The latest

35 World Conference

Wherever you are, stay up to date with all the latest news from the Conference.


We will be updating this section regularly, and at the conference daily updates written by young women bloggers and important announcements will be posted. We will also be posting updates on our Twitter and Facebook pages, plus photos on our Flickr site. If you are tweeting about the Conference on Twitter, please use the special Conference hashtag #35WoCo.   


Conference Daily Updates

Wednesday, 9th July 2014

The final day of the conference was busy for many of the delegates. The day started with thematic round tables, which topics included:

  • Volunteerism
  • Spirituality
  • Diversity
  • WAGGGGS International Experience
  • Free Being Me
  • Thematic i-lead
  • Achieving Vision 2020
  • Youth Learning
  • Stop the Violence Campaign

We also heard from Keynote speakers, Ana Maria Chavez, CEO of Girl Scouts USA and Marita Change, a young woman who encourages other young woman to go into engineering. She emphasise the importance of science in education, and we should include science in our programmes as well.

We should stay united, cause there is still a lot of work to be done, and WAGGGS has the capacity to make the change and empower girl and young women. - Ana Maria Chavez

Voting Sessions

The main event of the 35th World Conference has come and with great excitement we would like to inform you that the new Constitution was agreed with a great majority as well as the strategy and budgets for the next triennium.  More information of the passed motions will be communicated soon.

The official part of the conference has come to end and all the delegates went on city tours that HKGGA have organized, or enjoyed some relax time before the opening ceremony.


Tuesday, 8th July 2014

Regional gatherings started off another busy, but also insightful, day 3 of the Conference. So many achievements in the last triennium and only 1.5 hours to discuss.  It was an opportunity for the member organisations to meet with the regions, staff and volunteers to ‘connect, grow, impact’ upon the outcomes and overall work of the region.

Keynote Speaker: Baroness Amos

Valerie Ann Amos, Baroness Amos, is the eighth and current UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. She started her speech by saying that she has never been a Girl Guide, but her sisters have and she always wanted to follow.  She shared her personal journey to leadership and how this has shaped to what is today.

Tips for leadership: You need to be excited, brave clear and take risks. Understanding as much as you can but also try to broad your thinking.

Baroness Amos add her tips for leadership, saying 'You need to be excited, brave clear and take risks. Understanding as much as you can but also try to broaden your thinking.' 

Election of the World Board

Emotions ran high as we reached one of the most critical part of the conference – World Board Elections.

Nadine El Achy, introduced the process by saying we are movement and the time has come to “move” , followed bythe voting started to elect the 6 new members. The  results were:

Ana Maria Mideros (Peru)

Anne Guyaz  (Switzerland)

Connie Matsui (USA)

Haifa Ourir (Tunisia)

Nadine Kaze (Burundi)

Natasha Hendrick (Australia)


Heidi Jokinen (Finland)

Lara Tonna (Malta)

The World Association would like to warmly welcome them in the new role, where we are sure that they would do an amazing work, delivering the mission and vision of WAGGGS.

Very moving to view the delegate’s engagement and excitement each time the results were heard.

Announcement of Chair

Over lunch the new formed World Board voted for the next Chair and returned to the plenary to announce the new chair and we are proud to announce Nicola Gridstead was appointed, with vice chairs Natasha Hendrick and Connie Matsui.


Global Conversation – Leadership

Case studies of leadership from MOs

USA: Andrea Bastiani Archivald Expert at GSUSA to inform onthe development of girls’ experiences in Girl Scouting. Through their program, girls learn about themselves, and their values – and come to stretch themselves to seek challenges beyond what they might in other settings. They also learn to connect with friends, family members, other Girl Scouts and their communities about issues that matter to them. 

Sweden: Ida Sjöholm from Girl Scouts of Sweden, talked about Values and Leadership
They are concluding that:

  • Leadership is knowing your self
  • Diversity is all about leadership
  • 50/50 Guides and leaders  from other organizations
  • Mentors from private and public sector

Carrie Lam is a civil servant-turned politician from Hong Kong, currently the Chief Secretary for Administration of Hong Kong Government. She talked on her role as a leader at the HK government and shared her experience in that learning journey.

Global Conversation – Self-Esteem

Dr Phillippa Diedrichs (global expert on body confidence and member of the Dove Self-Esteem Project Global Advisory Board) and MO representatives from focus countries including Laura Ede from Girlguiding UK, Emily Rodriguez from GSUSA and Darshana from Bharat Scouts & Guides

•          Connect: Body confidence is an issue for girls in Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting worldwide. Girls are getting involved in countries around the world

•          Grow: Our members can grow Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting while taking action on body confidence. Friends will hear about GGGS through take action projects.

•          Impact: Free Being Me and our Dove partnership positions WAGGGS as an expert in body confidence and self-esteem. Free Being Me is making an impact on girls worldwide, both within and outside of the movement.  By July there will be evidence of activity delivering the curriculum (in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Germany? Mexico, Netherlands, UK and USA) but not evidence yet of the impact on girls body confidence and self-esteem (beyond the anecdotal, i.e. quotes from girls and leaders). Advocacy plan will impact all girls.


