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UNFPA, SoLF launch community-based theatre performances

By Our Correspondent
October 13, 2023

Islamabad:United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in collaboration with the School of Leadership Foundation (SoLF) has embarked on a mission to raise awareness and spark a discussion on social norms around reproductive health of young people, gender-based violence, child marriage and more, across Pakistan. Under the umbrella of the ‘Hifazat’ campaign, initiated in 2022 to enhance reproductive health and wellbeing awareness through digital media, this ground-breaking project will bring the power of theatre to the forefront to foster meaningful discussions within communities across 10 districts in Pakistan.

Twenty impactful theatre performances will be curated and executed by Theatre Wallay, a non-commercial group of dedicated artists passionate about theatre and literature. To ensure a widespread reach across provinces, these performances will take place in Charsadda, Swabi, Swat (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa); Lasbela (Balochistan); Rawalpindi, Multan, and Bahawalpur (Punjab); as well as in Sukkur, Khairpur, and Larkana (Sindh).

Premiering in Rawalpindi, the performance was met with a resounding applause from the audience. One participant highlighted the importance of sensitising elders to these crucial issues. 'This play should be performed for our elders as they need to learn how to discuss reproductive health and child marriage with their children. They need to understand that child marriage is detrimental and harmful,' said Nasir Khan of the Anam Education Foundation.

To encourage ongoing dialogue and deep reflection, post-performance discussions and awareness sessions will follow each theater performance. Through these interactive sessions, we aim to provide community members with the opportunity to share their perspectives, ask questions, and engage in further conversation to enhance their understanding on key topics affecting us all.

“This play should be performed in rural communities in the far-flung areas of Gilgit-Baltistan, and Balochistan where these issues are prevalent”, highlighted Shoaib Ali, a young boy who attended the theatre performance in Stars College, Rawalpindi.

This collaborative effort between UNFPA and SoLF underscores the significance of collective action in addressing societal challenges. By leveraging creative storytelling mediums like theatre, this project is dedicated to spark conversation on vital topics and creating awareness within communities.