MDG 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Egypt: With poverty and food insecurity on the rise in Egypt, Girl Guides Association of Egypt decided to deliver 15 educational sessions for 375 people aiming to improve their knowledge regarding the benefits of proper nutrition, the importance of regular medical check ups and benefits of breastfeeding. The Association supported 50 women and adolescent girls to undertake blood analysis – 60 per cent turned out to be malnourished and anaemic. They were treated free of charge and provided healthy meals three times a week. After a month, another blood analysis was held and only 20 per cent were still anaemic and receiving treatment.
Canada: In Canada the ‘Eradicate Hunger and Poverty 2010 National Service Project’ proved a unique way for Girl Guides of Canada to learn about hunger and poverty in their communities, across their country and around the world. The toolkit they used for the project has been helping units plan projects to take action against hunger where they live. Girl Guides took part in activities such as collecting and donating food to a food bank, planting a garden and donating the food, volunteering at a food bank and writing letters to local politicians. The units were challenged to donate at least 50 kilograms to a local poverty relief organization or volunteer for 50 hours.
Zambia: In a rural area of Zambia, on the outskirts of Lusaka, girls and young women in the Kamanga community face extreme social and economic challenges. High school drop-out rates, drug and alcohol abuse, high crime rates, homes run by children and a high prevalence of HIV and AIDS are all present in this impoverished area. As a result, girls do not go to school and they are vulnerable to teenage pregnancies.
The Girl Guides Association of Zambia (GGAZ) decided to focus their rural Guiding programme in the Kamanga area after they encountered a 16-year old girl from the area who had been raped and became pregnant at 15. This encounter led them to assess the needs of the community and find a way to help.
As a champion of the GAT programme, GGAZ decided to use a GAT project to reach out to girls and young women and empower them to receive education, gain life skills and make positive changes in the community.
Despite meeting many challenges, the GGAZ engaged 97 girls from disaffected and highly disadvantaged families on a life skills and economic empowerment programme. The Zambia national AIDS network donated sewing machines and provided ‘seed money’ for girls to begin their own businesses after undertaking training in tailoring, bead work, gardening, art crafts, weaving, hair plaiting and cookery. GGAZ also acquired scholarships from DanChurchAid so that girls could complete their education. Twenty-one girls benefited from these scholarships.
MDG 2: Achieve universal primary education
Portugal: In 2014, the Girl Guides of the Orpheu patrol in Portugal undertook research in their community and realised that their local library didn’t have enough books, did not encourage people to read and not many people visited the library. The Girl Guides took action by creating a community library called Biblioguias (library guides) with the slogan “read to know”. They run exciting activities and book exchanges to encourage their community to read.
Sri Lanka: In Sri Lanka, six per cent of children of primary school ages are still out of school. The Sri Lanka Girl Guides Association set up the Disaster Management Committee which has been focusing on education and schools. Through the Nana Piyasa library project, Girl Guides have been rebuilding libraries in small schools that were overlooked by large regeneration projects.
As well as renovating the libraries, the Girl Guides have been equipping them with computers, books and other materials. To date, 13 libraries have been constructed in primary and secondary schools. The committee has also been running the Tsunami Education Support System, which provides financial support, vocational training and counselling to children not in school, to help them achieve their formal qualifications. Approximately 500 children have benefitted from the programme.
Another project run by 23rd Colombo Guide Company set out to renovate one of the schools affected by the internal conflict in the Jaffna District as part of the post conflict transformation. This was achieved by making the school a more safe, child-friendly environment for its students, improving quality of education and building friendships between the students from different schools, mainly Tamil, Christian, Sinhala and Buddhist. The school library was renovated and a computer, uniforms and stationary were donated to the school. As a result, the school attendance has increased.
New Zealand: Girl Guiding New Zealand has created a partnership with Unicef to create the Bikes for Ghana Project. This project provided girls in Ghana with bikes so they can cycle to school. Unlike their brothers, girls in Ghana are expected to see to family needs first and may have multiple tasks to perform each day – this often means they would be delayed or even prevented from attending school. Their education is not a priority. They are also vulnerable to abduction and rape whilst walking to/from school. Having a bicycle is making a big difference to girls and school attendance has risen dramatically since the scheme began.
