The Global Action Themes (GAT) of World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) are based on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The form the basis of Girl Guide and Girl Scout work for the next few years.
WAGGGS’ new Global Action Theme is girls worldwide say “together we can change our world”. It was announced at the 33rd WAGGGS World Conference in 2008 and focuses on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Where are we going? Why is WAGGGS doing this? The first ever triennial theme was Create Peace Worldwide which addressed world peace. This was followed by the Building World Citizenship theme which addressed global citizenship. Our Rights, Our Responsibilities has addressed our rights and responsibilities as global citizens. The new theme follows on from OROR to address the most compelling global agenda of the moment: the Millennium Development Goals.
Ending poverty was the historic promise made by 189 world leaders at the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000. It has eight areas of focus and through these interlinked areas, the aim is to improve the lives of the poorest people in the world as well as raise awareness in everyone about the situation. All UN member states signed up to measurable targets with clear deadlines, the ultimate deadline being 2015, by which all goals should be achieved.
As we take a look at the eight Millennium Development Goals, notice how they align with much of the work already undertaken by Member Organizations. Ending poverty can only be achieved through addressing these issues of: hunger, education, empowerment of women, child mortality, maternal health, epidemics such as HIV/AIDS, and environmental sustainability. And global issues can only be tackled by working together through global partnerships.
This is a great time for WAGGGS to get more involved in the MDGs. At the midpoint of the MDGs and with just a few more years to go, governments admit that the achievement of the MDGs by 2015 is still far away. International NGOs must work together and encourage governments to achieve the MDGs. As a global movement, WAGGGS is stepping up to the challenge to build a better world. The MDGs represent the most compelling world agenda for young people right now. By aligning our work with the MDGs, we are enabling girls and young women to influence issues that affect them. We have strong, established links with the United Nations The Millennium Development Goals address global issues. WAGGGS can consolidate existing work by its Member Organizations and champion new work. The MDGs are connected to our vision and core values. Being involved means being a responsible citizen of our world and realizing our Mission.
WAGGGS is producing resource materials to support its Member Organizations as they work with the GAT and the MDGs. Implementation Guidelines for MOs and a GAT Badge curriculum with activities for Girl Guides/Girl Scouts on all the MDG topics has already been distributed. The Phase 2 Guidelines, which will outline way to make strategic alliances with other organizations and some fund development tips will be available in 2010.
The Global Action Theme is a great way to encourage advocacy work. The MO guidelines includes suggestions of how to do advocacy work with the MDGs, and this links to the WAGGGS Advocacy toolkit. If you would like to have the Advocacy toolkit you can download it from the WAGGGS website. It helps you to plan and run your advocacy project (no matter what topic actually) and can talks about how to introduce advocacy in your educational programme and how to apply advocacy action at different levels, e.g. national board, group, troop, etc. WAGGGS’ advocacy work will also focus on the MDGs. The MDG messages are the new advocacy key messages. They follow and incorporate the seven adolescent health messages, so any work in this area becomes part of our work around the MDGs. For example gwws “fight AIDS” is now part of gwws “ we can stop the spread of AIDS, malaria and other diseases”. Existing as well as future strategic partnership projects, publications with UN agencies etc., will focus on the MDGs. WAGGGS encourages girls and young women to influence people to take decisions which improve their lives and the lives of others.
WAGGGS is a global movement stepping up to a global challenge. As a global movement we can inspire our members to think about how the MDGs affect girls and young women in other countries as well as their own. “Together we can change our world.” ‘Our world’ is about our local community, our country and our planet. As a youth movement, we will add the voice of girls and young women to this call to action. We will bring new energy as we encourage our members, young and old, to become agents for change.
Each region has four ‘GAT Champion’ Member Organizations. These MOs have worked on MDG topics in the past, and have committed to ‘champion’ the MDGs and work with the theme in a big way. They have contributed to the development of the GAT resources, and will support other MOs in their GAT work. They will showcase what they have done at regional and World Conferences.
To encourage girls and young women to take up this challenge, WAGGGS has created phrases that will engage and excite them. Under the heading of girls worldwide say “together we can change our world” , each of the MDGs has its own ‘girls worldwide say’ message which will be used in all areas of WAGGGS work, like for example our resources, our advocacy work, etc.
Imagine these young girls. Let’s call them Jenny, Priya and Mary. They’re all twelve years old and they could well be Girl Guides or Girls Scouts. By 2015, they will be eighteen. What will life be like for them in seven years’ time? They are the faces of the future. Achieving the MDGs matters because it will affect all of us, including them.
