The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) is the largest voluntary Movement dedicated to girls and young women in the world.
Since more than a century , around 250 millions of girls and young women have been changing lives and building a better place to live.
All begin in 1909, when a group of girls appeared at a Boy Scout Rally in the UK declaring themselves to be Girl Scouts. Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Boy Scouts, decided that there should be a Movement for girls.
Guiding was introduced that same year to respond to the specific needs of girls and young women. Groups of Girl Guides soon started in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand and South Africa. After one year, Girl Guide Association was officially established in the UK under the leadership of Agnes Baden-Powell, Robert’s sister.
The First World Conference held in England, in 1920 was a historic occasion that gave representatives of the Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting world the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas and experiences. Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting became known to the International Council and, for the first time, groups began to plan trips abroad, with the First World Camp organized to coincide with the Third International Conference, in 1924, Foxlease, UK, and brought 1,100 girls and young women together from 40 countries.
The necessity to create a something more solid and binding began to be feel, and an idea of a World Association was proposed after the 4th World Conference in 1926. The founder of the Movement, Lord Robert Baden-Powell, sought the opinions of all known Girl Guide and Girl Scout organizations and asked them to consider the proposition. Delegates from 26 countries met at the 5th International Conference in Hungary in 1928, and formed the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), with a World Bureau as its secretariat to be located in London, replacing an advisory body, the International Council created in 1919.
What WAGGGS does
WAGGGS delivers girls and young women a high quality of non-formal education, aiming to give them dynamic, flexible and values-based training in life skills, leadership and citizenship. Members organizations based their non formal education approach through the Girl Guides and Girls Scouts method. To help girls and young women realise their full potential and contribute to the development of their communities, nationally and globally, in particular by making them leaders. A big part of the leadership programme is handled by the Juliet Low’s seminar. The seminars became a continued tradition that lives on today and takes place at one of the WAGGGS world centres every triennium.
WAGGGS also influences people by speaking, doing and educating, in decision-making (for example change policies or regulations, allocate funding, provide support), that will improve our life and the lives of others (the result we are trying to achieve by advocacy. That’s means influencing people to take decisions that will improve our lives and the lives of others.
World Regions and World Centres
WAGGGS reaches 10 millions girls and young women around the world, in 150 countries from 5 regions : Africa Region, Arab Region, Asia-Pacific Region, Europe Region and Western Hemisphere Region.
In addition five World Centres have been established to offer Girl Scouts and Girl Guides training sessions, seminars or international events.
Our Cabaña, located 47 miles from Mexico City Our Cabaña is the largest World Center. It can accommodate up to 90 guests and offers girl and adult members of WAGGGS sessions and Adult Adventure programs, throughout the year.
Our Chalet, located in Swiss Alps it was the first World Center to be built. Our Chalet offers high-adventure activities, leadership seminars.
Pax Lodge, located in Hampstead Village not far from London., offers a selection of cultural programs for youth and adults as well as leadership seminars and day activities.
Sangam, situated along the banks of the Mula River in Pune, India, a few hours from Mumbai. Sangam, which means “coming together” in Sanskrit, engages girls in events from June to March, emphasizing cultural sharing, issues that impact girls, and the rich cultural heritage of India.
Kusafiri World Centre provides a World Center experience via existing facilities in Africa. The “centre” has no fixed site; rather, location varies by event, bringing international experiences to girls and young women in different countries throughout Africa.
Various Guiding international events were brought to Rwanda as part of Kusafiri, and for learning purposes including:
- Stop the Violence training in 2013: members from all across the world came together to discuss strategies for ending violence against girls.
- Free Being Me training in 2015: 62 countries gathered in Rwanda to learn about this WAGGGS’ badge programme, which has the aim of empowering girls through improving body confidence and self-esteem
- WAGGGS’ Member organizations and Girls in the Lead events in 2017: 200 participants from all over Africa attended this governance training to enhance understanding of their role, develop competencies to be well equipped to provide good governance and leadership to their organization, to learn more about WAGGGS ́ priorities, be well prepared for the 36th World Conference, share best practices within the Region and celebrate the success of young women participants in the Youth Exchange South to South (YESS) Girls Movement.
- International Catholic Conference of Guiding in 2018: This triennial event for Catholic girl guides took place in Rwanda, and for the first time in Africa since its creation in 1953. 150 participants shared best practices to transform guiding into a genuine instrument of faith education and to make known its educational wealth.
- The 12th Africa Regional Conference in 2019: Nearly 150 girl guides from 33 African countries, WAGGGS World Board representatives and senior staff attened the conference at La Palisse Hotel Nyamata from 16 to 20 July 2019 under theme Unite, Thrive, Grow.
Check more about the world centres opportunities here.
WAGGGS Governance System
To succeed in its mission WAGGGS wants to be sure to listen to all members voices in the strategic decisions, and needs a strong , robust and transparent governance. To do so three entities rules the movement.
The Word Bureau is located in London, UK. It is the secretariat of the association.
World Conference, the key decision-making body for the Association which meets triennially. All Member Organisations are invited to send two delegates to the conference who vote on policies and standards for the following three years.
World Board is made up of 17 active Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting members from around the world who are democratically elected by all Member Organizations at the World Conference. Each region elects a Chair at their Regional Conference every three years and the five Regional Chairs also sit on the World Board