MDG 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
Burundi: Women in Burundi continue to face barriers to national leadership, despite a law in place stipulating that 30 per cent of parliamentary seats should be held by women. Therefore, since 2005 the Girl Guides of Burundi have been supporting women to take on leadership roles via training and confidence-building activities, particularly in the run-up to the national elections, in order to promote women’s participation in government. The Association delivers leadership training to younger members, and campaigns for an increase in the female parliamentary quota to 50 per cent. As of 2014, women hold 31 per cent of seats of the Burundi national parliament.
Nadine Kaze, International Commissioner for Girl Guides of Burundi, and currently WAGGGS World Board member said: “As Girl Guides of Burundi is an apolitical Association, our project helped every potential female leader involved to enrol in the political party of her choice and compete for the 30 per cent of seats available for women. Currently, most of the women who stood and competed for a political post with self-confidence have been educated in the Guiding Movement. [We have seen] a great number of girls and young women getting interested in political parties and in elections.”
Lebanon: The Girl Guides Association in Lebanon (La Federation Libanaise des Eclaireuses et des Guides) set up a project to raise awareness on the state of women’s rights in Lebanon and propose an action plan that would improve women’s rights in the country. The “What if Women” Forum was held in March 2012 at the UN House in Beirut where participant teams and their mentors presented their projects. The teams presented their ideas and projects to high-level people from civil society and UN agencies. Two teams were given awards by the Forum Judging Committee. One of the teams focused on the right of women to pass their nationality on to their children. The second team, which focused on the role of women in the field of sport, won the support of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
Rwanda: Violence against women and girls is a major concern of the Rwandan Girl Guides, and to respond to this they deliver campaigns and programme work to end violence against women and girls. A key success factor has been the involvement of men and boys in this work. One of their biggest achievements has been a men’s advocacy group with over 100 male activists speaking out about violence against women in a Western district of Rwanda. The association has also used the WAGGGS Stop the Violence – Speak out for girls’ rights campaign to raise awareness of the issue, and has run shows on the TV and the radio to talk about the issue
MDG 4: Reduce child mortality and MDG 5: Improve maternal health
Malta and Nigeria and WAGGGS Global: In 2013, WAGGGS partnered with photography charity PhotoVoice to implement an exciting project on child and maternal health. The project aimed to teach and empower young women aged 15 to 24 to use photography as a way of exploring child and maternal health issues in their communities, and also as a tool for advocacy.
Following training and issue-specific preparation in London, UK, the selected volunteers delivered photography workshops to groups of 10 to 15 girls and young women in their countries. The training implementation method varied from using e-learning platforms for the delivery of nationwide trainings to encouraging joint projects between Member Organizations, such as those in Malta and Nigeria. Together, the two Member Organizations showcased their shots in an exhibition called Baby Factor, set up in the courtyard of the Ministry for the Family and Social Solidarity in Valletta, Malta, in 2014. The exhibition brought together the perspectives of the girls coming from two different continents portraying two very different world views.
The photographs produced by the volunteers were also used during the flash mob organized by the WAGGGS delegation at the Women Deliver Conference in Malaysia in May 2013. Through participatory photography, this project empowered the girls to raise awareness on the state of child and maternal health issues in their communities.
Panama: In the marginalised Curundú area of Panama City, gang culture prevents the vital work of clinics and health centres. This means many mothers and their children are not able to access vaccination services, essential to preventing child diseases.
The Asociación de Muchachas Guías de Panamá set up a project called “Healthy mothers and babies. Vaccination is your right and your responsibility” to raise awareness of the importance of vaccinations in disadvantaged areas like Curundú. The Association works in partnership with health clinics to ensure mothers are informed about vaccination days and to engage communities in the project.
“There are other factors that impact on child health such as: social circumstances, levels of education, and many others,” said Elisa Jimenez Albarracín from the Association, “Therefore pregnant mothers are being educated on the importance of breastfeeding and maternal health too.”
To engage with local communities and spread the word about vaccinations, Girl Guides knocked on doors, distributing flyers and posters announcing future vaccination days. They also encouraged children to attend and help parents keep vaccination record cards up-to-date. The Association has also formed links with other community groups such as the church to raise awareness of vaccination services.
