Message from the Chair

Dear Girl Guides and Girl Scouts,

I am very excited to be celebrating another World Thinking Day with our 10 million-strong Movement of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world. From each of our five regions: Africa, Arab, Asia Pacific, Europe and Western Hemisphere, our four built World Centres (and exciting mobile Fifth World Centre in Africa), to our Member Organizations in 145 countries around the world, the spirit of global sisterhood in Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting has never been as strong as it is today.

Each year on 22 February, Girl Guides and Girl Scouts all over the world celebrate World Thinking Day. World Thinking Day has always been a very special day when we think of each other and give thanks and appreciation to our sister Girl Guides and Girl Scouts for the international friendship found in the Movement. Since 1932, when Olave called upon all Girl Guides and Girl Scouts to make a voluntary contribution to the World Association, you have, through the Thinking Day Fund helped bring Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting to more girls and young women in more places. Your support is needed as much today as it was then.

Many Girl Guide and Girl Scout programmes have been delivered by our Member Organizations such as our Global Action Theme on the Millennium Development Goals which educate girls and young women about food, nutrition, and their rights to education and healthcare. This year’s focus is on Millennium Development Goal 2: achieve universal primary education, which could not be more fitting for our movement. Girls and young women everywhere deserve to have access to education and it is essential in order for all girls to develop their full potential.

Though access to education has improved worldwide, an estimated 250 million children of primary school age still lack basic reading, writing and numeracy skills, whether in school or not.

This situation can and must be changed. As the voice of girls and young women, the World Association has identified UN Millennium Development Goal 2 as a priority issue on which to speak out. We have a special focus on ensuring non-formal education is valued and recognised as an important part of an all-round approach to education. Today I’d like to introduce a new publication from WAGGGS, ‘Prepared to Learn, Prepared to Lead’ which looks at the fundamentals of the Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting experience; its purpose and educational method. It offers a chance to reflect on how we apply this method to facilitate youth learning, to ensure the Girl Guide and Girl Scout experience is as fun, varied and relevant as possible, and truly puts young people in the lead. It is a fantastic resource for leaders to help deliver our programmes and I urge you to take a look at our website, where it will be available to download on World Thinking Day.

World Thinking Day is a way for girls and young women to learn about life for their peers in other countries and to explore the similarities and differences in the Girl Guide and Girl Scout experience across the globe. For 2014, we have identified five focus countries – St Vincent and the Grenadines, Egypt, Bangladesh, Armenia and Benin. With the money you donate to the WTD Fund, WAGGGS will provide grants to the focus countries to take action on MDG 2. The projects the Focus Countries plan will have a long-term, practical and beneficial impact on the communities in which Girl Guides and Girl Scouts live. The WTD Fund also helps girls’ voices to be heard globally, delivers leadership training to young women and gives support for Girl Guide and Girl Scout organizations around the world.

Within the themes of providing education for all and promoting learning across cultures, we are happy to announce this year we have two new courses on our brand new online learning platform GLOW (Global Learning Online for WAGGGS). One course I am especially excited about is our iLead course – which brings our 100 years of leadership training experience into a self-directed online leadership course designed to support you to develop your leadership potential. It is free and open to anyone and everyone who wants to expand their knowledge and develop their leadership skills. Why not check it out? Tell your friends. It would be an amazing achievement for our global movement to have tens of thousands of young people taking this unique on line leadership course in the coming months. We also are excited to announce this year that we have a World Thinking Day course that assists you in learning about World Thinking Day and our focus countries.

This year, let us all be the spark in starting a chain reaction by taking action to support girls to be and stay in school.  Join us in celebrating World Thinking Day and helping us bring more opportunities to girls and young women. I wish you all a very happy World Thinking Day!

Nadine El Achy

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