We are proud to bring you a new, exciting network of Global Advocacy Champions who will be participating in the 67th UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) from 6 - 17 March 2023. This is a unique opportunity for Girl Guides and Girl Scouts to advocate for the rights of girls and young women at an global level, and champion gender equality through the principal global intergovernmental body shaping global policy standards on women's rights.
By becoming Global Advocacy Champions, they will represent the concerns of girls and young women from their national Girl Guiding or Scouting association, and the diverse range of countries where they are from.
We chose our Global Advocacy Champions for their commitment to gender equality, their involvement in Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting and their ability to lead, challenge and create a ripple effect.
Media Enquires: If you would like the opportunity to talk with any of our Global Advocacy Champions about their activism and role in this global gathering please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Read our Reaction Statement to the CSW67 [Draft] Agreed Conclusions here
Read the results of our #SheSurfsFreedom Survey here
Meet our 2023 Global Advocacy Champions.
Abigail Christmas, Commonwealth of Dominica
BODY-CONFIDENCE AND BODY-POSITIVE CHAMPION, PODCASTER, GIRL GUIDE.
“I strongly believe that I need to be the change I want to see. Therefore, I will strive to positively impact the lives of women and girls in a revolutionary effort for action on body confidence.”
Abigail Christmas is a 22-year-old Girl Guide, advocate and body-positive enthusiast from the Commonwealth of Dominica. She is currently a Political Science and Law undergraduate student.
She is an advocate for women and the founder of an advocacy project called 'Perfect In My Own Skin'. The Perfect In My Own Skin project aims to promote body positivity and raise women's self-awareness and self-confidence.
Abigail is passionate about being a voice for the vulnerable, and so is motivated and involved in advocating for female empowerment, SDG5 gender equality and child abuse prevention.
Her involvement in the Girl Guides Association of Dominica led her to broaden her perspective on the importance of advocacy as she served as the Chairperson of the Advocacy Committee and was instrumental in the implementation of various advocacy campaigns, including a mandate to raise awareness on gender equality and child abuse prevention in Dominica.
Currently, Abigail is striving to develop her advocacy project into a brand that can influence how girls and women feel about themselves regardless of the societal stigma they face. Abigail has created a podcast for her project, which streams on Spotify, as she believes there should be no time limitation on when, where or how she can advocate for action on body confidence.
Ask Abigail about:
- Body Confidence and Self-Esteem
- SDG 5
Argie Muriuki, Kenya
NATIONAL YOUNG LEADER CHAIRPERSON, ACTION ON BODY CONFIDENCE ADVOCATE, STOP THE VIOLENCE CAMPAIGNER and GIRLS IN STEM ADVOCATE.
"Each day we live, everyone makes an impact, and we get to choose what that impact is. Girls and young women should be nurtured, protected, and invested in to reach their full potential. When one of us stands and speaks out, we all rise. We find our superpower together and can change the world and be historical."
Argie serves as a member of the Kenya Girl Guides Association (KGGA) National and Executive Board, where she represents young leaders aged between 18 to 35 years. She speaks English and Swahili.
She is an enthusiastic change agent, passionate about community development, innovation and social impact. She believes in the power of mentorship of girls and young women and gender equality.
"I strongly believe that all girls and women should have the tools and power to shape their future and use them to bring about change in their community and the world."
Argie has been a member of KGGA for the past 14 years and felt transformed after attending a Free Being Me training in 2016. This event changed her whole perspective on life.
"Free Being Me changed my perspective on how I see myself and others. It made me more confident in myself and my abilities. The programme was pivotal as it gave me a deeper understanding of body confidence and self-esteem, especially for us girls and young women, in achieving our goals and dreams."
Since then, she has been part of the Juliette Low Seminar (JLS), a YESS Girls Movement participant in 2020. She is currently a member of the WAGGGS People Committee as an under 30 years old representative.
She has participated in the delivery of Action on Body Confidence, WAGGGS Leadership Model, Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management and Advocacy on Stop The Violence, Girls in STEM and UN Challenge Badge Plastic Tide Turners.
Professionally, she is a Food Scientist with four years of experience in training and imparting knowledge and technical skills to students around sustainable and safe food systems.
Argie is an ardent supporter of facilitating more girls and women in STEM as they play a significant role in fighting hunger, increasing food and nutritional security and strengthening sustainable agriculture. This path has led her into the world of human-centred design as she wanted to use the skills gained to solve issues around our food systems.
As a Human-centred design fellow at Mideva Venture Labs, she has honed her skills in design which has led her to grow in both her personal and professional life.