As a result of the project, vaccinations have been given to many girls and boys who do not routinely attend the clinic. The project benefits the young women participating in the project too, who receive badges in recognition of their work. Twenty Girl Guides in the Curundú community have been trained to take part in the project and were also vaccinated. “Many of the pregnant women who they encouraged to attend the clinic are members of their own families, so they have also indirectly benefited,” says Elisa.
MDG 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
Kenya: While Kenya has made significant progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, the national prevalence rates are still a massive issue. HIV prevalence was 6.3 per cent for women and men aged 15–49 in 2009, compared with 7.4 per cent in 2007. The improvement is in part attributed to the work of Kenya Girl Guides Association, which has been running HIV projects with girls and young women for many years. Its HIV/AIDS Peer Education Programme, funded by USAID, reached over 300,000 girls and young women with HIV/AIDS prevention messages. The Kenyan Association ran the HIV education programmes using the GAT curriculum and WAGGGS’ AIDS Toolkit. The Association also delivered trainings on reproductive health by Girl Guides in collaboration with Family Health International and Pathfinder International.
El Salvador: In 2010, Asociación de Muchachas Guías Scouts de El Salvador developed a project to empower young people to help prevent adolescent pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and other diseases.
The Association selected young people aged 12 to 15 with leadership potential to act as “multiplying agents” or trained peer educators who could help raise awareness of healthy behaviour and preventing sexually transmitted infections. The young people, plus some parents and teachers, then took part in a three-month training programme during which participants learned about sexual and reproductive health. The training involved a range of non-formal education methods including an art festival and audio-visual materials. The trainees then led on engaging with the wider community and promoting activities in their communities.
As a result of the project 1,350 young people have been trained in sex education as well as the prevention of HIV/AIDS and other diseases. The Association has seen an increase in participants’ confidence. They have also seen improved leadership and decision-making skills amongst the young people who have taken part in the project. “We’ve seen young people become role models for their peers, a decrease in the rates of adolescent pregnancies and a decrease in the rates of young people leaving school early. The project has also helped dispel the myths around HIV and AIDS,” says a spokesperson for the Association.
Brazil: Working in partnership with Brazil’s Global Fund on tuberculosis and the National Tuberculosis Programme of the Ministry of Health, the Association has trained 20 Girl Guides from 13 different states to educate others on tuberculosis prevention. Girl Guides trained through the project have gone on to deliver workshops in their communities, and disseminate what they have learned about tuberculosis prevention and treatment to others. The training and workshops have reached around 554 Girl Guides and a further 6,879 members of the public.
The Association has also held workshops at high-profile events, such as a national youth forum attended by 224 Girl Guides from senior sections around Brazil in 2011. This event was sponsored by the National Program on Tuberculosis, São Paulo state Tuberculosis Program and São Paulo state network against tuberculosis. On the following day around 144 of the Girl Guides took to São Paulo city’s underground stations and public squares to talk to the general public about tuberculosis prevention and hand out leaflets. Twenty-six teams of young people went to ten places in the city, reaching around 12,000 people in just four hours.
MDG 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
Madagascar: WAGGGS’ work on the MDG 7 focuses on mobilising youth delegates in international environmental forums like the COP on climate change. WAGGGS supports youth delegates at these events in order to develop their advocacy skills to benefit their Member Organizations and communities on their return home. As an example, after attending the COP 15 in 2009, Prisca Randriamampihavana from Madagascar continued her work on the environment, producing a communication and advocacy toolkit and working with local partners to raise awareness about climate change in the Ambalavao region of Madagascar. Prisca and her Girl Scout troop continued to run non-formal education campaigns throughout rural Madagascar, conducted peer-education courses in schools, ran adult sessions on waste recycling and solar energy through women’s associations and integrating climate change and food security programmes into Girl Scouting in the country.
United Kingdom: Girlguiding (UK) ran initiatives that encourage girls and young women to think about and act on environmental sustainability. As part of the Changing the World ambitious project Girlguiding (UK) teamed up with 19 partner organizations – 18 charities and the Girlguiding Branch Associations – to create 19 different projects for girls and young women to help them make a global difference.