Olave Awards  - 2nd part of the Olave Awards presentation

From the Girl Scouts of Japan, the Girl Scouts Tokyo Council Troop 43 worked on a project to support a school in a low income village in Nepal.

The Girl Guides Association of Zambia, the Twikatane Girl Guide Company worked on the project that focused on the improvement of the socio-economic status of 600 girls (5 groups in each of the 8 communities with an average membership of 15 per group) in Mansa District. 

“Highly Recommended Certificate” to the Betsy Unit from the Hong Kong Girl Guides Association worked on a project that explored the concept of “poverty”, both globally and locally.

“Certificate of Recognition” to Girl Guides and Girl Scouts of Brazil, Denmark and Bahrain.

World Market international experience

A whole floor of the Regal Hotel in an hour was transformed with regional colour, music, food and handicraft goods from all the 108 mender organizations. All the MOs represented their countries very creatively, engaging the delegates in different activities such as games and songs. It was a lovely evening enjoyed by all!

For more updates and photos, make sure you see our Facebook page and Twitter feed. 

Monday 7 July

Today the Conference kicked off with one of the most exciting sessions – World Board Nominees’ presentations. 14 candidates are running for 6 seats on the WAGGGS World Board. From El Salvador to Burundi, attendees heard inspirational stories from many candidates about how they have started off within the guiding movement very young and have gone a long way to where they are now – committed, powerful and inspirational women – ready to render their services to achieve WAGGGS Vision.

Candidates told the Member Organizations how Guiding helped them to “transform dreams into beautiful and real projects that make difference to people’s lives” and what they will do to help WAGGGS reach new heights.

The second half of the morning continued with Membership Strategy session where World Board member Teruko Wada and Sally Elkes, Membership Director, told about the work done so far to reach Vision 2020 and imagining more – “what if all the people in the room could represent all of the 900 million girls aged below 15!” “This may sound like an ambitious dream”, they said, but the good news is that we are on the right track – we have had 4.1 % growth over the last triennium, with Tonga, Maldives and GSUSA being the forerunners."

Delegates also heard from Dr. Linda Scott, who shared the importance of women as global citizens through financial independence and literacy.

Who said quotas are boring? Lots of questions from Member Organizations on the presented motions:  alternative method of quota; introducing postal, email and proxy voting, other mechanisms in order to strengthen our movement. Actions recommended to increase the strategic capacity of the World Board and this would be supported by establishing a Nominations Committee. The third key recommendation was to improve and streamline the operations of WAGGGS by establishing a Charitable incorporable Organization.

World Centres

Delegates attended a World Centres discussion and watche a new promotional video of Our Cabana. It certainly awakened a sense of nostalgia in many delegates who reminisced fondly of their experiences at WCs. 

Gabriela Derosa and Fiona Harnett introduced the World Centres and the recommendations for future action in relation to the 5th World Centre. In 2013, (for the first time in years), across the four World Centres, there was a net operating surplus. 123 people, (aged 18 to 70 years old) both women and men, have had the opportunity to grow and lead as part of our World Centre volunteer programme.  Overall 15,722 people visited the World Centres in 2013! The 5th World Centre, as a pilot mobile World Centre in the Africa Region, has had events in 5 countries and 121 girls and young women from Africa and beyond benefited from this magical experience. Gabriela, share her passion in supporting the World Centres, as WAGGGS wants to make sure that our international offer addresses the aspirations of our Member Organizations.

Bid for next World Conference 

Tunisia offered their bid to organise the 36th WAGGGS World Conference, showing us a video with all the beautiful landscape the country has, the facilities for the conference and of course the warm welcome from the Tunisian Girl Guides.

Governance Review and ICO Constitution 

The Governance  Review, including Constitution and proposed motions, put a lot of energy in the room as the delegates engaged in sharing their concerns, questions and views, preparing the field for the voting on Wednesday.

The Afternoon sessions included:

-          GG of Cambodia with display of handicrafts and Lectures

-          WLDP workshop

-          Youth Learning Session

-          Informal platform for Chief Executives

-          Outcomes from Gender Equality and Men Event

-          Twinning Session

The evening finished in a festive mood where the regions from Africa, Western Hemisphere, Asia Pacific and Arab shared traditional music, food and dance.


Sunday 6th July

Today was the first official day of the 35th WAGGGS World Conference.  108 Member Organizations have traveled the globe to come together in Hong Kong for the next 5 days.

In the morning there were special interest groups where delegates gathered with those from different MO's with the same interests as themselves. The groups included: environmental, youth learning, bug 5 USA, Nordic meeting, GOLD, federations, New International Commissionerss, 5th World Centre and quota. The delegates engaged in very fruitful discussions in regards to the topics they were concerned with and took advantage of the opportunity to share their views. 

The orientation session was the first time that all the delegates met together in the grand Ballroom. Delegates, staff, and volunteers could all feel the excitement and enthusiasm. There was meeting old friends, finding new ones and experiencing the unity of a World Conference.

