34th WAGGGS World Conference – Day 3 (Wednesday 13th July 2011)

Blog – day 3 of World Conference, 13 July 2011.


After enjoying ourselves at the ceilidh, it was back to business on Wednesday morning.   The first formal session involved discussing the proposed motions put forward by the World Board and/or other Member Organisations (MOs).

There was only brief discussion on the proposed motions, with any amendments due later tonight, and voting would take place on Friday morning.

We then heard further from young women as to their experiences with attending the World Centres and their Reflections on the World Conference so far, and our Amy Spark (Vic) was one of those chosen to speak.

The rest of the day was then taken up with attending various workshops, demonstrations or café conversations.  Sessions attended included membership, diversity and inclusion, e-learning and fund development.  Helen, our Chief Commissioner, also presented a session on the strategic partnerships of Girl Guides Australia.

Throughout the day, and in between attending workshops and the like, we also manned our stall at the Expo which outlined the journey Girl Guides Australia has taken with strategic partnerships.  This includes partnerships with Westpac, Clean Up Australia and the Australia Government.

After dinner, we then moved to the International Evening and World Market, where each MO dresses in national costumes and sells wares rom their country. The Australia contingent went with a beach theme, board shorts, Australia jerseys, Australia hat or bandanna and thongs.

The prize for the best dressed would have to go to Linden Edgell, current deputy chair of the World Board.  Speaking about Linden, Australia then hosted a celebration for Linden’s time on the Board and she will retire from the World Board at the end of the conference.  Many of Linden’s Guiding friends met along the way were present and as a young person in that room, the women present were truly inspirational.

The World Conference is quickly coming to an end.  Tomorrow we vote on the World Board nominees and hear the bids for hosting the 35th World Conference.


Renée Bianchi



34th WAGGGS World Conference – Day 2 (Tuesday 12th July 2011)

The second day of the World Conference has been a very long one for the GGA Delegation. We began with Reflections and a short presentation from a WOSM World Committee member on how our two organisations are working together at the world level. This was followed by a brief summary of the proposed 2012-2014 Strategic Plan of WAGGGS, which touched on the 6 Global Outcomes:
• Increased and diversified membership;
• Improved image and visibility of Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting;
• Influenced issues that affect girls and young women;
• Strengthened the quality of the Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting experience;
• Built leadership capacity at every level; and
• Increased funding.

We also had short presentations on further proposed motions that cover the development of a fifth World Centre in Africa, Quota (an amount that MO’s pay to WAGGGS), and Fund Development. There is much debate on some of these topics, leading to some very interesting conversations whilst we wait in line for meals!

After morning tea everyone broke up into Regional Gatherings to further discuss the Strategic Plan – what our MO’s have achieved in the last triennium (3 year period), and how our MO Strategic Plans link to the new WAGGGS Strategic Plan to achieve the vision and mission for the next triennium.

The entire afternoon was spent in Regional Gatherings to discuss regional business. For Australia and the Asia Pacific Region, this included:
• A roll call of members present;
• An introduction of the World Board nominees from the Asia Pacific Region;
• Further discussion on proposed motions from a regional perspective;
• Introduction to the ‘APOP’ (Asia Pacific Operational Plan);
• An ‘up close and personal’ panel discussion with 4 AP Region leaders, including our own Helen Geard who talked about leading an intergenerational organisation; and
• An update on the 2013 AP Regional Conference, which will be held in Tokyo, Japan.

The AP Region Gathering closed with a very special welcome ceremony for the Girl Guides Association of Cambodia, which was voted into full membership on Monday. Every MO from the AP Region had brought their national scarf; these were tied together, and held up by all the young women present in the room. We then sang the World Song in our respective languages, welcoming Cambodia to the largest worldwide organisation for girls and young women. It was a very special celebration for everyone in the room.

The World Board nominees were available after dinner for delegates to meet and greet, and to ask questions of them. The GGA delegation very thoroughly discussed a number of issues with all nominees so that we can have a good indication of what they can bring to the World Board, and who to vote for when the elections take place on Thursday.

The official proceedings ended with a traditional Ceilidh – a celebration of Scottish culture, with live music, dancing and singing – an opportunity for us all to feel some more deep Scottish love! A word of warning – the dancing involves far more energy than meets the eye!

The Aussies have ended the day with a team meeting to compare notes on today’s sessions, and to finalise our goodies for the International Market tomorrow night. We are anticipating that all the badges, Australian souvenirs and other goodies will be quite popular and sell out quickly, so that we can go shopping too!!

Don’t forget to check out our photos from Conference on the GGA Facebook page, and also the other Conference material available from the WAGGGS website.


34th WAGGGS World Conference – Day 1 (Monday 11th July 2011)

Well, the GGA delegation has arrived at the 34th World Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Conference is being held at Heriot-Watt University, just outside Edinburgh.

Along with us (Ally, NT and Renée, NSW&ACT), the delegation is made up of Helen Geard (TAS), Chief Commissioner, and Natasha Hendrick (WA). There are also a number of WAGGGS Honorary Associates who are Australian and present at the World Conference.

Amy Spark (VIC) is also attending the World Conference as a Young WAGGGS Representative, and is a participant, along with Ally and Renée, of the Young Women’s Leadership Program. This offers a variety of opportunities, and is also conducting an Intergenerational Zone, to encourage sharing of ideas and experiences between young women and other participants at the Conference.

We thank everyone for helping us with swaps and products for the International Evening. These were all packed last night in preparation for the International Evening and World Market on Wednesday.

Monday morning began bright (hang on, we are in Scotland, rainy) and early for some of us, when there was a false fire alarm. This was all forgotten when we got to breakfast, and the mountain of food, as well as sharing the breakfast table with people from a variety of countries and making friends straight away.

We moved into the auditorium (or Plenary Hall) for the business part of the Conference. It began with Reflections by members of Girlguiding UK, with the theme “we’re going to let the WAGGGS light shine”. The Chairman of the World Board, Margaret Treloar, welcomed 104 Member Organisations (MOs) to the Conference. This led into a roll call of MOs and all Guides present saying the Promise in their native tongue. This is when we really realised we were at the World Conference!

As the Conference is conducted in English, French, Spanish and Arabic, we were all given interpretation equipment, as well as a voting pad. We were allowed a play with the electronic voting pad before getting serious and beginning World Conference business and voting on proposed motions. This included voting on MOs to become full members of WAGGGS. This was an exciting moment for the Asia Pacific Region as Cambodia were successful in becoming full members.

We heard from Lakshmi Puri, who is the Secretary-General for UN Women who spoke about the importance of investing in and supporting girls and young women, and how WAGGGS has a role in this worldwide. It was made so clear that WAGGGS and UN Women have similar goals and that Girl Guides and Girl Scouts are at the heart of the solution for gender equality.

Other sessions today included:
• A presentation by Centenary Ambassadors from Nepal and Ecuador;
• Oprah-style TV chat sessions with the 5 Regional Chairs and Margaret Treloar;
• Young Women’s Panel - Renée was one of 6 young women on this panel and they discussed the ‘perfect leadership experience’;
• Introduction of the WAGGGS Vision 2020 that “all young women are valued and take action to change the world”; and
• Introduction of the 8 World Board nominees (voting will be held later this week).

We are now heading offsite to the official opening ceremony organised by Girlguiding UK. This promises to be a celebration of everything Scottish (so we can all feel some deep Scottish love, particularly for the bagpipes) and a fantastic way to end the first day of Conference and look forward to the rest of the week.

Renée Bianchi & Allison Hooper