Together with charities such as WaterAid, World Wildlife Fund, Friends of the Earth and The Woodland Trust, environmental projects were created. For example, Girlguiding members looked at the effects of unsafe water and poor sanitation on girls and young women in Nepal, including how they are more likely to drop out of school if there are no toilet facilities. Third Herne Bay Guides put on a 60 minute water-themed performance entitled Splashes as part of the Water Aid’s Sing for Change project, a series of concerts and sponsored singing events, raised more than £130,000, which helped 8,681 people out of water poverty in Nepal. Ameerah, 12, said: “Before we did the show I didn't how difficult it was for children in Nepal to wash in running water or use flush toilets. I really appreciate now how important it is to save water and to think of others less fortunate than myself.”
Brazil: At the Rio+20 summit held in 2012, the Federação de Bandeirantes do Brasil (FBB) took a leading role in engaging Girl Guides to be leaders in environmental advocacy. Nearly 220 Girl Guides from 11 states participated in Rio+20 the People’s Summit on environmental sustainability. It produced the GAT Advocacy Module focusing on MDG 7 and 250 copies were distributed throughout Brazil. FBB’s participation in the People’s Summit was most notable at the Future Territories sessions designed to enable the exchange of best practices, demonstrative experiences and knowledge. FBB held workshops and lectures on new practices on sustainability attended by 180 young people (aged 13 to 21) and 39 adults. Furthermore, FBB coordinated eight practical workshops on environmental sustainability throughout the gathering covering topics such as food and nutrition; sustainability and consumerism; ecology and monocultures; and environmental justice – rights and responsibilities. Dedicated workshops were held to educate children using the methodology of FBB’s Mad for Reading project. The workshops were composed of 28 sessions and an average of 25 participants attended each session – totalling 700 beneficiaries.
WAGGGS Global, Peru and Ghana: In June 2012, Yvette Sena Blankson, Ghana Girl Guides Association, and Miryam Justo, Asociación Nacional de Guías Scouts del Perú, embarked on an expedition to the Arctic as part of a global Greenpeace campaign. The Save the Arctic campaign called on the UN to create a global sanctuary to protect the uninhabited area around the North Pole to keep it safe from both oil drilling and overfishing.
During the trip, Miriam and Yvette took part in a series of activities to prepare material to educate and raise awareness, together with an international team including journalists and academics. They were part of a video shoot and a photo documentary, they wrote a blog entry and sent Facebook and Twitter updates to WAGGGS and Greenpeace to inspire more young women and girls around the world to take action. They also spread the word about WAGGGS’ local, regional and international environmental activities and projects.
Following her trip, Miriam continued to spread the word about the Save the Arctic campaign and WAGGGS’ work. She attended a radio interview, was featured in an article in the biggest newspaper in Peru and for a university TV programme on environment and youth participation, written an article for the Austrian Scouts’ magazine and for a local online magazine in Peru. Miriam did a presentation about the trip and campaign for the Association’s national board. She also shared videos and photos via Facebook and email to different networks, to sensitise and inspire others, and raise awareness. Through all these activities, Miriam estimates she has reached at least 40,000 people.
MDG 8: Develop a global partnership for development
Africa Region: The Amahoro Amani project was set up to engage several thousand young people in combating ethnic prejudice and to inspire them to make a real contribution to social change in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. It involved seven Guide and Scout Associations from Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. Guides and Scouts have been carrying out practical activities including setting up peace and reconciliation clubs for young people from different ethnic backgrounds. The Amahoro Amani project closed with more than 550 young people from Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and other African and European countries participating in the International Peace Gathering in Gitega, Burundi, in 2007.
Japan: The Girl Scouts of Japan launched a project on world peace, focusing on empowering women and girls in Myanmar – one of the poorest countries in Asia and the world. Between 2008 and 2010, the Girl Scouts of Japan raised funds to help 2,500 children in Myanmar with support goods, and 900 women with independence support.
Another project of the Girl Scouts of Japan aimed to support a school in a low-income village in Nepal. They organized fundraising activities, collecting supplies for the school and exchange visits between Japan and Nepal. In terms of funding, over 2 years between 1999-2001 (when the project initially started), girls collected 3,153,088 yen, the entire cost of building the school enabling 226 children to receive education. They are continuing to fundraise with a target of reaching at least 150,000 yen per year to cover maintenance costs.