The opening business agenda included a vote where delegates voted on procedures for proposed motions with proposed amendments. This was the first time for the 35th World Conference where attendees witnessed democracy in action.

WAGGGS and it's Member Organizations were happy to announce new Member Organizations - which were:

  • Armenia
  • Cameroon
  • Cook Islands
  • Guinea, Republic of
  • Mongolia

Myanmar received Associate Membership. Everyone was extremely happy and proud to welcome them to WAGGGS.

Three Member Organizations have requested and been approved a Change of entity:  South Sudan, Sweden and Curacao. 

Triennial review

Fiona Harnett, Treasurer of the World Board introduced the triennial review for financial performance in WAGGGS. WAGGGS' financial position is very strong and the trajectory of fund development is upwards. The World Association are investing in the organization and the wider movement to take both to the next level. That all adds up to a very positive outlook for the next triennium and beyond.

Mary McPail, Chief Executive introduced “connect. grow. impact” the theme in which delegates are asked to imagine a world full of confident, connected girls and young women, active citizens and committed to making the world a better place. Imagine the difference they would make to their own lives, to their communities and to our future.

In order to reach that 1 billion we will have to “Imagine More for Girls – for ALL GIRLS.”      

Princess Benedikte

There were some very special guests: HRH Princess Benedicte of Denmark and the Conference keynote speaker, Princess Mabel Van Oranje.  Princess Van Oranje gave an inspiring speech about her work with the organization ’Girls not Brides’ and informed that the marriage of young girls is still a significant issue across the globe affecting health, wellbeing and education.

The delegates learned five lessions for big change:

1. The impossible is possible

2. Be Pragmatic

3. We can all make a difference together but not alone

4. For change ti happen we also need leadership

5. Patience

She believe that we can end child marriage in one generation and acknowledges the work we do with girls as a movement, and their empowerment can make a major difference in their own lives and the lives of others.

In the evening Hong King Girl Guides Association treated all attendees to a spectacular opening ceremony with traditional dancing, dragon costumes and performances from local musicians.

There were speeches from a number of VIPs including the Honourable CY Leung, Chief Executive of HKSAR, President of HKGGA, Regina Leung and outgoing Chairman of the World Board, WAGGGS, Nadine El Achy.

There was a traditional Chinese dinner and this special evening was a wonderful opportunity to have informal conversations with all of our fellow Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

During the Opening Ceremony, the organisations that change their entity and the ones that moved to full membership were given certificates and part one of the Olave Awards were announced. This is an international award to honour the memory of the World Chief Guide Olave Baden-Powell.  It is awarded by WAGGGS to group of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts who have created positive change in their community.


Saturday 5 July - Young Women's Conference

Today the Young Women of WAGGGS kicked off the conference with a pre-event, where young women met to discuss the World Conference, leadership and self esteem and confidence.

‘How Ready Are You?”

At the beginning of the session, participants were asked to respond to three questions and express how ready they are by sticking red dots on a poster which indicated their readiness. The three questions were:

  1. I understand the purpose of Wo Co and my role in it.
  2. I feel ready to participate fully in the Wo Co.
  3. I am empowered through my networks to influence decisions.

Towards the end of the session, they were asked to reconsider the questions and respond by sticking green dots on the same posters. After the event participants showed more readiness and understanding of the Wo Co events.


The Hong Kong Challenge

The youth delegates split into 8 groups to complete challenges around Hong Kong in the morning. Tasks included the participants going to ‘The Temple’, ‘Ladies’ Market’ and even doing Tai Chi!

The purpose of the challenge was for the delegates to practice their leadership skills, and once the challange was over they reflected on the lessons they learnt, which included:

  • had to work together as a team, sometimes had to change a lot of plans along the way
  • learnt about teamwork
  • learn from people with experience, e.g. girls who arrived in Hong Kong a few days in advance/girls who had visited Hong Kong before
  • Important to have a person in charge and know what’s going on, but also have other to share the work because it’s too much for one person to handle


Sharing by Laura Bode – BE FEARLESS

-          Laura Bode runs leadership workshops and Women’s Ambassador Roundtable USA

-          How to act and feel more confidence and BE FEARLESS

-          Asked participants to close their eyes, imagine themselves as the captain of the Brazil football team before a match

-          When they open their eyes, try to ACT like a captain

-          Participants’ feedback – Felt more powerful

-          Laura Bode’s tips on how to act confident

  • GUYS do not fear about standing up even before they have an answer to questions. Girls often contemplate and want a complete answer before standing up and speaking
  • Women speakers’ feet take up less space. Advice: When speaking, PLANT your feet firmly, push shoulders back like you own the space. Will appear more powerful and confidence

-          Laura Bode’s tips on how to EMBRACE YOUR FEAR

  • Treat fear like a noisy baby –
    • Soothe it
    • Acknowledge it’s here but don’t be daunted
    • If it gets too overwhelming, pass the ‘baby’ to someone else to share
    • Always know you’re capable of dealing with it

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