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Day 13 of 16: Fortifying Young Girls Against Gender-Based Violence

by Vanessa Hansen, AWC Berlin member

How do you prevent Gender-Based Violence? By raising mighty girls who grow up to become mighty women! The Girl Scouts program, beginning as early as age 5, provides opportunities to build girls of courage, confidence, and character. It empowers them to make confident decisions about their own lives and to make positive changes for others and their environment in community.

In 1912, during the Progressive Era, a period when women could not vote in the United States, Juliette Gordon Low, created a worldwide movement sparking girls to embrace their uniqueness, tenacity, and intellect. She gathered a group of 18 girls in her hometown of Savannah, GA to share a new outdoor and educational program for youth. These first Girl Scouts blazed trails and redefined what was possible for themselves and for girls everywhere.

The Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA) is a member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). These programs continue to evolve and inspire girls and young women across the globe to, among many things, take a stand against GBV. The UN Women, in partnership with WAGGGS, has developed a global non-formal education curriculum to engage young people in efforts to prevent and end violence against girls and women.

Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world are encouraged to get involved at the local level through charity work and civic engagement. As her Gold Award project, for example, Arija Forsyth extended resources to victims with children at a local domestic violence crisis center in her hometown in Connecticut (USA). Arija created a Mobile Kids Corner with activities for children in a safe environment and two mini Mobile Kids Corners for local domestic violence safe houses. She also shared her project with her local high school and Girl Scout troops to raise awareness of domestic violence and to inspired others to take action.

Did you know that Berlin has an active Girl Scouting program for girls and young women ages 5 to 18? The Berlin Girl Scout program has expanded from a small group of 5 girls in the 1950’s, to over 40 girls thanks to the dedication of its adult volunteers. Girls and young women, are provided rich opportunities to develop their social, academic, and leadership skills via badge-earning challenges, outings, and all-level meetings. Self-reliance, civic responsibility, and leadership are key aspects of the program. The girls, following the Scout motto “Be prepared”, have received basic training in First Aid and emergency situations. Recently, they connected with the local community by baking cookies and packing 100 bags which were distributed during a Christmas caroling event at a senior residence. Older Girl Scouts have also had opportunities to work with refugee children and present anti-smoking campaigns at school as part of award-winning leadership training. With the support, vision, and commitment of role models, girls have the opportunity to find—and become—leaders in their communities and the world and hopefully inspire other young women toward community support and leadership.

Would you like to get involved? For more information about the Berlin Girl Scout program, please contact Vanessa at vhansen980@hotmail.com

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Source: http://www.girlscouts.org/en/about-girl-scouts/our-history.html

The AWC Berlin participates in the 16-Day-Campaign against Gender-Based-Violence.  Each day, we highlight an aspect of GBV to raise awareness and call on our membership to take one small action to fight against violence against women.

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