As 2017 begins, we wanted to look back on some of our highlights from 2016. Throughout the year everyone in our global Movement worked together to help ensure that we were supporting girls from every background and every community to reach their potential. Through weekly meetings, external campaigns and a broad range of events, we worked to ensure that girls' voices were heard.
As we look back on 2016, it is those voices - from both our young members across the world and from our inspiring volunteers - that best show the incredible work and the great impact of our Movement. We want to celebrate just a few of the voices, stories and pictures that show the impact and scale of our work over the last twelve months. We can't wait to see what 2017 brings for all of us at WAGGGS!
The year started with so much for us to celebrate - young women from across the Western Hemishpere attended the Chile National Jamboree, we delivered an ACTIVATE training event in Togo and World Thinking day preparations were well under way.
World Thinking Day this year was all about connections. It was incredible to see so many of our members from all over the world taking part in the #Connect10Million activities. We loved seeing so many of your World Thinking Day photos - they really showed the power and scale of our global Movement.
Throughout March, the strength, determination and passion of the girls and women in our Movement really stood out. We celebrated International Women's Day, amplified girls' voices at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 60) in New York and saw young women come together at Our Chalet, Switzerland for the Helen Storrow Seminar. We shared brilliant blogs from our CSW delegates - young women like Imen, who were speaking out to make change happen.
'I was able to mention the hard and very sensitive conditions of the girls and young women living in conflict zones... and the need to make specific measures for them in terms of health care and security.'
We want to grow our Movement so that more girls and young women can benefit from our programmes, our campaigns and our leadership opportunities.
In April we were delighted to take our Free Being Me programme to Ethiopia - a country where Guiding is being re-introduced by a group of committed Girl Guiding Champions.
Edda and Loza, Ethiopia
'It’s been the most intensive and inspiring training that I’ve ever done and the feedback from the participants has been amazing! Our mission is to reach 50 girls in six months, but today we reached 34 in a local school.'
Some of the images and stories that most inspired us in May came from the Juliette Low Seminar - a Kusafiri World Centre event, held in Ghana.
'To be an Agent of Change, I must begin with myself, and then bring others into the process, overcoming any barriers together to ensure a lasting change is affected.'
Citizenship, service to others and international friendship are central to our Movement. Throughout 2016 Girl Guides and Girl Scouts put these values into action, doing wonderful work to support refugees in their communities. To mark World Refugee Day on the 20 June we shared a powerful blog from Margariti Stamatia, Leader of Sea Rangers of Kos.
'We continue to help wherever there is need: to support people emotionally, to offer them first aid, or even to cover a drowned child.... Our Law and Promise lead us to support by offering whatever we have and whatever we can… '
Our Stop the Violence campaign is changing lives in so many of our Member Organisations. In July our first ever crowdfunding campaign saw us raise more than £18,000 to deliver ACTIVATE training in Costa Rica. Training is already underway thanks to your generous donations.
Karla, Voices Against Violence Facilitator, Costa Rica
"Through the Voices against Violence training, I would like Guides and Scouts to spread the word in our communities that women are strong and able to take care of themselves"
Friendship and making connections are at the heart of Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting. Europe Region’s Roverway event took place in August. We were so impressed by the energy and enthusiasm of the young volunteers that made this event happen.
The 2016 Regional Conferences held from June to September were an important opportunity to hear your views, to celebrate your successes and to meet together with old and new friends.
October was a month of celebration. Launching our new brand at our World Board meeting was just one highlight. Sangam World Centre were also celebrating 50 years of offering life-changing opportunities and experiences for our members.
We marked International Day of the Girl with our #TeamGirl campaign. The pictures and stories from the campaign – including a photo shared by a Girl Guide troop in war-torn Syria - showed the huge impact and scale of our work. We are proud to stand alongside 10 million members to advocate for girls’ rights!
WAGGGS gives young women a platform to speak out, to lead and to change the world. The blogs that our members shared throughout our #16ways in #16days campaign in November showed the huge power that girls and young women have – to demand change, to campaign, to change laws.
Our #16ways in #16days campaign came to an end on 10 December - International Human Rights Day. As we look back on 2016, a year where we listened to girls' and supported them to speak out, we want to share the voices of just some of the inspirational, empowering, dedicated young women who are leading our Movement and making change happen.
Thank you for everything you gave to Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting in 2016!!