We can see the GAT Strategy as a pathway which operates on unit, national, regional and international levels. Through taking part in activities , members gain an understanding of the MDGs. They will be motivated to run their own GAT projects and get involved in advocacy action on GAT-related issues. This work can be utilised to showcase WAGGGS’ work as a whole to external audiences, from local governments to the United Nations at a global level. Ultimately, the initiative will validate WAGGGS’ vision as ‘the voice of girls and young women’ for making positive change in their communities and beyond. When we make our voice heard , WAGGGS and its Member Organizations will be able to influence policies and practice at a national and international level.
The resource materials developed by WAGGGS will help to strengthen Member Organizations through their programmes. The current MO Guidelines include: How to use the GAT badge curriculum Suggestions for national projects and campaigns (linked to using the Advocacy Toolkit) How to integrate the MDGs into MOs’ national programme And at a later stage (Phase 2), Strategic alliances and fund development at national level
The GAT badge curriculum contains information and over 100 activities covering each of the eight MDGs. There are three levels to choose from: basic, advanced and specialist. The specialist level will give girls the opportunity to focus on one particular MDG topic of interest.
Kenya Girl Guides Association launched the GAT Badge in a special ceremony. The speeches made emphasised the need for girls and young women to take up the cause of the MDGs. The ceremony included a tree planting and several hundred Girl Guides attended.
Girl Guides from the central district and the Aldebarán district of Mexico joined forces with Girl Guides from Wales, UK to learn about people affected by poverty and take action to improve the situation. “ The first afternoon in Pueblo Nuevo we learned how to build the stoves in one of the homes in the community of El Quelite. Besides learning how to build the stoves, the Girl Guides were given the task of asking people about their eating habits, the number of people in their household and their living expenses,” says one leader. “They had to carry water from a well and they observed that the houses were all built of wood, some with cardboard.” In the evening there was an opportunity to reflect on the very different lives of the participants and the indigenous community. The participants considered themselves very fortunate to have access to their daily comforts such as turning on a tap and having water come out.
The Eradicate Hunger and Poverty 2010 National Service Project is a unique way for Girl Guides in Canada to learn about hunger and poverty in their community, across Canada and around the world. The toolkit will help units to plan a project to take action against hunger where they live. Girl Guides will take part in activities such as collecting and donate food to a food bank; planting a garden and donate the food; volunteering at a food bank; and writing letters to local politicians. ‘ The big idea is that kids learn about hunger and poverty locally, in Canada and around the world,’ says Kristen Hope Coordinator, Community and Global Awareness. ‘Then they’ll plan and implement a project to take action on it. The results will be tallied on the website so anyone can go and see how many Girl Guides have taken which actions so far.’
WAGGGS encourages everyone to take action and change the world around them. Action can happen at many levels. ‘Our world’ starts at a personal level, and expands to include our local community, national and international levels. WAGGGS sees the initiative as an important method of educated the young people who are the leaders of tomorrow and raising the awareness of the wider public. It starts with action on a local level and extends through national level projects and campaigns to the international level as WAGGGS mounts an international advocacy campaign on MDG topics. WAGGGS is developing guidelines for MOs to help them make strategic alliances and give ideas for members to take the next step after the GAT badge by setting up community action projects.
WAGGGS members were encouraged to ‘Stand Up on World Food Day to launch your World Thinking Day Plans’. Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world participated in the Stand Up campaign in a variety of ways. They were encouraged to use the event as a way to launch their WTD plans – the 2010 theme is Hunger and Poverty, MDG1 which is linked to the GAT. News article: http://www.wagggsworld.org/en/news/1497 25 individual units or Member Organizations in 14 countries received free t-shirts as part of the campaign. Actions ranged from collecting produce for local food banks to drawing posters to raise awareness about the issue. MO example: Skotisma Zazavavy Eto Madagasikara, the Girl Guide Association in Madagascar, is presented activities for their members to inform them about MDGs. They also raised awareness about nutrition and the fight against poverty. 500 people took part in the Stand Up event. In addition, the organization ran a training event on GAT and the MDGs for youth committee members, national and regional board members in July 2009. An action plan has been drawn up, focused mainly on the MDGs 1, 6, 7 which are key issues in Madagascar.