Ask Argie about:
- Girls and Young Women in Governance and Decision Making
- Action on SDG 2 – Zero Hunger, SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being, SDG 5- Gender Equality, SDG 13- Climate Action
- Girls and Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Elissa Trad, Lebanon
BROWNIES AND RANGERS LEADER, AMBASSADOR OF CHANGE, ADVOCATE FOR ENDING CHILD ABUSE AND EARLY CHILD MARRIAGE, ACTIVIST ENGAGED IN PROMOTING GENDER EQUALITY
“Change. Make the change, be the change.’ This is my single motto in life and a reminder for both professional work and to serve the community.”
Elissa is a Girl Guide at the Guides Nationales Orthodoxes (GNO) Association-Lebanon. She is a Global Advocacy Champion at the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and is fluent in Arabic, English and French, with basic Italian.
As a purpose-driven person, Elissa has participated in several programs that positively contribute to the world and drive change. These include participating in UN Simulation models as a delegate, advisor, and trainer to advance the 2030 Agenda.
Elissa has also focused on expanding her knowledge in detecting and ceasing child abuse and child marriage from her volunteering experience with a Lebanese NGO: Himaya -pour l'innocence en danger. This experience has also influenced her to develop Girl Scouting activities for Brownies to raise awareness on this challenging topic that needs to be addressed and exists within their world.
She was also elected as an Ambassador of Change with the UN Global Compact for the year 2022-2023 to advance the SDGs in her environment and create an influence on and off campus. This experience has motivated her to apply for the MEPI TLS and continue to grow the SDGs.
This scholarship has provided valuable and insightful expert presentations on gender-based workshops and other topics and connected her with advocates and NGOs working towards achieving gender equality.
"They highlighted different subjects I wasn't aware of, from the misidentified day-to-day discrimination to the oppression baked into the existing system."
As part of this scholarship, she contributed to three policy papers, analysing pressing social issues that present gender inequalities and recommending solutions for the problems. She further shared her experience by writing a blog for Brownies and, more broadly, the Girl Scouts of Lebanon.
Outside of Girl Scouting, Elissa is a psychology student and member of the gender and sexuality club at her university. This group has shaped her views and work, creating a friendly environment for everyone with no exceptions. The activities and events complement the purpose of this club, such as the event with Marsa about sexual safety and consent to the free STI testing with SIDC.
Ask Elissa about:
- Sustainable Development Goals 4, 5, and 10
- Child abuse and child marriage in Lebanon
- Gender equality and sexual education
Faustine Shimo, Rwanda
GENDER EQUALITY CHAMPION, COMMUNICATIONS AND TRANSLATION, FINANCIAL CAPACITY BUILDING
“While advocating for girls and young women rights, I believe that considering their opinions involving them in decision making is the most important step to make change ”
Faustine is an active Girl Guide and an advocate for girls and young women's rights at the Association des Guides du Rwanda. She is a BBA graduate from the University of Rwanda with honours in Finance, and her career aspirations are to combine being an international financial analyst and women's rights advocate. She fluently speaks French, English and Kinyarwanda.
Faustine actively participates in Girl Guiding National and international events. Currently, she is part of the WAGGGS Capacity Building Finance team contributing to the development of different materials for Member Organisations (MO), and also contributing as a French translator. She has attended various WAGGGS online events as an English-French interpreter.
Faustine is an active YESS alumna currently serving as the YESS Accounts Assistant at her MO. She has participated in various WAGGGS training sessions, for example, the Capacity Assessment Tools Mentor, Voices Against Violence and Free being Me and Action Body confidence curricula.
She has organised several campaigns aimed at addressing gender equality gaps in her community and raising awareness on this topic among girls and young women. As a member of her Association's communications team, Faustine participated in and shared many online campaigns, including, Choose to challenge and 16 days of activism. In the latter, she was a content creator for social media and web, speaking up for girls' rights and calling people to action.
As a member of the National training team, she has prior experience in training recruited members and raising awareness and use of Girl Guiding educational programs across the country. Through IOGT NTO MOVEMENT, she is part of the National Project task force that aims to prevent alcohol and drug abuse among the Youth through media and community-based campaigns.
Faustine was selected to attend several global events with WAGGGS, including The Juliette Low Seminar (the flagship Leadership event for young women), the 12th Africa Regional Conference, where she was the Communications Team Head, the 37th WAGGGS World Conference and The Youth Exchange South to South (YESS) Girls' Movement.
Ask Faustine about:
- Communication and advocacy campaigns
- Stop the Violence against girls and young women
- Inclusion and Rights of persons with disabilities
- Surf Smart
Freja Dohrn Ellefsen, Norway
GENDER EQUALITY ADVOCATE AND VOICE AGAINST VIOLENCE CONNECTING ALL SDGS. CHILD RIGHTS PROFESSIONAL.
“If we do not achieve gender equality, we will never achieve the other Sustainable Development Goals. There is no education and health, poverty elimination, equality or peace or good governance without it! Gender equality benefits not only girls and young women but all of us.”
