We have a strong, proud tradition of speaking out for change.
Advocacy - or speaking out to influence people in positions of power - has been an integral part of Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting since the beginning. The Movement began in 1910 after a group of girls spoke out about what they wanted at the 1909 Crystal Palace Boy Scout rally. They demanded a Movement for girls, and they achieved it! This was the first advocacy activity in Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting, which laid the foundation for decades of advocacy actions by girls and young women all over the world.
For WAGGGS, advocacy means: We influence people to take decisions that will improve our lives and the lives of others.
Advocacy plays a crucial role in achieving our’ Vision of "an equal world where all girls can thrive" and our Mission “that by 2032 we will be a girl-led Movement where every and any girl feels confident to lead and empowered to create a better world together. ”. Being confident to lead means being prepared to speak out (against injustice) and take action on behalf of others.
How we empower girls and young women to advocate for change
We enable young women to participate in and speak out at the highest global decision-making bodies. We provide them with their first powerful experiences of speaking out to shape their future and that of their community.
In the last three years, more than 100 young women have attended key global events where they spoke side-by-side with Heads of States and key UN officials. They lobbied decision-makers on issues that they cared about, such as gender equality, and gender-based violence, nutrition, and girls's agency and empowerment, youth rights, non-formal education, and the environment and climate change.
Across the world, our Movement is a powerhouse of skills, commitment and energy. Decision-makers in the UN, youth organisations and other partners reach out to us because they see the influence, exposure and unique contribution that Girl Guides and Girl Scouts can offer. Together we send a strong message to society that there is a worldwide Movement of 8.9 million girls and young women that stand behind and speaks out for ALL girls around the world.
We not only speak out on behalf of girls and young women everywhere, but also empower young women to advocate for themselves, and support our national Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting associations to help girls speak out too.
- Get inspired by our 2022 Global Advocacy Champions!
- Download our advocacy toolkit to design your own advocacy efforts.
- Participate in WAGGGS’ global Stop the Violence: Speak out for girls’ rights campaign
- Apply to come along to an international event, such as the UN climate change conference or the UN Commission on the Status of Women, where you can be part of a youth delegation influencing decision-makers
- Become an expert on topics such as sustainable development or violence and help us develop resources for other young women and Member Organizations to use to advocate on these issues
Our advocacy definition
Several definitions of advocacy exist already. For WAGGGS, advocacy is simply:
We influence people to take decisions that will improve our lives and the lives of others
In detail this means:
- we influence people (by speaking, doing and educating )
- to take decisions (for example change policies or regulations, allocate funding, provide support)
- that will improve our life and the lives of others (the result we are trying to achieve)
For WAGGGS, influencing always includes:
Speaking Out, Doing and Educating
In detail this means:
- Speaking out on issues that affect girls and young women and influencing opinion-formers
- Doing projects that address root causes of issues affecting girls and young women
- Educating girls, young women and society at large in areas such as leadership, health, peace and world citizenship
Whatever the issue, for WAGGGS advocacy is about taking a stand and working for positive change. We speak out about important issues that affect girls and young women; we develop projects which directly improve people’s lives; and we educate girls and young women so they can positively change the world around them. Only when all three elements – speaking out, doing and educating – are present can we call it advocacy.