European Scouts strive for gender equality
At the 41st World Scout Conference, the Scout Movement pledged to support UN Women’s HeForShe initiative by inspiring millions of Scouts to work towards creating a better, gender-equal world. Since then, Scouts from all over the world have responded with a resounding “Count me in!” to this commitment. Scouts from Europe have taken this call to action seriously, and the project “Scouts for Gender Equality” was born.
The two year project aimed to support Scouts in the region to become ambassadors for gender equality and promote gender-based inclusion through their daily work. The team behind the project relied on support from the European Youth Foundation and from WOSM Services consultants to deliver three main activities: an initial training for 12 National Scout Organizations (NSOs), an online event where participants developed national guidelines for gender equality and a regional training for 70 volunteers from European NSOs to disseminate the toolkit, and plan local actions.
The service required a volunteer project team to design and deliver the three core activities. This included a research phase to look at the current perspective on gender equality across the region and the challenges and successes seen in the different countries and NSOs. Following this research, the programme was designed to meet the relevant needs of the participating NSOs, through online planning meetings and consultation with external stakeholders.
The most important part of the service was the support for individual NSO projects. The service team offered participants research time, project management skills and budget to design and implement local projects in their own communities. This included organising workshops, events, competitions and movie screenings to raise awareness of gender equality, translating the HeforShe toolkit into national languages, developing of e-learning courses to reach a wider audience and more. The Scouts for Gender Equality team have also contributed to supporting gender-related activities globally at JOTA-JOTI, KISC virtual programme and the World Scout Academy 2020.
“This project made me open to new ideas, open about my shortcomings and failures. I think that helps put others at ease and allows them to do the same," said one of the participants.
Sian Bagshaw, the WOSM Services Consultant who delivered the service, shared the following:
“This was an ambitious service, with the unexpected new challenges faced due to the pandemic. Working with a variety of NSOs and unique project ideas required tailored support, project planning and budget considerations, alongside Listening Ear services due to the personal and professional impact of the pandemic. However, the service united participants across the region, in problem-solving together and reigniting motivation to work towards such an important cause.”
You can read more about the good practices implemented across Europe in the toolkit “Scouts’ Unstoppable Journey Towards Achieving Gender Equality”, which was developed as an outcome of this project.