Women Business Expos held on the sidelines of winter sports festivals.
“Canada has a Feminist International Assistance Policy, which underscores our belief that by including women and girls in everything from politics, to the economy, and in sports, only then will communities thrive both in Canada, and around the world,” Scanlon said.
“We all have a role to play in breaking down barriers and ensuring that women, girls, and the differently-abled have every opportunity to succeed in life,” she added.–The News