Delegates pledge to 'stop the violence'
The eagerly anticipated new WAGGGS advocacy campaign was finally launched during the plenary session on Thursday 14 July. Camilla Lindquist, member of the World Board, introduced our new campaign with some of the harsh, cold facts of how violence affects girls in their daily lives all around the world.
Globally, up to six out of every ten women experience physical and/ or sexual violence in their lifetime. 60 million girls are sexually assaulted at or on their way to school each year. Violence against girls and women is one of the worst violations of human rights and as Camilla indicated “too many people have been silent for too long”. As a global organization, Camilla invited us to take action and unite with our new campaign ‘Stop the violence. Speak out for girls’ rights’.
Since 2009, a strategic plan has been implemented to bring this project to life and the delegates of the World Conference had the great honour to be among the first people to add their voice to the campaign. Through non-formal education the campaign will support and empower girls to speak out for themselves and others.
Four moving speeches were given by passionate young women stating why they are pledging to stop the violence. Lena, from Lebanon talked about the recent political situation in her country and how women’s voices are seldom heard. She expressed that we must use our voice to speak out against violence as “girls are the agents of change”.
Rachel, a young WAGGGS representative from Canada, told the audience the moving story of how her own group of Girl Guides had confided in her about how they had been affected by violence. For Rachel, this campaign is “an important step for Guiding”.
Maria, from Costa Rica admitted how much her eyes had been opened to the violence in the world yet she is convinced that “although we are from different countries, the power of our global organization allows us to unite and stop the violence”. Pippa, from the UK, spoke openly of her own personal experiences of violence. She pledged to use social media to “take action to help our members and all women”.
Urjasi Rudra, UN Women representative and coordinator of the Say NO – UNiTE online platform, then spoke of work being carried out by the UN on this global issue. She praised the new partnership between WAGGGS and the UN, stating that “there is no better issue to focus your passion and skills”.
Urjasi spoke about how we must take this advocacy campaign to everyone, encouraging us to use global media as the platform from which to shout out. She outlined the practical steps the partnership aims to implement by April 2012 such as running a series of ‘Stop the violence’ events at the World Centres, preparing an international report, conducting a survey on how violence affects girls and young women, the new badge curriculum WAGGGS is developing and the 16 days of activism to end gender violence. WAGGGS and the UN want to gather 10,000 voices speaking out for girls’ rights by 10 April 2012 and, as Urjasi avows, “we can do it together”.
Delegates were then asked to fill out a pledge card stating how they will personally commit to stopping violence. The whole room voiced their pledge, erupting in a cacophony of noise, launching our life-changing campaign by building ‘from a whisper to a shout’.
Find out more about the campaign and add your voice at www.stoptheviolencecampaign.com
Six World Board members elected and new Chairman announced
On Thursday 14 July we welcomed six new World Board members, voted in by delegates at the World Conference. The new World Board members are:
- Jill Zelmanovits, Canada
- Teruko Wada, Japan
- Shaleeka Abeygunasekera, Sri Lanka
- Fiona Harnett, New Zealand
- Nicola Grinstead, UK
- Michelle February, South Africa
In the afternoon, after a World Board meeting with the new members, Nadine El Achy from Lebanon was announced as the new World Board Chairman for the next Triennium. The applause and cheers as Nadine took to the stage to address delegates was deafening, and the plenary filled with excitement and support for Nadine. Sapreet Saluja, USA, was announced at the Deputy Chairman.
|"I would like to thank you for your trust and I would like to confirm that you have a new Board that is committed and passionate about WAGGGS' Vision and Mission." Nadine El Achy, incoming World Board Chairman|