UN Women and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts partnership puts girls and young women in the lead for sustainable development

Date: 20 March 2017

UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri signs an MOU agreement with the CEO of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts Anita Tiessen. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown
UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri signs an MOU agreement with the CEO of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts Anita Tiessen. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

On the sidelines of the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women, UN Women and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) formalized their long-standing partnership of seven years by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that aims to strengthen their collaboration to advance gender equality and rights of all girls and young women.

With UN Women as the lead agency on gender equality and empowerment of women, and WAGGGS as the only global movement geared to any and every girl with a network of ten million members across the world, the shared values, ambitions and reach of the two organizations provides a unique opportunity for advancing the rights of girls and young women across the world. 

The partnership will be guided by UN Women’s ‘LEAPs framework’, a strategy to advance young women and girls’ empowerment. It will focus on enhancing their leadership, participation and engagement in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; economic empowerment of young women; and working with boys and young men to eliminate violence against women and achieve gender equality.

UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri with the CEO of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts Anita Tiessen. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown
CEO of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts Anita Tiessen and UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

Signing the MOU, UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri said, "Adolescent girls and young women are force multipliers with the immense power to disrupt norms and transform societies. UN Women is honoured to stand with WAGGGS, through this partnership, to champion the rights of adolescent girls and young women, and to empower them to strengthen and amplify their voice to ensure their active and effective participation in all facets of life and in all aspects of decision making."

Anita Tiessen, WAGGGS Chief Executive, welcomed the opportunity to join forces with UN Women to accelerate progress on girls’ and women’s rights worldwide: “As the only global movement geared entirely to girls, we are in the unique position to hear directly from them every day about the issues and barriers they face in their daily life. We can then use their voices to help us shape our hugely successful partnership with the lead UN agency on women’s rights.”

One of the highlights of the UN Women-WAGGGS partnership over the past five years has been the development and implementation of the Voices against Violence programme, a non-formal education curriculum that teaches youth to identify and break gender stereotypes and discrimination, and prevent violence against women in their communities through education, advocacy and action.

To date, more than 9,372 youth leaders have taken part in raising awareness activities, as part of the programme, and more than 28,100 young people have completed the curriculum, with the financial support of UN Women and Zonta International.

Going forward, under the new MoU, the two organizations will also strengthen ties at the national level through collaboration between in-country partners on projects that respond to the specific needs of young people.