In conclusion, here is a quote from Kofi Annan, the former United Nations Secretary General: &quot;It is not in the United Nations that the Millennium Development Goals will be achieved. They have to be achieved in each of its Member States, by the joint efforts of their governments and people.&quot;
United Nations Millennium Development Goals <ul><li>Eight areas of focus </li></ul><ul><li>Aim to improve the lives of the world’s poorest people </li></ul><ul><li>Agreed at the United Nations Millennium Summit </li></ul><ul><li>All UN member states signed up </li></ul><ul><li>Goals should be achieved by 2015 </li></ul>What are the MDGs?
Millennium Development Goals <ul><li>MDG 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger </li></ul><ul><li>MDG 2: Achieve universal primary education </li></ul><ul><li>MDG 3: Promote gender equality and empower women </li></ul><ul><li>MDG 4: Reduce child mortality </li></ul><ul><li>MDG 5: Improve maternal health </li></ul><ul><li>MDG 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases </li></ul><ul><li>MDG 7: Ensure environmental sustainability </li></ul><ul><li>MDG 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development </li></ul>
GAT Champions <ul><li>Africa </li></ul><ul><li>Association des Guides du Burundi </li></ul><ul><li>Kenya Girl Guides Association </li></ul><ul><li>Skotisma Zazavavy Eto Madagasikara ( Madagascar) </li></ul><ul><li>Girl Guide Association of Zambia </li></ul><ul><li>Asia Pacific </li></ul><ul><li>Girl Guides Australia Incorporated </li></ul><ul><li>Girlguiding New Zealand </li></ul><ul><li>Pakistan Girl Guide Association </li></ul><ul><li>The Girl Guides Association of Thailand </li></ul><ul><li>Arab </li></ul><ul><li>Gamiet Morshidat Gomhoriet Misr al Arabiah (Egypt) </li></ul><ul><li>Lebanese Girl Scouts’ Association </li></ul><ul><li>Kuwait Girl Guides Association </li></ul><ul><li>Scout Tunisien </li></ul><ul><li>Europe </li></ul><ul><li>Girl Guides Association of Cyprus </li></ul><ul><li>Danish Guide and Scout Association (Denmark) </li></ul><ul><li>Federazione Italiana Dello Scautismo (Italy) </li></ul><ul><li>Soma Hellinikou Odigismou (Greece) </li></ul><ul><li>Western Hemisphere </li></ul><ul><li>The Girl Guides Association of Barbados </li></ul><ul><li>Girl Guides of Canada </li></ul><ul><li>Asociación De Muchachas Guías Scouts de El Salvador </li></ul><ul><li>Girl Scouts of the USA </li></ul>Showcasing success
GAT Champions “ The GAT Badge activities are practical and age-specific. The factsheets are informative and useful. The website references and links are very useful.” Kenya Girl Guides Assocation “ The GAT will help us with our work because it clearly sets us priorities for development of strategic partnerships, projects and what we should be speaking out about.” Girl Guides of Australia “ The MDGs are the principal line of action for most of the national institutions, including NGOs, so we can have big impact by making programmes in co-operation with them for girls and women.” Asociación De Muchachas Guías Scouts de El Salvador
Pathways to success A long term strategy <ul><li>Unit </li></ul><ul><li>National </li></ul><ul><li>Regional </li></ul><ul><li>International </li></ul>GAT Activities Understanding Projects and advocacy Make Our Voice Heard
Kenya Girl Guides launch GAT Badge <ul><li>Special ceremony </li></ul><ul><li>Tree planting </li></ul>
Guias de Mexico and Girlguiding UK Girl Guides from Mexico and Wales, UK learned together about people affected by poverty in Mexico and took action to improve the situation. <ul><li>Learned how to build stoves </li></ul><ul><li>Learned about lives of the indigenous community </li></ul>
National service project (Canada) <ul><li>Take action on poverty and hunger </li></ul><ul><li>Toolkit for units to plan projects </li></ul><ul><li>Online tracker monitors actions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. planting a garden or donating food </li></ul></ul>
Stand Up Against Poverty <ul><li>WAGGGS members part of record-breaking campaign </li></ul><ul><li>Thousands of WAGGGS members chose to ‘stand up on World Food Day to launch World Thinking Day 2010’ </li></ul><ul><li>Girl Guides in more than 14 countries took part </li></ul>
<ul><li>"It is not in the United Nations that the Millennium Development Goals will be achieved. They have to be achieved in each of its Member States, by the joint efforts of their governments and people." </li></ul><ul><li>Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan </li></ul>
Photos courtesy of WAGGGS Member Organizatinos and WAGGGS staff