WAGGGS joins world's largest youth organizations to agree a new strategic collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) to build a healthier, more equal and youth-led future

18 May 2022
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Read about our exciting new collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO)!

On Friday 13th May CEOs and youth leaders from the Big Six Youth Organizations met in Geneva with leaders from the World Health Organization (WHO) to discuss the role of young people in leading COVID-19 response and recovery efforts and agree on a ground-breaking strategic partnership and collaboration of engaging young people in future health related crises.

The partnership agreements signed by five of the Big Six are designed to increase multilateral collaboration and put young people at the heart of decision making, whilst the IFRC will use its existing partnership to achieve this goal. This represents an important milestone in the successful collaboration between the Big Six, the WHO, and the Global Youth Mobilization (GYM), a movement of young people taking action to address the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to build back better.

Young people today face an unparalleled time of challenge. In addition to the direct health impacts exacerbated by the pandemic, young people continue to be disproportionately affected by disruptions to education, loss or lack of employment opportunities, domestic and gender-based violence, and mental health challenges.

The new strategic agreements build on the Global Youth Mobilization, a successful initiative launched at the end of 2020 and supported by WHO and the UN Foundation through the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. The Global Youth Mobilization enables the rapid disbursement of micro grants to tens of thousands of young people worldwide to help develop solutions to ensure their communities emerge from the pandemic stronger than before. Through the “Local Solutions”, young people are driving change and implementing solutions in response to COVID-19 by taking action through community-based interventions and voluntary services. The initiative is powering change at a national level too through the engagement and activation of Big Six national organizations across the world.

The collaboration between WHO and the Big Six Youth Organizations includes a focus on the areas of mental and physical health, health promotion, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and climate and health.

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Commenting on the strategic collaboration, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said:

“WHO is proud to support the global movement to engage and empower young people as a driving force in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Working with the Big Six and the United Nations Foundation has provided a unique opportunity to learn from millions of young people and be guided by their enthusiasm and ideas to help communities build back better.

What the Big Six have achieved in a year through launching and implementing the Global Youth Mobilization is phenomenal and unparalleled in the youth development sector. We look forward tocontinuing our support through these new partnership agreements and encourage others to partner with the Big Six and invest in the health and well-being of future generations.”

Anna Segall, CEO of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and Chair of the Global Youth Mobilization, said: 

“We believe in young people’s agency and know that with the right support and opportunity they can imagine and lead the solutions to the global challenges we face today.

In coming together through the Global Youth Mobilization, the Big Six Youth Organisations have shown that by listening to young people and providing them with the space and resources to act, our organisations and young people can make a huge collective impact.

We look forward to continuing this vital work through our new strategic collaboration with the World Health Organization. By supporting young people to improve their mental and physical health, sexual and reproductive health and rights and tackle the impact of climate change we can work together to create a better, fairer future for all.”

To date the Global Youth Mobilization has already resulted in 200,000 young people actively engaged in addressing the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in their local communities. They have been at the forefront of the pandemic recovery throughout the Big Six. WAGGGS through 18 National Projects led by its Member Organisations has reached over 52,073 girls and young women to date in their various communities.

To read more about GYM and its reach so far, read "Powering Change: Young People Leading the COVID-19 Response and Recovery” impact report.

For more information contact:

Sophie Rymer

Global Programmes Manager, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts

Email: sophie.rymer@wagggs.org


Sam Williams

Global Youth Mobilization, Project Co-Lead

Email: sam.williams@intaward.org


Paleni Amulungu

Global Youth Mobilization, Digital Communications, Partnerships and Advocacy Coordinator

Email: paleni.amulungu@scout.org

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