Freja is a Norwegian youth advocate with WAGGGS, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. She is based in Brussels, Belgium. Freja is fluent in English, as well as her mother tongues, Danish and Norwegian, and is learning French.
Freja is an advocate for gender equality and social justice, focused on amplifying the voices of girls and young women. She has been engaged in local, national and international youth councils and forums and is a former UN Youth Delegate on Sustainability. Freja is an experienced public speaker and moderator and loves using creative writing to amplify her messages.
Freja is passionate about the impact of gender inequality on other Sustainable Development Goals, including goals on poverty reduction, health, education, inequalities, peace and governance. She is focused on tackling the root causes of gender-based violence and discrimination in global politics and everyday life.
Freja has a degree in International Relations and works as a Policy and Advocacy Officer for a child-rights INGO in Brussels.
Ask Freja about:
- Sustainable Development Goals
- Child and Youth Participation and the political empowerment of women and girls
- Gender-based violence and discrimination
- Gender equality advocacy and policy change
Hannah Brisbane, United Kingdom
GIRLGUIDING VOLUNTEER. GENDER EQUALITY CAMPAIGNER. PARTICIPATION AND YOUTH VOICE ADVOCATE. POLICY EXPERT ON PUBLIC POLICY & GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE.
Hannah has been a member of Girlguiding UK and Girlguiding Scotland since she was nine years old. She has held several local and national roles throughout her time in both organisations.
Until 2022, Hannah was Girlguiding Scotland’s Lead Volunteer for Voice leading the organisation’s advocacy and campaigning work. In this role, she established the youth forum, Speak Out, which provides Girlguiding Scotland member’s a platform to influence decision-makers on the issues that matter to them.
With Speak Out, Hannah has co-produced national campaigns on issues such as gender equality in politics and tackling harmful portrayals of women in the media.
Hannah is also very passionate about guiding at the local level and offering a girl-led space for girls to have fun and learn new skills. Having been a unit helper for several years, Hannah is excited to begin her leadership qualification with her local Rainbows unit.
Outside of Girl Guiding, Hannah has a keen interest in politics and studied the subject alongside French at university. She currently works for Scotland’s leading feminist policy and advocacy organisation as a Policy Officer. In this role, she is managing a project which explores public policy as a tool to prevent violence against women and girls.
Ask Hannah about:
- Gender-based violence
- Gender mainstreaming in social and public policy
- Participation and co-producing campaigns with young people
Himanshi Tomar, India
YOUNG LEADER, U-REPORT AMBASSADOR’S TEAM LEAD, BOARD OF DIRECTOR, HR LEAD, ADVOCATE FOR THE GENDER EQUALITY AND RIGHTS OF GIRLS AND YOUNG WOMEN
“Every girl and young woman should be educated about their rights. Individuals should be equipped to recognise and fight against issues they face in their communities and provided with brave and safe spaces to raise their voices and contribute to meaningful decision making.”
Himanshi Tomar is a 25 years old youth advocate with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) and based in New Delhi, India. She speaks Hindi and English.
Himanshi is a Programme Implementation Professional from the Bharat Scouts and Guides, India, passionate about ensuring that all girls and young women are provided equal opportunities, especially the ones from underrepresented communities. She has collaborated with UNICEF (U-Report India and YuWaah - Generation Unlimited) to provide youth with a platform to raise their voices and learn 21st Century Skills such as Fundoo, Design for Change, Young Warrior, and Jagrik – Community the Youth Collective.
"I strongly believe that girls and women should be meaningfully engaged in decision-making. Where no decision is made for her without her."
She was involved in the relationship establishment of U-Report India and The Bharat Scouts and Guides (BSG), developing polls with her U-Report Ambassador Taskforce on issues such as Menstrual Hygiene Management, Girls in STEM and Climate Change and Environment. As a result, BSG now has 170K+ U-Reporters, of which 100K+ are girls and women.
Himanshi and BSG have created a five-day advocacy and leadership programme for girls and young women called 'My Rights and Me as a Leader'. The programme includes topics and activities such as: Constitutional and Fundamental Rights and Responsibilities, the WAGGGS Six Leadership Mindsets and an advocacy training toolkit called, Speak Out For Her World, practical exposure to the Governing bodies such as National/State/District Legal Service Authorities, National/State/District Commission for Women, Supreme Court/High Court and Police Stations. Himanshi coordinated and organised seminars across five regions where over 340+ girls and young women received the training.
She is an experienced organiser of seminars on various WAGGGS programmes, including Surf Smart 2.0, Free Being Me, Stop the Violence, Menstrual Hygiene Management, Generation Equality, International Women's Day, and Girl Child Day and has participated in the events such as Commission for the Status of Women (CSW66), Helen Storrow Pop-Up Seminar, and a Digital Media Workshop.
