UN General Assembly - Delegate Profiles
From the 17 - 26 September 2013 five young women are representing WAGGGS at the United Nations General Assembly in New York which will focus on the progress of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Read their profiles below to learn more:
Pippa Gardner - UK
Q. Why do you want to be at UN General Assembly?
A. This is going to be a milestone in the process to setting a new development agenda. I feel I have so much to offer from my past experiences with WAGGGS and want to be part of that moment.
Q. What is your interest in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and post-2015?
A. I learnt about the MDGs studying geography, and being at the Young Women’s World Forum in 2010 inspired me to become a part of the effort to achieve them. From following the MDGs, I just started following the post-2015 process. I believe we need to be the change we want to see in the world.
Q. What do you hope to get out of the event?
A. I hope to get the voices of girls and young women heard on an international stage – especially as I have the opportunity to speak at a high level event whilst I’m in New York. Ultimately I want to combine advocacy with my interest in museums, where I believe we can use non-formal education for social change.
Erin Wicking - Australia
Hi! My name is Erin and I have been a Girl Guide in Australia for over 20 years. I volunteer as a Leader and Trainer within my organisation and also work for my State Organisation in the areas of social inclusion, advocacy and partnerships.
My passion is advocacy and social justice education, particularly in the areas of girl's and women’s empowerment. I have been a passionate advocate for the MDGs since attending the WAGGGS and the UN event at Our Chalet in 2005. Since then I have done much work creating MDG and advocacy themed trainings, workshops, toolkits, badges, policies and partnerships for youth and adults in my organisation. I took my interest through to my university degree and undertook post-graduate study in international development, looking specifically at girls and women in development.
I have a strong interest in both the MDGs and the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and hope through the event to further develop my knowledge of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. I also hope to build networks, help promote the great work of WAGGGS and ensure the voices of girls and women are heard at the many events within the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly.
Michelle Alvarez - Philippines
My name is Michelle Alvarez, and I am a girl scout from the Philippines. I started girl scouting when I was 6 years old, and I have been involved in national and international events. I was the chairperson of the National Senior and Cadet Conference of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines in 2010 and I am now serving as a member of the Program Committee in the National Headquarters. In 2008, I participated in the Juliette Low Seminar which unleashed my leadership skills; I was able to attend the Asia Pacific Regional Summit in 2008 and the 34th World Conference in 2011, which are both great experiences to understand girl scouting and girl guiding in a wider perspective. At present, I am the International Day of the Girl Ambassador for the Asia Pacific Region.
I was privileged to be one of the youth participants in the UN High Level Panel meeting with youth in London in November 2012, and since then I have been involved in lobbying for a meaningful youth inclusion in the post-2015 development agenda. In March 2013, I had the chance to be at the Bali meeting, and see how young people are revolutionizing the path to development.
The World I Want for Girls is a world that does not consider being a girl as an opportunity to suppress and discriminate, but rather sees girls as potential change makers and leaders.
Mirna Fernández - Bolivia
I have been a girl guide since I was 6 years old and a leader since 2007. I have been the education area coordinator for my local council and I am the local commissioner for the girl guides in my city La Paz, Bolivia.
I am an environmental engineer and I’ve been deeply involved in environmental issues from a very young age thanks to the Girl Guides formation. In 2009 I had the honor of representing WAGGGS at the UN Climate Change COP 15 and since then I have got together with more enthusiastic youth in my country and started working with local youth organizations like Reacción Climática, Biodiversity Bolivia-22 and 350.org Bolivia. At the same time, I have joined global youth efforts such as, the Global Youth Biodiversity Network, YOUNGO, Climates and the Major Group of Children and Youth.
I became an Ambassador for post-2015 because I want to help shape a position that strengthens the voice of girls and young woman towards a new set of goals that highlights the critical role of the biodiversity conservation, guarantees a safe climate, and is built on the basis of human rights to ensure a fair future for the coming generations.
Fezile Ngcobo - South Africa
I have been part of WAGGGS for the past 11 years. I studied Community Development at the University of KwaZulu Natal. In 2010 I was part of an environmental sustainability project called KwaMashu which was part of my university studies and I then stretched it out into guiding. In this project we dealt with recycling and re-using, held environmental expos and a large community garden that was not only for the environment but also for economic development. As a result of my contribution in this project, I was selected to attend COP17 on behalf of WAGGGS. I used the skills gained from COP17 and KwaMashu to teach my guiding network.
After participating in the project and COP17, I had to relocate from Durban to Pietermaritzburg because I felt the emphasis in COP17 on gender equality and primary education was so important that I wanted to change direction. I host a programme called “Celebrating Women’s Day Everyday” which is a project that educates young women about their rights and responsibilities and teaches them about gender equality. I invite an older lady from the community who is seen as a leader (for example, the principal of a school) to talk about woman leadership.