The Youth Exchange South to South (YESS) Girls Movement is our international exchange programme, funded by the Norwegian Agency For Exchange Cooperation (NOREC), a Norwegian Government Agency.
From 2015 to 2019 the programme has given 166 Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from 14 different Member Organisations across Africa and the Asia-Pacific region the once in a lifetime opportunity to live and work in another country for six months.
THE JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME…
SINCE 2015, THE YESS GIRLS MOVEMENT has become one of our flagship global programmes and a favourite for young women in the Africa and Asia-Pacific regions. Dubbed the ‘journey of a lifetime’, the YESS Girls’ Movement gives young women aged 18-25 years the chance to immerse themselves into a different way of life for six months. During their stay they are challenged to undertake six different core initiatives, focusing on the environment, menstrual hygiene, membership recruitment, delivery of a sustainable community project, engaging ‘Friends of Guiding’ and an annual YESS Girls Can campaign.
“The YESS Girls Movement has given us a new perspective on working together with young women and of different cultures. We have realised there is a need to give the girls we work with leadership roles in the organisation as they will be able to reach out to more girls and make Guiding more fun at the same time.”Mary, Chief Commissioner, Malawi Girl Guides
THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SDGS)
We place the ambition of the SDGs at the heart of all our work, particularly SDG 5 – ACHIEVE GENDER EQUALITY AND EMPOWER ALL WOMEN AND GIRLS – given our vision of a fairer, more equal world. We believe that to realise this ambition, it is crucial that girls can have a proactive voice on their needs and rights, and that their experiences are reflected in government policy and legislation in all countries around the world. Through our YESS Girls Movement exchange programme, we aspire to give girls the chance to develop their leadership skills, and have the confidence and self-awareness they need to pursue their dreams and be this voice of change.
WHAT THE YESS GIRL EXCHANGE LOOKS LIKE: The exchange programme runs for nine months in total:
- One month of preparation and training
- Six months exchange of living in a host Member Organisation country
- Two months of mandatory reporting upon returning home to share learnings with their home Member Organisation.
THE SIX CORE INITIATIVES:
1. Reaching out to the reached, unreached, under-reached and hard-to-reach areas and recruiting girls and young women into girl guiding #WelcomeToMyWorld
2. The YES! Girls Can Campaign where young people campaign on issues that affect girls demonstrating the positive impact they can have on the lives of others.
3. The Green Tech Generation Campaign which challenges young women to take responsibility for the environment.
4. The Good Turn Community Projects where in honour of the Guide Promise, the participants undertake at least one sustainable community support project in their host country every year.
5. Friends of Guiding Engagement of prominent men and women as Friends of guiding so that they can support (financially and otherwise); speak out and take action on, issues that affect girls.
6. The Red Pride Menstrual Hygiene Management Education, where girls and young women are properly educated about menstrual hygiene and inspired to take action so that periods don’t limit the life chances of others.
Through these activities, the programme helps Uganda Girl Guides Association raise awareness on a national, regional & global scale about the positive impact Guiding can have on a girls’ life. By being actively involved and visible in this global programme, all participating Member Organisations can benefit from being part of the world’s largest voluntary organisation of 10 million members across 150 countries.
THE DIFFERENCE WE MAKE
RECRUITED over 125,000 NEW GIRL GUIDES.This is expected to reach 150,000 BY 2020
TO DATE over 20 DIFFERENT CAMPAIGNS have been undertaken through the annual Yes! Girls Can campaign.
OVER 40,000 TREES have been planted in the different YESS Countries and other environmental campaigns undertaken.
OVER 20 GOOD TURN COMMUNITY PROJECTS have been undertaken in the host countries of the YESS Participants.
There are OVER 200 FRIENDS OF GUIDING who have committed themselves to supporting girl guiding financially or otherwise.
Leadership and personal development of the young women participating in the programme. Many have taken up leadership roles in their home associations.
- More active and vibrant youth participation in guiding activities
- Networking, cross learning and sharing of best practices among Member Organisations.
The YESS programme put me in a position where I had to challenge myself, work with people I have never met and also keep people interested in my different campaigns.Isabelle Namusoke, 2017 YESS Girl participant, Ugandan Girl Guides
LONGER TERM IMPACT
Our approach to all our global programmes is to make them sustainable in the long term, so they can have an impact on a far wider number of girls than those who have taken part in them directly. We apply this same approach to our YESS Girls exchange programme and work closely with the alumni and their Member Organisations to ensure that the skills and experiences gained through the exchange continue to be developed.
IN KENYA for example, they focus on retaining the new members bought in through the YESS participants, and enable the alumni to utilise their new leadership skills by giving them the opportunity to run community Guiding units.
All the Member Organisations who take part in the YESS Programme run a national young women’s conference so returning participants can share their experience with Girl Guides throughout the Member Organisations.
THE YESS ALUMAE GUILD.
With an anticipated 200 YESS Alumnae by 2020, WAGGGS and its Member Organisations will have a strong cohort of International Change Agents to help promote the values of Girl Guiding and Girl Scout and continue the positive difference they made in their host Member Organisation country. In July 2017, the Alumnae decided unanimously to name themselves as the YESS Alumnae Guild.
“We need a strong official platform where we can ensure this program never stops for example by raising funds from other organisations similar to FK Norway so that more girls can experience this journey of a life time like us.”Florette (Burundi Girl Guides)