As a part of the WAGGGS Team of Volunteers, she was a facilitator at the WAGGGS 14th Asia Pacific Regional Conference –and a communications lead at the Young Women's Pre-Event. She also volunteers in a budding Online Community called "The Naya Nayan" as the Board Director and HR Lead. The focus of this community is on spreading awareness about sex education and various types of cancers affecting the human body.
In her free time, she collaborates with her mother in learning and exploring different creative and new things that add value to their life. She loves to explore new places (close to nature), meet new people, and learn about their culture and values.
Ask Himanshi about:
- Rights of Girls and Women
- Advocacy – “Speak Out For Her World”
- Meaningful Youth Engagement in decision making and community development
Joan Nakawuki, Uganda
CAMPAIGNER EDUCATING ABOUT UNREALISTIC BEAUTY STANDARDS AND AN ADVOCATE FOR GENDER EQUALITY
“Beauty standards of beauty for young women in Uganda are different to those from other countries, yet young women all over the world are constantly made to feel less, constantly being compared and told to look a certain way: These standards are unacceptable and increase the struggle with body image and more extreme measures to ‘achieve’ perfection.”
Nakawuki Joan is a youth advocate with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) in Uganda. She speaks English, Luganda and Lugisu.
She is a campaigner and young activist from the Uganda Girl Guides Association, collaborating with WAGGGS to raise awareness about Beauty Standards in Uganda and educating children on the value of practising self-love, self-acceptance and body confidence.
She is also a Stop the Violence campaigner and advocate for gender equality in Uganda. In 2019, she played a part in the national campaign of #OurStreetstoo about street harassment in Uganda.
During this time, she was a key team member advocating for the inclusion of “Ending unrealistic beauty standards”. This campaign was featured on national radio stations and newspapers like New Vision and Daily Monitor.
Alongside a group of Girl Guides across Uganda, Joan’s work has impacted 1000+ girls about Free Being Me/ Action on Body Confidence, and she hopes to continue this work across the country.
Ask Joan about:
● Action on Sustainable Development Goals 3, 4 and 5
● Body confidence
● Unrealistic beauty standards
Johanna Veit, Germany
YOUNG DELEGATE. INTERNATIONAL VOLUNTEER. YOUTH LEADER. FREE BEING ME FACILITATOR AND COORDINATOR.
“I want to contribute to making the virtual and physical space safer for girls and young women.”
Johanna Veit, known as Jojo, is a youth advocate with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) from Munich, Germany. She is studying International Business and Politics in Denmark and speaks German, English and Danish.
As a passionate and dedicated girl, she has been a youth leader for almost a decade, joining guiding and scouting in Germany when she was six years old! At the start of 2022, she joined the international working group and shortly after, she became one of the WAGGGS young delegates for the German Federation and represented Germany at the 17th European Guide and Scout Conference (EGSC) in 2022. At the event, she also took on the role of social media co-head for the German international working group in her Member Association in the lead-up to and during the conference.
In 2022 she also became a Free Being Me facilitator and is now one of the program coordinators in Germany. Furthermore,
“I believe Free Being Me is an amazing program that clarifies how beauty standards are unhealthy and wrong. It’s a tool to strengthen body confidence and encourages us to be free being ourselves, so we are empowered to speak up and take action.”
Due to her strong interest and knowledge in communication and social media, she is keen to boost and be part of the increasing representation of strong females in the media. She has taken the opportunity to be part of this by agreeing to be the protagonist in a documentary TV production about her Member Association’s national summer camp this year.
“For me, highlighting the presence of young women in the media is one big, visible step towards gender equality.”
Ask Jojo about:
- Gender equality and feminism
- Female presence in the media
- Social Media and Communications
- Business and Politics
Kawamura Akane, Japan
GENDER EQUALITY CAMPAIGNER. GIRL SCOUT LEADER
“In Japan, it is difficult to advance in the sciences, so I would like to increase the number of women active in science-related fields. As a woman who majored in the humanities, I want to be a role model, showing that working in fields such as IT and programming is possible regardless of whether you majored in the humanities or the sciences.”
Kawamura Akane is a Girl Scout leader from the Girl Scouts of Japan. Currently, she is a member of the Program Committee in Nara, West Japan and runs several projects yearly. She speaks Japanese and English.
She is interested in how girls and young women can have the power to change the world.
"I've been a Girl Scout since 2009 and learned that there are many things girls can do, including taking on leadership roles. In society, girls and young women taking on these roles may be more limited, so it's important to develop our strengths. We can also create a new environment where these strengths are valued and adapt mindsets."
In 2022, she and her team created "Gender Research by Girls 2022. The study revealed the attitudes and experiences of gender equality in her community and that they are influenced by education from childhood and by what adults say and do to them.
She has a Japanese leader certificate for running gender equality program and teaching middle and high school students to work towards gender equality. In 2022, she led programs focussed on gender at Girl Scouts of Japan's 100th Anniversary International Camp. This included explaining the language and scale of gender, as well as recognizing and how to act on gender issues in Japan.
