After a whole two years, the YESS International Exchange has finally been able to return, kicking off with a week-long preparatory course that took place from 14th-21st January 2023 in Kampala, Uganda.
After a whole two years, the YESS International Exchange has finally been able to return, kicking off with a week-long preparatory course that took place from 14th-21st January 2023 in Kampala, Uganda. 60 young women from 13 WAGGGS Member Organisations in Africa and Asia Pacific were trained to prepare them for their international exchange to a different country for 6-12 months.
The programme consisted of introductory sessions into life as a YESS participant in which the girls received guidance on how to adjust to their new life away from home in their host countries and find out more about what is expected of them on their exchange. The girls got to hear from YESS alumnae who shared their own experiences, inspiring them to make the most out of this exciting venture. Sessions focusing on the six result areas of the YESS Girls’ Movement were held including looking at how young women could adapt to the new normal and go onto to strengthen the movement. It was fantastic to see the participants actively taking part and getting a lot out of the sessions. Frances, a Girl Guide from Ghana who will be doing her exchange in Malawi shared her thoughts on the week saying “I really enjoyed the prep course because it’s been very informative and educative and has given me a better understanding of what’s expected of me during the exchange and I’m so glad to have the opportunity to make change and help other people”.
Of the 60 young women taking part in this year’s exchange, 15 are travelling to their host countries within a professional capacity ranging from roles in administration to communications and project management. The girls had the opportunity to sit down as a group and think about what value they were going to add to the associations they were going to. They spoke one on one with mentors discussing what was expected of them and what they could do to prepare themselves for the role.
Representatives from Norec, whom WAGGGS have collaborated with for the YESS Girls’ exchange since 2015, also ran sessions over 1.5 days where the girls got to learn more about Norec and the mission of the international exchange agency. They facilitated discussions surrounding the participants’ rights and responsibilities, how the young women and their project relates to SDGs and ran a fun ice breaker on what is means to succeed in a diverse team.
The week ended on a high note with the YESS Girls’ International evening in which the girls put on a cultural display of items from their home country. Celebrations were held in which the girls’ performed/ danced dressed in their country’s traditional wear. Each of the girls also received a certificate stating that they had completed the YESS preparatory course and were now ready to embark on ‘the journey of a lifetime’.
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