The YESS Girls programme gives a selection of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from more than 14 different Member Organisations across Africa and the Asia-Pacific region the once in a lifetime opportunity to live and work in another country for six months.
Faustine is a member of Rwanda Girl Guides Association, currently based in Uganda as a 2020 YESS participant. Here, she shares her account of being a YESS Girl during challenging times.
Living the 'new normal'
As the effects of COVID-19 forced us to pause our fieldwork activities, we began to question how we would continue Guiding during this time. As Girl Guide’s we face challenges and learn from experiences, so we decided to get proactive and find ways to adapt to these ‘new normal’ living conditions. We have no clue when it will be safe to resume group activities, so we are letting the fun and creative guiding spirit lead us. This is what we have been doing to continue our programme activity.
Going Digital and staying connected
Since March, we have substituted our field activities with a vibrant online presence. We ensure that every week, there is something new, something interesting and something engaging on our social media accounts in each of the 11 countries where we are currently hosted. We stay connected with our fellow participants; and host organisation staff for both social (mostly on our WhatsApp group) and work reasons (including Zoom meetings).
We are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. We didn’t realise we could do so much online!
The 27 Day challenge
We held an exciting online 27 day challenge where participants were invited to take part in a range of social media activities. Each week had its own challenge theme and every Friday was engagement day, where we invited our followers on our social media platforms to share their point of view or take action. This is me with Linda, a fellow YESS Girl, in a photo booth they designed to sensitise girls to stay safe from COVID-19.
The COVID-19 Survival Strategy handbook for Girl Guides and Girl Scouts
Many Girl Guides may be in lock down, but Girl Guiding is definitely not. Our WAGGGS 45 YESS Girls 2020 participants have developed a 36- page survival strategies handbook for all the girl guides worldwide. The handbook is being translated in all the four WAGGGS official languages (English, Arabic, Spanish and French) and offers interesting indoor guiding activities, useful tips on day to day operations, and ways of keeping sane and safe online among other things.
Lessons learnt: Not even the sky is the limit for Girl Guides
Through experiencing lockdown, we, the YESS Girls have learnt that there is quite a lot we can do even when we are limited either in resources and our whole plan seems to have totally changed. This period shows that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel! We have no clue when it will be safe to resume our usual activities but in the meantime we are letting the fun and creative guiding spirit lead us. A Guide uses her time and abilities wisely.
This is the time to put our guiding promise and Laws to use; and start taking action #ForHerWorld and #Forthewholeworld.
Words by Faustine, YESS Movement participant, Uganda
About the author
Faustine is a Rwanda Girl Guide and YESS Participant 2020 in Uganda.