Thursday 1 December
Today is Young and Future Generations day and oh haven’t the youth been celebrating. Today has marked the start of Actions, including our own!
As normal the day started with spokes council where WAGGGS was heard and supported for our action and events that were happening throughout the day. During the morning all the delegates attended different side events and working groups; learning more, advocating the work of Guiding and Scouting worldwide as well as making links to help us all in our own various projects. 11.30 came along and it was time for the fun to start! We all geared ourselves up with enthusiasm ready for our cha cha climate slide action. Outside in the lovely South African sun the action started off well with a clear group of supporters helping us raise awareness.
We had a half an hour slot to do our action dance but as the action is short it meant we could repeat it a few times. This was great as lots of people were busy rushing to meetings but still got to see our message at least once. During the action it was clear that we were drawing attention, we constantly had people watching, photographing or filming our action. I think the best part of this was that all the audience had a smile on their faces. It was great to see that our positive message was making an impact. Every ten minutes our delegation and supporters had to take a break from the dancing due to the heat. These breaks worked well as they were an opportunity to do interviews with the media; getting our name spread even further around the climate change movement.
With the action finished we were all really enthused as our action had gone so well. Seeing the support we had and the awareness we raised really did make us proud of what we had done. After the action was over we all had a breather and went on to our next meetings, side events and working groups. It was a very busy day for all.
Another highlight of the day was two side events where WAGGGS delegates spoke. The first side event was hosted by WAGGGS, UKYCC and 350.org. This event focused on African voices and their stories of climate change. Beatrice, the WAGGGS delegate from Kenya, spoke about her experiences of climate change and how this has affected her lifestyle at home as a woman.
As a young woman, it is my duty to do house work and fetch water. Being tired from work, I spend my whole night filling up all the containers with water in the cold. And after this I still have to get ready for work. When there is no water, I have to look for water from neighbouring places and carry the containers. Most of the time the water is not clean and this is a risk to our health.
Beatrice Omweri, WAGGGS delegate from Kenya
All who attended the side event can honestly say they were touched by her words. Her emotional speech definitely made an impact and made people think about how lucky they are. After finishing her speech you could automatically see the impact of her words as she received a standing ovation.
Guiding has given me the confidence to go out, speak out and make a change. The Movement has opened doors and brought opportunities to myself and my fellow Guiding sisters to make a difference. As Girl Guides and Girl Scouts we are not just victims; we are active agents of change.
Beatrice Omweri, WAGGGS delegate from Kenya
The second side event which Megan from Canada spoke at was the ‘Climate Change Awareness Raising and Education’ side event. Megan did an amazing job at delivering every single message of WAGGGS’ work. As well as this, she passionately demonstrated her belief in the importance of gender equality and non-formal education in climate change mitigation.
As a Girl Guide I have seen how effective non-formal education programmes can be and how important building capacity in girls and young women is. Through Guiding I have been offered the opportunities to reach my full potential as a active citizen of this world. At COP 17 I am here to ensure that Non-formal education and capacity building gets the recognition it needs.
Our voice, the voice of the youth, the voice of girls and young women worldwide, needs to be heard here, in Durban, today.
Megan Van Buskirk, WAGGGS delegate from Canada
Overall WAGGGS delegates did a really great job throughout the day by making WAGGGS seen and heard. We spread the messages from our 10 million members, as well as showing our enthusiasm for making a difference with climate change. Everybody make a change!
Message of the day is from Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change :
You need to be patient and ambitious because it´s not enough. It´s a long term process and we are doing as best as we can but this is your "hot potato". You need to keep your passion, keep working and stay with us.