Akane is a university student majoring in IT and studying educational engineering.
Ask Akane about:
・Gender inequality in Japan and female voices
Krizzle Sim Joyce Gonzales-Creag, Philippines
EDUCATION, GENDER EQUALITY AND ACTION ON BODY CONFIDENCE ADVOCATE
“As a child victim of sexual harassment and now a public school teacher, I want to raise awareness and advocate for the rights of women who have been abused - knowingly and unknowingly. ”
Krizzle Sim Joyce Gonzales-Creag is a Filipino Troop Leader of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines (GSP) and a member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). She is 29 years old and speaks Tagalog and English.
Krizzle has been in the GSP movement since high school and continued to serve the organisation after starting full-time employment as a public school teacher in the province of Batangas.
As a young adult representative, she has participated in various advocacy campaigns for WAGGGS and GSP, such as Free Being Me, Stop the Violence, Action on Body Confidence, and Girl-Powered Nutrition. She has attended several related trainings and served as resource speaker/facilitator of the Free Being Me and Action on Body Confidence campaign in two of their council-wide camps, attended by thousands of girls.
Krizzle uses her professional skills to influence and raise awareness not just among young women but among all of her students on promoting gender equality and the importance of speaking up for women's rights as a teacher of "Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao", a subject that focuses on the moral and ethical development of students.
She has mentored and advised young girls to be community leaders in supporting Chief Girl Scout Medalists, the highest award for Girl Scouts in the Philippines. These girls worked on community projects in health, nutrition, and ecology for a year under her supervision. Consequently, she received the Asia Pacific Leadership Awardee for Troop Leaders in 2021.
Recently, she was a delegate for the Philippines and virtually attended the #SheCan International Camp 2022 by Girl Guides Singapore. She is also the head of the core group of their council, promoting girl-guiding activities online and in person through their social media pages.
Ask Krizzle about:
- Sustainable Development Goals 5 (Gender Equality) and 4 (Quality Education)
- Action on Body Confidence
- Free Being Me
Laura Hicks, Australia
GENDER EQUALITY CHAMPION, CAMPAIGNER
“I describe myself as a passionate, educated advocate for young women’s advancements in leadership and decision-making to create more opportunities for girls and young women to create positive, effective change for the coming generations to give them the opportunities we didn’t have to create a more inclusive world.”
Laura Ives Hicks is a youth advocate with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), based in Perth, Australia. She is currently a Board Member of Girl Guides Western Australia, a unit leader, a JLS participant, and a member of multiple Young Women’s Forums and other advocacy working groups. She speaks English.
She feels most strongly about empowering young women to discover their potential as leaders of their worlds and raising awareness within her community and abroad on issues of injustice experienced and faced by women. These issues include gender inequality, sexual harassment, and the lack of women in leadership and decision-making within state and federal governments.
She has participated in Girls Take over Parliament and the #TeamGirl UN forum, which has given her exposure to how decision-making occurs with levels of Government. She has also witnessed the lack of diversity within policy thinking and construction, which drives her to make a positive change.
Laura wants to see a future world where girls can reach their full potential and have the opportunity to speak up without fear of discrimination or being ostracised by society. Her opportunities have allowed her to pass on her skills to others within the community, enabling other girls to grow into confident leaders.
Currently, Laura is studying for her Master’s in Public Policy and Management, previously studying History and Criminal Behaviour. This study has led her to begin her career within Government. During her undergrad, Laura ran the university magazine and was an active member of the student body advocating for more significant opportunities for women to enter and be part of the university decision-making process.
Ask Laura about:
- Policy and decision-making, as well as policy analysis
- Getting into decision-making positions
- Action on Sustainable Development Goals 3, 5, 10 and 16
Linda Wilson, Ghana
GENDER EQUALITY CHAMPION, CAMPAIGNER, GLOBAL ADVOCATE
"I know girls and young women can speak up, and I am here to encourage them. Working together can influence others to pay attention to what we say. "
Linda is a volunteer of the Ghana Girl Guides Association. An alumnus of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana, she is now working toward a master's degree at the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences in Germany in the Analysis and Design of Social Protection Systems. She hopes to make a difference in people's lives through her Girl Guiding and her future work on completing her studies in social work.
She is joyful about her Girl Guiding journey and shares with us, "it has been wonderful because I've had the opportunity to take part in training programs on topics like the WAGGGS Leadership mindset, Action on Body Confidence (ABC), Free Being Me (FMB), Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM), Surf Smart, Stop the Violence, and others to address issues that affect girls and young women around the world. Ghana Girl Guides Association kindled the spirit of volunteerism in me, and I made it as one of the first YESS participants from Ghana deployed to Rwanda in 2020."
