Celebrating working in partnership: British Asian Trust’s inaugural Partners’ Gala at the British Deputy High Commission in Karachi

Around 100 eminent business leaders and local partners came together on 1 March 2023 at the British Asian Trust’s inaugural Partners’ Gala at the British Deputy High Commission Karachi to celebrate the power of collaborative partnerships in changing lives.

The event showcased the British Asian Trust's work across Mental Health and Livelihoods programmes and reinforced the British Asian Trust's ability to convene high-level stakeholders across private and the corporate sector to make a real difference to people’s lives and change the broader development ecosystem.

Notable attendees included Senator Karim Khawaja (Sindh Mental Health Authority), Sabrina Dawood (Dawood Foundation), Jamal Mir (Prestige Communications), Dr Tanveer Ahmed (Hands), Amin Hashwani (Charter for Compassion) and all supporters, partners and friends of the Trust.

British Asian Trust Board Trustee Dr Shenila Rawal delivered the keynote speech, highlighting the Trust’s pioneering work championing social finance and emphasising the importance of innovation and working together.

Dr Rawal said:"As we navigate changing times in the global development sector, it is critical that we prioritise outcomes, impact, scalability and sustainability. At the British Asian Trust, we are committed to innovative approaches to financing and delivering solutions, and to collaborating with partners across sectors to address the complex challenges facing South Asia today." 

Pakistan Director of the British Asian Trust Kamyla Marvi said: "I am delighted we were able to bring together such a fantastic group of stakeholders, partners, and experts. It was a great opportunity to showcase our work in Pakistan and celebrate our local partners at the forefront of the development ecosystem in the country. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners to make transformational change."

The Gala featured a panel discussion with Sarah Mooney (Head of Mission, British Deputy High Commission), Zafar Masud (CEO, Bank of Punjab), Shahrukh Hasan (Group Managing Director, Jang Group) and Shandana Khan, (CEO, RSPN) and was moderated by Halima Iqbal, (CEO, Oraan). The panel discussed critical issues in the development sector in Pakistan, including the potential of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the country, and the role the media have to play in shaping the development agenda.

The panel supported the need for collaborative efforts and innovation to respond to the challenges of our time.

  • Shandana Khan, (CEO, RSPN) said “We can do so much together. We can create innumerable opportunities; we just need to do basic hard work and do it honestly.
  • Sarah Mooney, (Head of Mission, British Deputy High Commission) noted: The world is changing dramatically, and we need to come up with innovative ways of supporting people in Pakistan. Pakistan’s private sector is hugely philanthropic and to achieve development we can advance economic growth and export-led growth in this country through strong bilateral partnerships."
  • Zafar Masud, (CEO, Bank of Punjab) said: “CSR alone is not enough for the development sector. We need to blend CSR funding with the main line of business.
  • Shahrukh Hasan (Group Managing Director, Jang Group) when speaking on the role of media added: We can speak directly to the hearts and minds of the people in Pakistan and can therefore play a huge role in educating people and creating awareness. We can make the mundane interesting and build narratives that enable change in differing mindsets. Changing mindsets and using the media to forge partnerships will invoke passion in our people and turn every Pakistani into a crusader. 

On 2 March 2023 around 50 partners will come together in a one-day workshop to discuss forward plans and key issues on the development agenda.