This series of posts explains the things that nobody thinks to tell you about starting to volunteer with Girlguiding. Got a question you want answered? Let me know in the comments or using the contact form.
If you’ve been hanging around Guiding for a while, you may have heard of WAGGGS. Perhaps someone mentioned “a resource made by WAGGGS” or a “WAGGGS World Centre”, or something like that. You’re wondering who or what this WAGGGS thing is, but there’s never a good time to ask, with all the children running riot and needing to be entertained.
What is WAGGGS?
It stands for “World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts”, and as the name implies, it’s the over-arching umbrella organisation that Girlguiding UK is a member of.
There are five WAGGGS regions – Europe (Iceland to Russia), Africa (most of the continent), Asia Pacific (India and China down to Australia), Arab (north Africa and the middle east), and Western Hemisphere (the Americas). If you want to know more about the regions, you can look here. The UK, naturally, is in the Europe region. Each region has a conference every three years, where they compare notes on best practice and discuss the future.
There are TEN MILLION members of WAGGGS!
What does WAGGGS do?
Lots of things!
From the WAGGGS website:
“Through its Member Organizations and through working directly with girls and young women, WAGGGS delivers high quality non-formal educational programmes and international opportunities that provide girls and young women dynamic, flexible and values-based training in life skills, leadership and citizenship.”
What that means is that it runs events and supports the Member Organisations (that’s Girlguiding UK, the Skotisma Zazavavy eto Madagasikara in Madagascar, and so on) in providing their programmes. WAGGGS is big on advocacy – i.e. trying to persuade people that, for example, violence against women is bad and should be stopped, and providing them with the knowledge and tools to make a difference.
Some of the resources you can buy from Trading are based on things that WAGGGS produce, for example the Together We Can resource, which is all about the Millennium Development Goals, and is based on the GAT.
Does that mean that I can go on an international adventure with Guiding?
There are four “World Centres” run by WAGGGS. They are Pax Lodge, in London; Sangam, in Pune (India); Our Cabaña, in Cuernavaca (Mexico); and Our Chalet, in Adelboden, Switzerland. You can visit them for one of their events, volunteer to help run them (which I’m told is an amazing experience), or even just use them as a bed and breakfast when you are in the area. There’s also a fifth world centre pilot project running at the moment, which uses existing facilities and travels around in Africa.
If you want to know what it’s like visiting a world centre, I’m flying to Mexico tomorrow for an Our Cabaña Summer Friendship Event and will be trying to give an update every few days, so click the “follow” button over on the top right of the page. Or, I suppose, if it’s after August 2013 when you read this, you can just browse the archives until you find the posts!
There is so much more to WAGGGS than this brief explanation can cover, so if you want to know more I recommend going and browsing their website.