KARACHI: The British Council together with the WOW Foundation is hosting the third WOW – Women of the World festival – from 14-15 December 2019 in Karachi.
The festival’s diverse programme was reflective of Karachi’s dynamic spirit with important talks and mentoring, musical performances, dramatic readings, panel discussions, workshops, a space for young children and a market reimagined as an inclusive third space.
This year WOW Karachi also endeavoured to become an environmentally responsible festival by reducing the use of single use plastics, panaflexes, and working with partners for a sustainable waste management solution. This is not only in response to the prevalent issues around climate change, but also a proactive measure for future programming.
“Women, whose lives are deeply entangled with access to natural resources, like water and firewood to complete their daily chores, are harder hit by climate enhanced burdens and frustrations. They have been thrust to the forefront in dealing with the harsh realities of this rapidly changing environment,” said Senator Sherry Rehman during key note address at the opening ceremony.
“As we celebrate women, we must continue to push back, disrupt and defy emerging challenges, risks and problems women face at multiple levels.”
British Council Pakistan Director Arts Chantal Harrison-Lee said their team have put together their most ambitious programme to date, featuring nearly 100 women as well as men from all ages.
“We have climate change at the heart of our work, throughout our programming and in our delivery approach and are dedicated to making WOW a climate friendly festival. WOW first and foremost is a family friendly inclusive festival for all ages and genders.
“We really believe that if we move towards a world where gender equality is an every-day fact, it takes all of us to get their no matter your age gender, race or social standing. WOW is a vital platform to celebrate and empower women, to provide a space for discussion around key issues and barriers women and girls face, and aims to make bottom up change,” he said.
The British Council hosted the first full scale WOW in South Asia in Karachi in 2016. WOW – Women of the World Festivals first began in the UK in 2010, launched by Jude Kelly at Southbank Centre London.
WOW festivals around the world are platforms to celebrate women and girls, discuss what prevents them from achieving their potential, raise global awareness and discuss solutions to on the issues they face.
To date, WOW has reached over 2 million people in 17 countries on 5 continents with more than 60 festivals around the world. The WOW Foundation was created by Kelly in 2018 to manage what has now become a global movement.
The event is being along with the support of four curating partners Dr Fozia Tahir, Entrepreneurship and Community Development Institute (ECDI), Numaish-Karachi and Olomopolo Media.