My life in Guiding has opened my eyes to the problems women face, but also to the huge strength that women have

Lucia Ruvarashe Ndanga, Zimbabwe/Uganda


For Lucia the fun side of being a Guide has always gone hand-in-hand with the opportunity to develop self-confidence and leadership, and the chance to change society for the better. The joyful enthusiasm she felt as an eight year old joining her primary school’s group in Zimbabwe is still very much to the fore, and she recalls the excitement she felt as she first became involved.

“I was first impressed by the nice brown dresses and yellow scarves of the uniforms,” she says with a huge smile on her face. “I joined a week before they went on a camping trip, because I wanted to be part of the outing, and I’ve been a Girl Guide ever since. But it wasn’t just about playing games - it helped me grow and develop as a woman and as a leader. It gave me space to be what I can be, and I became myself when I became a Guide.”

She’s currently studying law at university in Kampala. She confesses to “volunteering for everything”, and is closely involved with Guiding both in Uganda and her home country, where she co-ordinates a girl’s Body Confidence programme.

“I want to inspire girls to become Guides, and I want to tell girls who’ve already joined that they’ve made the right decision”, she says. “They’ll find no better place in which to find themselves and achieve their full potential. Guiding is a means of discovering their true purpose in life.”

She believes that Guiding offers unique possibilities to change lives for the better.

“We teach girls to be better people, to become leaders,” she says. “We just have this way of opening hearts, and helping them be themselves. We accept girls and young women whoever they are - and our diversity makes us very special.”

And she’s very excited about her advocacy role with WAGGGS, and the chance to influence international decision-makers.

“We’re all young women with diverse backgrounds - we all come from real places, where real people have real problems. I want to give the UN an insight into what life is like in Uganda, in Zimbabwe, in Africa, and I want to inspire them to take action to help the world be a better place.”

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