Dubbed the ‘journey of a lifetime’, the YESS Girls’ Movement gives young women aged 18-25 years old, the chance to travel to and work in a different 'host' country for six months. This experience provides them with opportunities to grow, lead and take action on issues that are relevant to them.
It also strengthens the quality of the Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting experience as participants share best practices between their 'home' and 'host' countries.
"The YESS Girls Movement has given us a new perspective on working together with young women and of different cultures. We have realised there is a need to give the girls we work with leadership roles in the organisation as they will be able to reach out to more girls and make Guiding more fun at the same time." --- Mary, Chief Commissioner, Malawi Girl Guides
What the YESS Girls' exchange looks like
The exchange programme runs for nine months in total and during their stay in another country, the young women are challenged to undertake six core initiatives.
The YESS Core Initiatives
The YES! Girls Can Campaign: campaigning on issues affecting girls and demonstrating the positive impact they can have on the lives of others
The Green Tech Generation Campaign: conducting activities to protect and restore the environment
Welcome to My World: visiting the unreached, under-reached and hard-to-reach areas to recruit girls and young women into Girl Guiding
Friends of Guiding: empowering prominent men and women to support Guiding, and to speak out and take action on issues affecting girls and young women
The Good Turn Community Projects: implementing sustainable community project in their host country every year
Red Pride: challenging period stigma and inspiring girls and young women to be proud to bleed
"Three months into my journey as a YESS Participant in Rwanda, I had developed into not just a woman of substance but a dynamite of mass destruction to whatever stood in my way, be it towards my personal development or speaking out for girls or even planting trees." ---Tanaka Michelle Sandati (Girl Guides Association of Zimbabwe).
Back to my Roots Campaign
On their return from the exchange, all participants are challenged to undertake a ‘Back to my Roots campaign’ where they carry out at least one of the six core initiatives in their home communities, former schools or any place they deem to be their roots. They also share their learnings with both the leadership of their home Association (Board members and staff); and other young women of their Association.
Our contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals
We place the ambition of the SDGs at the heart of all our work, particularly SDG 5 - ACHIEVE GENDER EQUALITY AND EMPOWER ALL WOMEN AND GIRLS – given our vision of a fairer, more equal world.
We believe that to realise this ambition, it is crucial that girls can have a proactive voice on their needs and rights, and that their experiences are reflected in government policy and legislation in all countries around the world.
Through our YESS Girls Movement, we aspire to give girls the chance to develop their leadership skills, and have the confidence and self-awareness they need to pursue their dreams and be this voice of change.
Latest: our response to the COVID-19 pandemic
Since 2020 and the outbreak of COVID-19, the programme has adjusted to the new normal and responded with:
- The ‘Yes! We can stay safe from COVID-19’ campaign where the girls urge, remind and educate communities on how to stay safe from the pandemic
- Developing a tailor made a COVID-19 survival handbook with practical information and tips for how we can manage day-to-day life through the pandemic.
- Prioritising girl-led community responses to COVID-19 focusing on:
- Outbreak prevention, mitigation and response
- Information gathering and dissemination
- Water, sanitation and Hygiene
The YESS Girls Movement is a collaboration between WAGGGS and NOREC, a Norwegian government agency. Find out more about NOREC at: www.norec.no/en/
Countries that have participated in the YESS Girls' Movement so far include: Bangladesh, Burundi, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.