"CSW is a great opportunity for our voices to be heard."
Maria (Andrea) Amador Ruiz Velasco, 24, Mexico
I have been involved with Guiding for 17 years. I know. It sounds like a long time, but as the saying goes, time really does fly when you’re having fun.
Every Saturday at our Girl Guide meetings we work on topics including self-esteem, character, teamwork and leadership. Until recently I did not notice the huge impact Guiding had made on my life.
Last week I had several work interviews and there was a moment in each one when I was asked about my strengths and weaknesses.
It struck me that my strengths were teamwork, leadership and a good self-esteem. This amazing Movement has positively influenced my personality and helped me to become who I am.
Some of my favorite subjects are the environment, gender equality and women's empowerment, which are all tightly related to WAGGGS programmes.
This year I have the opportunity to be a remote delegate in the CSW.
In Mexico gender equality and women's empowerment still has a long way to go and I want to contribute as much as I can to improve this situation.
Every country has its own problems, but when gender is related these problems are similar; like the gender pay gap, gender roles, violence and discrimination.
In my country feminicide rates have increased. Girls cannot wear, say or go where they want because they fear violence. In September 2017 one girl never arrived home after she was rapped and killed by her Cabify driver.
I believe CSW is a great opportunity for our voices to be heard and demand our human rights.
"Girl Guides are agents of change."
Hanitra Rarison, 23, Madagascar
In Madagascar Girl Guides are agents of change.
As a Guide I have helped improve the well-being of others in my rural community, particularly through my study in agronomy.
I have been involved with the Movement for 17 years, while my mother has been a Guide my whole life.
I was brought up with these values and the lessons she passed on helped forge my character and taught me to never give up.
This inspired me to join the Girl Guides Association in Madagascar, Fanilon’i Madagasikara.
Guiding has contributed to my personal development, helped open my mind, become a team player and transform my society through community development.
I have learnt how to create local, national and international bonds.
At 2016 Juliette Low Seminar I discovered the Ghanaian culture and met international guide roommates.
Guiding has brought innovation to our community through body confidence, stop the violence, plus sharing the importance of gender equality and the environment.
My association’s development centre, SAHAFANILO, focuses on community development. It offers health, support and agricultural education for girls and women around Sadabe, a rural area.
As an agronomist I believe the empowerment of rural women and girls is key for development.
Being part of CSW62 will strengthen my knowledge about the situation of rural women and girls in other countries and how I can improve the situation in my own country.
I’m looking forward to learning more about advocacy and interacting with guides from around the world.
"I believe in an equal and fair world."
Jess Shire, 21, United Kingdom
I have been involved with guiding for as long as I can remember.
I started as a Rainbow then moved to Brownies, Guides and Rangers. Since then I have gone full-circle and now help to run a Brownie unit.
WAGGGS is such a huge organisation and I look forward to working with others to use my voice to make a difference.
Over the past few years, I’ve been fortunate enough to take part in many international adventures with Guiding. These include the World Scout Jamboree in Japan, Roverway in France, the World Moot Camp in Iceland and international conferences in the United Kingdom and India.
After hearing about the global goals and the work WAGGGS was doing at CSW62 this year I knew I had to apply for a position in the delegation team.
The theme of CSW62 is important to me. I believe all girls should have the same opportunities, regardless of where they live. I believe in an equal and fair world, where men and women should be given the same opportunities.
I hope this event will not only help me grow in confidence, but also inspire my Brownies. I want to show them anything is possible and they can make change which will help others.
I want to be a voice for those who are unable to make their own voices heard.
"I want to represent the voiceless girls and women."
Martha Atuheire, 25, Uganda
Guiding has be a supportive pillar in my life since I joined in 2006. It has motivated me and made me passionate about girls, women and social justice.
Before becoming part of the Movement I hadn’t encountered platforms designed to boast self-esteem. Then I joined the Uganda Girl Guides Association where I experienced a range of body confidence campaigns. They have been a great motivator which boosted my self-esteem further.
I no longer shy away when it comes to speaking out on issues or experiences I have faced. I’m also strong enough to stand up and speak out on issues affecting other girls and young women.
Recently I have had the opportunity to represent girls in my country as the National Youth Council’s publicity representative. This has helped drive me to become more confident and reach for more international opportunities. This includes CSW62, which I believe is a good chance to motivate other girls and young women.
I’m looking forward to sharing first hand experiences regarding gender equality and working towards global goals as a WAGGGS representative. I will be stepping out of a cocoon of silence and becoming an icon representing 10 million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from around the world.
I want to represent the voiceless girls and women, experiencing pain, intimidation and breaches in their human rights. I want to be an example, as a woman who has the suffered intimidation, abuse and atrocities of a gender biased society – but remains a positive role model.
"Girls and young women must have their rights recognised everywhere."
Noemi Abeniacar, 19, ItalyGuiding is a fundamental part of my life. I have no idea what life was like before it. I was a child when I first joined and have continued ever since; it’s probably one of the best decisions I’ve made.
Through the Movement I’ve had unforgettable experiences, like adventures with amazing people, as well as taking action to serve others. Taking part to international gatherings of Girl Scouts allowed me to interact with different cultures, talk with people my age from other countries and increase my awareness of inequalities and injustices. You can learn about these from news reports but you don’t truly understand until you speak with those involved.
I try to live by Gandhi’s quote, “be the change you want to see in the world”. Just complaining about things won’t change them. This year I am going to be a remote CSW62 delegate as we, Girl Guides, attempt to bring change.
Even though I live in a Western country I notice how gender-related inequalities impact the everyday life of a worryingly high number of women. The time is up. Girls and young women must have their rights recognised everywhere and put an end to disparities and violence.
I see CSW62 as a chance to do something active and positive for girl’s rights.
We can reach places where girls and women would otherwise not be heard or listened to. We can help others gain a voice and speak up for their rights. We can help change the lives of hundreds of thousands of girls and young women all over the globe.
"This is a game changer for women in rural areas."
Yvette Sena Blankson, 24, Ghana
I have always wanted to achieve more, but society has made this a challenge.
Throughout my schooling I’ve always been two to three years younger than other students, which meant I was subject to bullying, but this did not deter me.
When a Guide leader found me she saw a leader. She saw what I saw in myself and pushed me to achieve greater things. The Ghana Girl Guide Association gave me an avenue to use the voice and I found myself amongst a chorus of 10 million girls turning their voices from a whisper to a shout.
Guiding taught me to move at a higher pace, discover my potential, take the lead, grow and speak out. This led me to pursuing a degree in law, and three degrees in total, with the hopes of speaking for the voiceless women, especially where human rights and equality come into question.
I serve as the Ranger and Cadet commissioner in the Ghana Girl Guide Association. Previously I represented my association at the 35th World Conference in 2014, along with Stop and Violence and Free Being Me advocacy work. I am passionate about making the world a better place for little voices hoping to be heard.
CSW is one platform which gives room for girls and young women to come together to create a better world. I believe this is a game changer for women in rural areas who face all forms of discrimination.
As a remote delegate with WAGGGS at CSW62, I look forward to experiencing personal growth while creating a better world for future girls.