In this section we bring you stories of change from the YESS Girls' Movement across our Africa and Asia Pacific Regions.
YESS Girls call policy makers to action over COVID-19 effect on young women
In a brave move, the YESS Girls have taken to government offices calling policy makers to take stronger action to alleviate the negative effects of COVID-19 on girls and young women.
Smartly dressed in their Guiding uniforms, and with confidence the girls presented their 7- point statements highlighting different ways in which girls and young women were being affected by the pandemic; and recommendations on what actions policy makers could take to address the issues raised. Across most of the countries, similar issues were raised by the girls including: gender-based violence, child marriages, the disruption of school and unequal access to school, especially by poorer girls, and also period poverty.
Not even the COVID restrictions stopped the girls in Kenya from delivering their statements. In the presence of the Kenya Girl Guides Association, Chief Commissioner Prof. Faith Nguru, her deputy Chief Commissioner, the Chief Executive of the Association and other senior leaders, the girls presented their statement virtually to Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Public Service and Gender, Prof. Margaret Kobia who promised to take the action. The cabinet secretary also promised to partner with the Kenya Girl Guides Association on its response to the effects of COVID-19 on girls and young women.
In Ghana, led by the National Youth Coordinator and the YESS Country Coordinator, the girls delivered their statement to the Ghana Household Registry. Addressed to Hon. Sarah Adwoa Safo, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), their statement emphasised the urgency of the need to take action as girls and young women are the most affected by the pandemic.
On their part, the girls in Uganda took advantage of a newly appointed cabinet and delivered a statement for Hon. Betty Amongi whom they also congratulated upon her appointment as the country’s Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Affairs.
‘We are proud and confident that as a woman, you will prioritise issues affecting girls and young women in these difficult times of the COVID -19 pandemic’ their statement read.
In Nepal, flanked by the YESS Girls' Country Coordinator, who is also a young woman, the girls delivered their statement to Umesh Dhungana, the Vice Secretary of the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior citizens. They have subsequently been invited for a follow up discussion with the ministry.
The YESS Girls in Bangladesh, Burundi, Madagascar, Malawi, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe have finished working on their statements and plan to deliver them to the relevant policy makers as soon as possible.
Through the YESS Girls Movement, WAGGGS and its Member Organisations empower young women to speak out and take action on issues that affect them with one voice across borders. This, is only one of the many activities the girls have undertaken this year. Others include the 'Yes! Girls Can' advocacy campaign-an annual event that has been ongoing for the last 5 years in several countries across both Africa and the Asia Pacific.
Excitement as the 2021 YESS Alumnae Summit is confirmed for October
It has been almost 7 years since some of the young women last saw each but thanks to the YESS Alumnae Summit they are about to meet again! The reunion, the memories and their growth are sure to be major highlights with the planning team determined to make this a memorable experience for all.
Preparations for the 2021 YESS Alumnae Summit have begun. The Summit which will take place on Saturday 30 October, 2021 will bring together over 200 YESS Alumnae who participated in WAGGGS' flagship international Exchange programme from 2015 - 2020, also know as the YESS Girls' Movement!
The Summit brings together YESS Alumnae once every three years, with the last one being held in Kigali, Rwanda in 2017. It was originally supposed to take place in July at Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala, Uganda to happen alongside WAGGGSs World Conference, but it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and so will now take place virtually instead.
Comprising of Alumnae Chairpersons from the 15 countries that have participated in the programme for the last 6 years, the planning team are determined to make this a memorable event for the YESS Alumnae, even when it is going to be a virtual event.
Among other things the alumnae will relive memories of their experiences while on exchange; they will update each other on their leadership journeys as change agents and most excitingly, they will reunite with the girls that they shared their exchange experiences with while away from home.
Post exchange, the YESS Alumnae are mandated to keep the Guiding fire burning both in their home associations and globally. This summit is also aimed at re-igniting the Guiding fire in them.
More details to follow.
Nepal YESS Alumnae win Inspiring Young Women Award
Referring to the YESS Alumnae as role models, Nepal Scouts applauded the alumnae for being
a source of inspiration and motivation of many young Girl Guides and Girl Scouts across Nepal.
Nepalese YESS Girls' alumnae were honoured with the Nepal Scouts' Inspiring Young Women Award during the celebration of their 70th anniversary in June this year. The Alumnae were recognised for their valuable contribution to empowering and inspiring the many young girls and women of the country and bringing about positive change in their lives.
After returning from their exchange, the alumnae shared what they had learnt from their exchange in various African countries Through their advocacy campaigns, they also raised the voices of many individuals, talking about and taking action on issues such as gender-based violence and menstrual health to the environment, COVID-19, body confidence, and self esteem.
During the award ceremony, the alumnae were appreciated for influencing the lives of many, and for reaching out to the hard to reach corners of the country. Referring to the YESS Girls Alumnae as role models, Nepal Scouts applauded them for being a source of inspiration and motivation of many young girl guides and girl scouts in Nepal.
Established in 1952 as a joint association of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, Nepal Scouts is the largest movement providing non-formal education in Nepal. Since 2018, The YESS Girls Movement has been one of its leading projects.
YESS Girls take the lead on COVID-19 response in Rwanda
YESS Girls have taken the lead in responding to COVID-19 in public places across Rwanda, including at the main bus station in Kigali, Rwanda's capital; at a big market called Gikondo; as well as in Ngoma district in the eastern province.
With the support of other members of the YESS Girls' Movement taskforce, Rwanda's National Police force and staff members of the Rwanda Girl Guides Association, the YESS Girls sensitized people on the need to observe Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs), mainly promoting the wearing of masks, social distancing and washing of hands using soap or sanitizer.
In addition to community sensitisation the girls also invited one of the local TV stations in Kigali to host a conversation on their efforts to prevent COVID-19 where they highlighted the activities of the YESS Girls' COVID-19 response team.
In celebration of International Women’s Day, the Rwanda YESS Girls' COVID-19 response team also hosted a zoom meeting attended by Rwanda young leaders and staff where they discussed ideas to help alleviate the impacts of COVID-19 on Guiding activities and life in general.