From Promoting Body Positivity to Fighting Climate Change, Our Girls Are Going Places!

WAGGGS’ global programmes igniting social change by empowering girls and young women to take action to change the world.

The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) works with 153 countries and territories (Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting Associations) across the globe to deliver high quality non-formal education programmes and international opportunities to girls and young women. In 2023, our global programmes provided dynamic, flexible, and values-based training in life skills, leadership and citizenship. Here are some of the amazing programmes we deliver.

Free Being Me: Championing Body Confidence Among Girls and Young Women

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Did you know that in the UK and Ireland, 9 out of every 10 girls with low body esteem put their health at risk by not seeing a doctor or by skipping meals?[1] The numbers paint a dismal picture with low self-esteem being a crisis among young girls globally. This has serious consequences on young people’s physical and mental health and holds them back from achieving their full potential. To counter this, WAGGGS’ Free Being Me (FBM) programme has been working to help girls and young women improve their body confidence and self-esteem since 2013. Girls learn about cognitive dissonance and how to take action and build advocacy projects to effect change in their local communities and globally.

This year marked the 10-year anniversary of FBM and WAGGGS’ partnership with Unilever brand Dove and the Dove Self-Esteem Project (DSEP). An online celebration was conducted to honour this decade-long partnership by showcasing experiences and stories from across the Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting movement, with many girls and young women sharing the impact of FBM has had on their lives.

In 2023, FBM supported a total of 33 Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting Associations across the globe, supporting them in implementing the FBM programme. In addition to this support, we also ran a series of online trainings for FBM Volunteer Facilitators[2], in total we saw an amazing 400 FBM Volunteer Facilitators take part.

Paired with this training, we also created a FBM digital dashboard on WAGGGS’ new interactive digital platform Campfire. This is where all our Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting Associations can regularly access information about WAGGGS programmes and for FBM this has led to a significant increase in the number of trained Volunteer Facilitators engaging with the programme.

In 2023, we smashed our targets of reaching 300,000 lives through the programme reaching an astonishing 1,008,592 lives. Through WAGGGS extensive FBM trainings and access to Campfire, our FBM Volunteer Facilitators were equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills around body confidence and self-esteem delivering impact to thousands of girls and young women across the globe.

In addition to reaching over a million lives, the FBM programme was also recognised at the Better Society Awards 2023, receiving the Highly Commended Award for a ‘Partnership with an International Charity’. The award celebrated this transformational global programme and is a testament to the impact of the programme globally and the continued collaborative approach of the partnership between Dove and WAGGGS.

Global Advocacy Champions: Asking for Accountability, Leading Change


The Global Advocacy Champions is a group of young women selected by WAGGGS 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.

In 2023, 20 Global Advocacy Champions were selected representing 20 countries, with five members of the group travelling to New York to participate in the 67th UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) from 6 - 17 March 2023 to deliver their advocacy asks. CSW is a unique opportunity for Girl Guides and Girl Scouts to advocate for the rights of girls and young women at a global level, and champion gender equality through the principal global intergovernmental event that shapes global policy on women's rights.

During their time in New York, the young women hosted a panel event to share the results of WAGGGS’ 2022 #SheSurfsFreedom survey which was launched during WAGGGS 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence campaign. This survey brought together over 1,000 voices and experiences of young women from 70 countries around the world on the topic of the damaging impact of online violence against women and girls.

The Global Advocacy Champions (GACs) asked governments at CSW to prioritise body confidence of young women, with reference to the #SheSurfsFreedom survey results which shockingly revealed that 74% of girls who use social media believe they are put under pressure to look a certain way.

The GACs demanded that governments ensure a gender-responsive and intersectional approach to innovation, technology and digital education, across all concerned laws and policies. They also asked for transformational and inclusive law enforcement mechanisms to guarantee sensitive and effective handling of complex forms of online gender-based violence; including accessible reporting systems.

Surf Smart: Surfing Smart, Staying Safe


Cyberbullying, rampant misinformation, online scams and unequal access to the internet are some of the bleak realities of our time. This is why in 2019 WAGGGS launched the Surf Smart programme in partnership with global software company Gen. The programme aims to support girls and young women to stay safe and protected online.

