WAGGGS is the official umbrella organization for all national Girl Guide and Girl Scout organizations in the world. It comprises 145 Member Organizations, which are organized into five regions – Africa, Arab, Asia Pacific, Europe and Western Hemisphere.
All WAGGGS’ Member Organizations have criteria of Membership laid down in WAGGGS’ Constitution. Members are also required to adhere to specific criteria to deliver the Guiding experience, which includes:
- Commitment through the Promise and Law
- Progressive self-development
- Learning by doing
- Teamwork through the Patrol System and training for responsible leadership
- Active co-operation between young people and adults
- Service in the community
- Outdoor activities
One Member Organization only can be recognized in any one country.
Types of membership
There are two categories of Membership of the World Association: Full Membership and Associate Membership. These are defined in WAGGGS’ Constitution and Bye-Laws (12th edition, July 2008) as:
1. Full Membership
A Full Member of the World Association is a National Organization working in the true spirit of the Girl Guide/Girl Scout Movement, which shall:
- demonstrate sustained adherence to the criteria of Membership of the World Association and to its Constitution and Bye-Laws;
- have a Constitution incorporating the criteria of Membership and other requirements suited to its needs, which shall be submitted to and approved by the World Board and re-submitted for approval whenever it is being amended;
- apply its funds and assets for the implementation of the Object of the Girl Guide/Girl Scout Movement, and not for the profit of any person;
- adopt a name including Girl Guide/Girl Scout or othr suitable name approved by the World Board and adopt the method of the Girl Guide/Girl Scout Movement and (subject to and in accordance with Article 5) the Trefoil in its badge as the symbol of the three parts of the Original Promise;
- have a well-developed Organization, suited to the needs of the country and national in its operation, with:
- a responsible central body truly representative of all Girl Guiding/Girl Scouting within the country;
- a programme based on the Fundamental Principles, using the method of the Girl Guide/Girl Scout Movement and designed to meet the needs of girls and young women of different age groups, adequate leadership and a suitable training programme;
- sound policies and plans for continuing development, administration and finance, based on continuing self-evaluation.
- carry its share of responsibility as a Member of the World Association including participation in the Regional Way of Work.
- pay annually the agreed Membership quota to the World Association
2. Associate Membership
An Associate Member of the World Association is a National Organization which shall fulfil the conditions given above except that in relation to clause (e) a lesser degree of development is required and they have different voting rights.
Types of Member Organization
There are several types of Member Organizations within WAGGGS.
1. WAGGGS-only Organizations
The majority of Member Organizations have one Girl Guide/Girl Scout organization in a country and the membership is entirely female. However, in some countries the Member Organization may have a number of boys and young men as members.
2. Scout and Guide National Associations (SAGNOs)
In some Member Organizations and Component Associations, girls and women are members of WAGGGS and boys and men are members of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM).
In these Associations, there may be many different types of structures but generally the girls and the boys, men and women are not in separate sections. The girls and boys may work in separate groups at different ages, for different events, or may have different programmes for some of the time.
At national level, women and men volunteers work together on Committees and on national Councils. There may be rules for equal opportunities so that women and men share leadership and decision-making, in some cases this is not considered necessary.
2a. Joint Organizations
In Joint Organizations, the girls and women are in a separate section from boys and men. The girls and women have girls-only groups with their own programme. The female volunteers hold a complete range of posts up to national level. Often there is no common programme or events with boys but there may be occasional joint events.
At the national level there is usually a council where the female and male sections come together and make decisions on national policies. Often there are rules governing equal opportunities at the national level so that both genders are appropriately represented and have leadership roles.
SAGNOs of this type can be found in the Arab Region, Asia Pacific Region and Europe Region.
Some Member Organizations are made up of a Federation of Component Associations. Each of the Component Associations has to comply with the criteria laid down in the Constitution (see above).
Guidisme and Scoutisme en Belgique is an example of a Federation.
The Member Organization is called Guidisme et Scoutisme en Belgique (GSB).
It is made up of four Component Associations:
- Fédération des Guides Catholique de Belgique (GCB)
- Scouts & Gidsen Vlaanderen
- Scouts et Guides Pluralistes de Belgique (SGP)
- Federatie voor Open Scoutisme (FOS)
WAGGGS communicates directly only with the Federation (as this is the Member Organization) and the Federation is then responsible for communicating within itself to its own Component Associations.