"The Youth Exchange South to South (YESS) programme built my self-confidence and boosted my self-esteem, helping me lead, grow, and impact my world. I was the advocacy team lead of the YESS programme in 2021, and my team created a campaign to prevent early child marriages in the North-East Region of Ghana. The campaign included radio talk shows to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on girls' lives, as well as taking part in the Agoo Content Creation initiative, run by UNICEF and Viamo, which was a co-creation programme focussed on developing mobile-friendly messaging with young people, for young people, to encourage the adoption of healthy behaviours.
As a YESS alumna, she also participated in the 'Back to My Roots' project in Ghana's Ashanti Region, specifically in Kotwi, equipping roughly 20 young women with entrepreneurial skills to be able to be independent and responsible citizens.
"I feel incredibly empowered now, and with the help of the other Global Advocacy Champions, I can't wait to use this platform to empower as many young women as possible. We won't give up until Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 is achieved because, as Billie Jean King once remarked, 'Champions keep playing until they get it right.'"
Ask Linda about,
- WAGGGS Global Programmes
- Sustainable Development Goal 5
- Girl-led Advocacy
Lonjezo Phiri, Malawi
YOUNG LEADER, TRAINER, FREE BEING ME AND MENSTRUAL HYGIENE ADVOCATE
Lonjezo is a Young Leader, National trainer and active member of the Malawi Girl Guides Association (MAGGA). Joining in 2009, she has completed training to become a trainer on Free Being Me and for menstrual hygiene management, gender equality and climate change. She has been a member of WAGGGS for over ten years and speaks English and Chichewa.
Through MAGGA, Lonjezo has developed a passion for empowering young people as a way of aiding them to develop their fullest potential and as responsible citizens of the country, Taking action for the development of their communities, nation and world.
Lonjezo is a social worker who advocates for women's and girls' rights to achieve gender equality and end violence against women and girls.
She believes and has seen physical evidence of menstrual hygiene management information and skills in sewing reusable sanitary pads impacting young women's body confidence and reducing period poverty.
Lonjezo has participated in and attended several Global events, including leadership training and youth empowerment programs through the Youth Exchange South to South (YESS) Movement at Sangam (world centre) in India and Zambia. The skills, knowledge and personal confidence gained at these events have consequently helped Lonjezo develop a waste management campaign in schools and communities through the Back to My Roots campaign.
For two years (2021- 2022), Lonjezo has been a Team Leader for Membership Development to increase the membership growth of the MAGGA association.
Ask Lonjezo about:
- Menstrual Hygiene Management
- SDG 3, 5,10 and 13
- Membership Development
Maria Dismas Komba, Tanzania
CLIMATE CHAMPION AND ADVOCATE
Maria is a Tanzania Girl Guide Association member and speaks English and Swahili. She advocates for girl-led climate change action and previously participated in the Juliette Lowe Seminar in 2022.
Alongside studying for a degree in marketing and Girl Guiding, she is a volunteer with a mixture of environmental organisations. She has been part of teams creating short-term campaigns to inspire action within the community. These have been for beach and market clean-ups and planting trees.
In 2022, she attended 10 Billion Strong and, from there, asked to become a campaigner and Greenlander. She is participating in different NGOs focussed on the issue of climate change and how it affects women and girls. She recently participated in a campaign in late 2022 called “ TEMEKE SAFI”, which targeted decision-makers on the importance of a clean environment and the need for bylaws (both a legal framework and implemented) that mandate and support people to protect their environment.
She is also involved with activities highlighting gender issues and differences. She participated in a local campaign to raise awareness of autonomous body rights. The theme was a Girl can say YES or NO to her body under AIESEC. The campaign rollout included facilitating awareness-raising sessions for girls on their body rights. These sessions were followed by the launch of the YESS program campaign, “Yes Girls can say No to early marriage.”
An active member participating yearly in the global 16 Days of Activism activity, becoming an advocate for Gender-based Violence under the Lola Cater organisation in 2022.
She has Guidance and counselling skills, knowledge acquired through completing a two-year education course.
Ask Maria about
- Sustainable Development Goals 4, 5, 7, 13
- Gender-Based Violence
- Creating Campaigns
Mitchell Jonathan, Zimbabwe
DOVE YOUTH BOARD MEMBER, FOUNDER OF TALITHA TOGETHER, YESS PROGRAM AND TASK FORCE ALUMNI, ACTIVIST FOR GENDER EQUALITY
“It is important to allow girls and young women to reach their fullest potential and give them the platform to make decisions and contribute to policies that affect them. My passion and mission are to ensure that education, formal or informal, is used as a tool to empower girls and young women.”
Mitchell is a member of the Girl Guides Association of Zimbabwe; she is a young leader and trainer of trainers, speaking English, Shona, Ndebele and Zulu. She is also a Youth Advocate with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. An international relations student and was her university's 2019-2020 United Nations Association President. She also participated at CSW65 as a WAGGGS Observer.
