Despite restrictions on Guiding in the community, WAGGGS Member Organisations across Africa have been getting proactive from their own homes by adopting an online Membership Development and Retention strategy.
The move follows a successful ‘Welcome to my World’ online campaign hosted by the YESS Girls as part of their 27 day social media challenge in April, during which girls and young women expressed interest to engage with the Movement.
Following consultations with Chief Commissioners and YESS Country Coordinators of Member Organisations in which the YESS programme is being implemented, there was a consensus that carrying out the 27 day challenge campaign was a great way to adopt to COVID-19 challenges where social distancing is likely to limit physical engagements of girls and young women, at least for a while.
We have not been doing online recruitment, so for us, it will be interesting to add to our Membership Development Strategy
This notion was echoed by Chief Commissioners of other MOs including Molly Grace Akello (Uganda); Rachel Chakalashi (Zambia); Pamela Ruzigana (Rwanda); Florence Madhuku (Zimbabwe), Ngwale Mary (Malawi). Symphorosa Hangi, the Chief Commissioner of Tanzania Girl Guides Association, said that her association had already started doing the online recruitment and it was working well. Ghana Girl Guides have followed in similar steps.
“We are reaching more youth online during the lockdown….and once things normalise, we will organise a physical camp so we can take them through training and our usual recruitment procedure.”
Online registration is working very well. With the google form details the girls are added to a WhatsApp platform and from there we start engaging them
The MOs however recognise that online Membership recruitment and retention does have challenges. Aminata Jane, YESS Country Coordinator, Senegal, explained that there are areas that don’t have good internet coverage and that Member Organisations are looking for resources to help them develop their strategies during this time.
Natalia Plou, WAGGGS Head of Membership and Regional support, agrees online recruitment is the way to go; and acknowledges the need for WAGGGS to support the MOs in this effort, particularly through WAGGGS Capacity Building volunteers.
There is an urgent need to supporting MOs with online recruitment – this is also one of the findings of our MOs engagement campaign. I like the idea of resource and think it will be well received in all regions.
WAGGGS Membership Organisations have continued to adapt amongst COVID-19 restrictions in order to keep the spirit of the movement alive.