Dubbed the journey of a life time, the Youth Exchange South to South (YESS) Girls’ Movement is WAGGGS’ international exchange programme for young women (18-35 years) -undertaken in collaboration with NOREC, a Norwegian Government Agency.
From 2015 todate the programme has given 266 Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from 17 different Member Organisations across Africa and the Asia-Pacific region a once in a lifetime opportunity to live and volunteer in another country for six months to one year. Over 300 young women serving on the National YESS Task Forces have also had the opportunity to lead, grow and impact through the Programme.
What the YESS Girls' exchange looks like
The exchange program runs for six months for the Volunteer Participants; and for twelve months for the professional participants. During their stay in another country, the young women are challenged to take up leadership responsibilities including implementation of the six Core Initiatives
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 response to the COVID-19 pandemic
Following the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 the programme 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 (Fanilon, Mpanazava and Kiady), Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.