Day 2 - Our Chalet
Today, we connected to our roots and began to feel ourselves grow as a global community of leaders and advocates. We began with a flag ceremony, prepared by the Sunflower Patrol, to reflect on the importance of WAGGGS as a voice for girls and women around the world.
Girls worldwide say "together we can change our world". Even though each of us speak with one voice, we speak for 10 million members worldwide.
The learning was ignited as we discussed leadership and how it is defined by WAGGGS. We viewed leadership as seen through the lens of the entire group, rather than just the individual leader. We explored community leadership and began to understand the value of grassroots initiatives that can only take hold when the community is empowered to take decisions through tools, resources, and awareness that we, as leaders and members of a global network, can offer to our partners.
Joey and Nadine shared their recent community leadership experience that emerged out of the WAGGGS Leadership Development Program last year and journeyed to Londiani, Kenya as an international WAGGGS delegation piloted a project, 'Girls for Girls', on the ground in partnership with Friends of Londiani. The programme empowers the community to find solutions to one of its greatest barriers to education for girls: lack of access to affordable sanitary towels. Kenyan girls refer to them as “those things,” and would often miss a week of school due to their menstrual cycle. We were shocked to discover that this was such a problem in other countries.
As we began to ponder how we could get involved with Girls for Girls or embark on our own projects, we took part in a session on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the WAGGGS Global Action Theme. Focusing on MDGs 1 (ending poverty), 3 (gender equality), and 7 (environmental sustainability), we discussed what our countries and member organizations are doing to achieve these Goals. Through our discussions and vision for future action, we began to take ownership of the declaration that was passed to us from the Young Women’s World Forum 2010. We concluded that across the WAGGGS Regions, the issues vary, but all of them are our problem and can only be solved through strong global partnerships.
Framed by the MDGs, we discovered the three elements of advocacy in WAGGGS: speak out, educate others, and take action. We explored advocacy techniques and different ways to advocate for causes, including an illustration by two participants who persuaded us by presenting different views on a single topic. They used advocacy techniques to convince the group that their point of view was correct. Seeing advocacy in action has given us ideas about how we can advocate in our communities and work towards achieving the MDGs.
We reflected on our learning through mandalas, a Sanskrit word derived from “set of” or “decorate.” The mandala allows us to consider how we will grow as we take in the learning of the Forum and colour them in as we achieve each item. Through personal reflection, we can begin to understand the meaning of the activities here and how we can move forward in our communities.
Our Chalet closed the night with an international celebration. Each Region presented information about their cultures and what their country is doing for each of the MDGs. It was fun and exciting to see the traditional costumes, participate in dances, and try foods from different nations. Best evening so far!
Nakeshia, St. Vincent
Sarah, Ivory Coast