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Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Pippa shares stories of inspiring young women at the Rio+20 conference going on right now!

There are so many inspiring role models in the WAGGGS delegation here at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil, known as Rio+20.

Beatrice is from the Kenya Girl Guides Association and she inspired us all when she shared her pre-conference story during the training day. There is currently a drought in East Africa affecting the water supply in the city of Nairobi where Beatrice lives. She has to take several hours out of her day to walk across the city to fetch water for her family. This inspired her to go to the Climate Change Summit in Durban last year, where she spoke about her experience channelling her frustration into advocacy. After the Summit she returned to Kenya, keen to work on a tree planting project with her fellow Guides.

Our hosts, the Brazilian Girl Guides, and especially the five members of their delegation, inspired us with their generosity and also with the programmes they run in their communities. They are sending 170 members of all ages to the People’s Summit – a parallel event to the main conference –where they’ll experience a gathering of cultures, all keen to work together to achieve sustainable development.

Darlene, another member of the delegation, is a pilot for Air Canada – able to inspire us with stories of all the places she has travelled to. Due to the free time her job gives her, she has dedicated numerous hours to working as a WAGGGS representative with the Major Group for Children and Youth – the channel for youth organisations to be heard at Rio+20. Her passion for bringing about positive change through this conference motivates us all. As part of the Major Group, along with other members of the delegation, and with the assistance of official delegates for many countries we were able to see the inclusion of non-formal education in the current draft outcome text – a paragraph that we hope will inspire governments around the world to support valuable non-formal education providers such as the Guide and Scout Associations.

The experience of making real change in an international political process makes you feel as though your voice is so powerful – even more powerful as it is backed up by ten million more members of WAGGGS. As such, we will remain inspired to take our own action to achieve sustainable development when we return to our own countries.

Pippa Gardner and Maggie Simmons.

Find out more about what Pippa and Maggie and the WAGGGS delegation are up to at Rio+20, and what you can do to support them!

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