The programme went from strength to strength in 2023, not only did we recruit more countries to sign up for the programme but also delivered Surf Smart trainings to our committed pool of Volunteer Leaders to deliver the programme directly to girls and young women at a country led level. To build further reach we also successfully delivered Surf Smart in 3 of WAGGGS’ World Centres (Pax Lodge in London, Our Chalet in Switzerland and Sangam in India). We have 2 more World Centres (Our Cabana in Mexico and Kusafiri in Africa region) planning to take part in the coming months.

Surf Smart continued to innovate, knowing the young women on the programme not only wanted to learn about internet safety but also wanted to learn advocacy skills to promote internet safety and responsible internet usage. The programme launches its first advocacy strategy and a Surf Smart Advocacy Grant. So far 104 girls and young women have been recruited from 6 countries aged 16 to 35, with advocacy training starting in September 2023. This is an exciting development on the Surf Smart programme and we hope to see some impactful advocacy projects kick off in 2024.

Plastic Tide Turners Challenge: Combating Plastic Pollution, Mobilising Change


The Plastic Tide Turners Challenge (PTTC) is a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) led-initiative in partnership with WAGGGS and other youth organisations. It aims to educate young people around the world about plastic pollution, giving them the tools to change their personal behaviour, inspire their communities, and create a better future for people and the planet. This initiative puts young people at the centre of tackling plastic pollution, encouraging them to realise that they can make a huge difference in the world. Since its inception in 2019, it has engaged more than 780,000 committed young people to take action against the global scourge of plastics.

In 2023, PTTC conducted a series of online and in-person trainings and supported 11 countries involved in the programme. The Tide Turners trainings were designed to educate and empower young people to take action against plastic pollution. The sessions covered various topics, including plastic waste management, advocacy, and leadership.

The Wave Makers, (Volunteer Facilitators) attended and actively participated in the launch of phase 5 of the programme in New Delhi. This global event celebrated the achievements of young environmental champions participating in the Tide Turners programme.

One of the key highlights of the programme for this year was also the clean-up of Nyali Beach in Kenya to combat plastic pollution. This was organized by the Kenya Girl Guides Association, in partnership with dedicated Kenyan youth climate activists. His Majesty, King Charles III, also joined the event. Together, they removed 326kg of plastic waste from the beach. The royal visit highlighted the successful launch of Tide Turners in more than 50 countries.

Girl-led Action on Climate Change: Steering Positive Climate Action, Making Waves at COP28


Climate change is one of the biggest global threats to human life. While it impacts life in all forms, it has a disproportionate impact on the lives of girls and women, such as their livelihoods, health, safety and security. There is an urgency to hear their voices and protect their interests and our Girl-led Action on Climate Change programme (GLACC) seeks to do exactly this. In partnership with Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting associations in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and in 2024 in India, we are working to ensure that girls and young women are more resilient to climate change and that we see a gender transformative approach to climate change policy and practice at all levels.

In year one, WAGGGS launched Girl Led Action on Climate Change (GLACC) to equip girls and young women with knowledge of climate change’s disproportionate impact on girls and young women, and to help them to become more resilient to climate change. With generous funding from the AKO Foundation and the Swedish Postcode Foundation, we developed GLACC in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). To date, GLACC has directly reached 57,386 girls and young women from Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean who have participated in the programme. They are taking action and influencing decisions on climate change in local and international settings

Using our new GLACC programme, developed in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and supported by the AKO Foundation, we are educating tens of thousands of girls and young women on climate change and its gender dimension.

In 2023, we led a team of seven Girl Guides and Girl Scouts to the world’s largest climate change event, Conference of the Parties (COP 28) in Dubai. They actively represented the interests of 9 million girls from 153 countries. They presented their demands before the international community and demanded meaningful representation in the climate change decision-making processes. They emphasised the need for capacity building for gender-inclusive resilience, promoting gender-sensitive research on climate change and providing targeted support and protection for girls and women in climate-induced displacement scenarios. They also underlined the urgency of supporting women entrepreneurs and creating income-generating opportunities linked to climate change such as farming and technology to enhance their financial resilience while ensuring equitable access to resources and decision-making power for girls and women in vulnerable communities.

Through their participation in various side events, the girls raised the need for integrating gender-responsive policies and frameworks in climate adaptation and loss and damage strategies.


[2] Our Volunteer Facilitators are a team of committed global programme volunteers trained to cascade programme content and methods to deliver them directly to Volunteer Girl Guide Leaders across the world. They are committed to making sure we deliver quality programming across the Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting.

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