World Scouting held its first Women and Girls Empowerment workshop in the Arab Region, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 14–17 November 2019. The workshop focused on Scouting's education for boys and girls, with an emphasis on increasing the involvement of girls and young women on the national level.
With the generous support of WSF donor Alwaleed Philanthropies and hosted by the Saudi Arabia Scouts Association, the workshop gathered over 30 participants from across the Arab region including Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Sudan.
The main objective of the workshop was to drive forward the empowerment of women by supporting National Scout Organisations (NSOs) in the Arab region to engage more women and girls through Scouting. Together, participants also laid the foundation for World Scouting and Alwaleed Philanthropies’ flagship initiative Scouts for SDGs and established a direct link to Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality.
Among several key topics, men and women worked together to learn how to enhance the inclusion of women and girls in Scouting. An exchange of knowledge, best practices and mutual support on strategy development was prevalent throughout the four days. Participants set their priorities on the inclusion and empowerment of women through Scouting education for both boys and girls.
“The workshop was a great success on many levels, one of them was witnessing the constructive dialogue and willingness of men to empower women and girls and achieve equal opportunities for them,” said Hoda El Agaty from Egypt.
Participants also came to understand the global partnership between World Scouting and UN Women’s HeForShe initiative where they learned how to apply the HeForShe Action Kit in each of their NSOs to ensure equal opportunities to women and girls in local communities.
The workshop was honoured with the presence of Her Highness Princess Sama Bint Faisal Al Saud, World Scout Foundation Board Member, whose remarks highlighted the role of Scouting in youth development.
“Saudi women are ready to take their place in society and Saudi girls in Scouting will lead the way,” said HH Princess Sama Bint Faisal Al Saud.
Holding the event for the first time in the Arab Scout Region, in Saudi Arabia, holds a special affirmation that Scouts across the region are setting women and girls empowerment at the top of their agendas by convening to design action plans and agree on a way forward.
“Scouting is not about religion or politics. It’s about developing young people’s capacity and empowering them to contribute to society. The most important skills in life, both men and women need them!” said Dr. Abdullah bin Sulaiman Al Fahad, Vice-President of the Saudi Arabian Scout Association.
World Scout Foundation Chair, Hector Robledo Cervantes and World Scout Committee Member, Peter Blatch, were also in attendance to support NSOs in the Arab region to prioritise the empowerment of women and girls in their strategies.
Sincere thanks to all who worked hard to make this milestone event possible, in particular the representatives from World Scouting's Arab Regional Support Centre and the Saudi Arabian Scout Association.