As part of the Girl Guides Association of Zimbabwe, Mitchell participated in the YESS Program in Madagascar in 2018 and has also been trained in Kenya as one of the Africa region facilitators of the WAGGGS Leadership Model. She has also led campaign action on topics of environmental leadership, Menstrual Hygiene Management, Stop The Violence, Free Being Me and Surf Smart
Mitchell believes body confidence and self-esteem, and quality education are essential tools for girl child and women's empowerment. She also believes that girls and young women have the right to participate in the decision and policy-making processes on matters that affect them.
Mitchell is a winner of the Women@DIOR program, a UNESCO and Christian Dior mentorship and educational program built on the core values of self-care and self-awareness, autonomy, creativity, sustainability and inclusion. Through this program, she founded Talitha Together as a project and is now a Non-Profit Organisation which empowers and supports pregnant teens in Southern Africa in resources, education, and prenatal and postnatal classes.
Mitchell is also a member of the Dove Youth Board, which promotes body image education and advocacy, paying attention to local education disparities and opportunities, raising awareness of colourism and hair discrimination, and taking action to tackle social media's impact on body image.
Ask Mitchell about
- YESS Program
- Advocacy Campaigns
- Menstrual Hygiene
- Body Image and Confidence
Nistor Maria-Ecaterina, Romania
WOMEN'S EMPOWERMENT AND EQUALITY CHAMPION, CLIMATE AMBASSADOR, LEGALLY TRAINED
“ I believe that everyone’s voice matters, no matter how small. When you have the opportunity to speak up, speak up for everyone, especially for those who can’t. Your first duty when given a microphone is to share it! ”
Nistor Maria-Ecaterina is a member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) from Romania. She speaks Romanian, English, French and German.
A law student at the University of Bucharest, in collaboration with the University of Paris (Sorbonne) and the University of Cambridge (British Law School). Passionate about international and European organisations from high school, she has participated in and organised Model United Nations events since then. She is currently a member of the UN Youth organisation, aiming to raise awareness among young people on the SDGs and UN events.
In 2019, she participated in “Unlock Leadership for Change”, a WAGGGS project that has taken place in Malmo, aiming to develop knowledge of the SDGs and leadership skills. In the same year, she also finished a Trainers Class at Predeal, having the skills needed to use the given information on the training of other leaders.
She has been active on WAGGGS projects and campaigns promoting peace, World Thinking Day, Stop the Violence and Help for Ukraine.
Nistor Maria-Ecaterina is involved in climate action projects, being declared by the European Economic and Social Committee as a Your Europe, Your Say (YEYS) Climate ambassador, a Student leader of the International Renewable Energy Agency and an ambassador of DiscoverEU, a project by the European Commission to give students opportunities to travel sustainably and discover new traditions and cultures in Europe.
She takes an interest in international news and enjoys participating in conferences, for example, Youth Ambassadors 4 Climate Change, Climate Change Summit and Sustainable Futures.
She is open-minded and articulate, making connections across her work. Especially true within the East European space, developing a network from her opportunity to participate in ERASMUS and the Solidarity European Corps.
She hopes to use these friendships to pass the megaphone to as many women as possible from different backgrounds, representing Eastern Europe with support from organisations such as GirlUp and Hertimeromania.
Ask Nistor Maria-Ecaterina about
- Global Legal Frameworks
- The Sustainable Development Goals and UN Systems
- Action in Eastern Europe
Onja Erica Gorettie Rakotonandrasana Madagascar
NATIONAL BOARD COMMUNICATIONS, ENVIRONMENTAL CHAMPION, GLOBAL EVENT TRANSLATOR
“I am convinced that if everyone plays their part and shares responsibility, we can change this world together for a better one. ”
Onja joined the Movement as a 12 year old; from starting as part of the Green Branch, she is now a member of the National Board communications team. She speaks Malagasy, French and English.
She was a small, shy girl before joining the Girl Guide Association and the Movement’s impact was noted within her first months there; she began to be bolder, built new friendships and was more open to others and their opinions. “I realised that Guiding was not only an activity but, it is really a chosen lifestyle with values,” said Onja
“Being taught about the WAGGGS leadership skills and model, I knew that it was needed, helpful and beneficial for all girls in their lives in and outside girl guiding, and so I wanted more people to learn about the mindsets. So, I started by organising small sharing sessions in my local district and unit so that more people could understand.”
Onja's eyes were opened when joining projects with the national board and international events. From these experiences, it was the first time she knew and felt that Girl Guiding was a worldwide movement.
Examples of global event experience include participating in the Arts for Change Kusafiri programme, Madagascar 2018. "Being inspired by the leadership style I saw and gained during the event, I implemented it in my daily life, district and community. I was motivated to learn more and to give back, so I applied and was successful for the Youth Exchange South to South program."
During the six-month exchange, she gained different experiences and shared her own. "I learned what and how to facilitate during an event, how to lead, learn and include people from different backgrounds and how to create communications materials for social media.
"I learnt greatly from our diversity and realised that there are many similarities and overlaps - not only what I have and want, but our global group experiences and concerns that are most important and matter."
She was also a translator at JLS 2019 as part of the Madagascar hub. It was a technical task; however, it brought her many new experiences and inspiration.
Her passions are travelling, discovery and nature, and these preferences are reflected in her recent action focus on SDGs number 13, 14 and 15 because these are dedicated to protecting the environment.
“I have learned from all my experiences that everyone’s voice matters. Mindset is really important and can help people grow and feel valued. When you listen to them, they feel respected and gain more confidence. You’re supporting bringing out their existing power.”
Ask Onja about
- Action on Sustainable Development Goals 13, 14, 15
- Climate Change
- WAGGGS Leadership Mindsets
Wafaa Mohammad, Brunei
RANGERS CHIEF COMMISSIONER, AP YOUNG WOMEN AMBASSADOR, ADVOCATE FOR SELF-EMPOWERMENT
“I believe that we can be the voice for women and young girls to feel more included and to be the first GAC from Brunei; I hope I will be a good role model and example to follow by my fellow guiding community and those in my country. ”
Wafaa is an active member of the Girl Guide Association of Brunei Darussalam, serving as a Chief Commissioner for Rangers. She speaks Malay and English.
Being a full-time high school Chemistry teacher and part-time entertainment TV host and radio newsreader, she takes this opportunity to positively impact as many people as possible, especially young girls. She has devoted herself to raising awareness of self-belief and values, so they can take charge of their destiny and make the right decisions for them. Due to her continuous work on empowerment, she was selected to represent Brunei in The Ship for Southeast Asian and Japanese Youth Program (SSEAYP) to discuss “Empowerment of All People” and other SDGs.
Wafaa’s most significant professional challenge to date was teaching online throughout the COVID-19 period. She discovered that creating a virtual space free from psychological and verbal violence was incredibly important when using digital technology to support students' growth, especially girls. It became crucial to ensure a safe and healthy environment to maximise any learning experience. Being a programme leader for Surf Smart and Free Being Me in Brunei, she has had the opportunity to share this knowledge, raise awareness and guide younger girls.
In 2019, Wafaa participated in The Juliette Low Seminar (JLS), where she learned more about SDG 5, Gender Equality, from a holistic perspective. As part of her ‘100 Girls Project’, she seized the opportunity to share the WAGGGS’ leadership model with more than 100 young girls and leaders. Together with this, the project explored what it means to have a strong mindset and ‘own drive’, all related to and impacted by gender (in)equality.
In the same year, she also became the WAGGGS’ Asia Pacific Young Women Ambassador in Taiwan, where she worked with the team to research on Motion 32: Young Women in Governance. The movement stressed the importance of involving Young Women in decision-making roles.
Ask Wafaa about:
- SDG 4 and 5
- Free Being Me Programme
- Advocacy on Self-empowerment
- Young Women in Governance
Selina Mukoko Shiku- Zambia
YOUNG LEADER, YESS 2020 ALUMNA, TEAM ZIMBABWE 2021 WORLD CONFERENCE TELLER.
“Nothing is more powerful than teaching girls and young women how to take care of themselves and end period poverty and body confidence.” ”
Selina is a young Zambian leader with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) and works closely with its Member Organisation, the Girl Guides Association of Zambia (GGAZ). She speaks English, Nyanja, Bemba and Tumbuka.
As a young leader with GGA, Zelina has organised training events for 16 days Activism pack, using the WAGGGS resources, to raise awareness and voice about gender-based violence.
As part of this work, her focus this past year was on digital violence and raising awareness of how it takes many forms. Working with her chief commissioner, Ms Getrude Jere, they identified some of those forms together. “Whenever you feel attacked, you can now be ready to speak up and surf your freedom! Your voice matters, so we need to stand up for those being abused on social media and support our sisters,” said Selina.
She was also part of the action plan to support girls adapting to the new normal during the Covid-19 epidemic and was part a participant. The sessions were both leadership refreshers and covid crushers for Zambia.
Becoming a YESS girl was like the start of a lifetime journey with a sisterhood for all YESS girls. In commemoration of menstrual hygiene day, she led the YESS alumnae to visit the Chongwe community to educate girls and young women about menstrual hygiene and to donate pads: celebrating periods as part of their back to my root campaign.
At a global level, she also participated as a teller for the 37th World Conference. She supported and participated in the running of the conference by counting and verifying votes.
Ask Selina about
- Body confidence and self-esteem
- Community action relating to menstrual hygiene
- Digital gender-based violence