2020 COHORT

Akeena Rosalie G. Siladan

Country: Philippines

Educator, Troop Leader, Young Adult Representative to the Iloilo Council Board of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines

“When a girl is free to be herself, she has the amazing power to reach her fullest potential that could positively affect the lives of others around her.”

Since 2018, Akeena has been conducting Action on body Confidence sessions in her own community and has seen the impact of giving young people the opportunity to be comfortable in their own skin. An educator by profession, she is currently working towards her masters’ thesis on misinformation and has decided to create a body confidence advocacy campaign about the issue too. Entitled, moDEFY, the advocacy campaign will be focused on defying digital modifications brought by photo manipulation and spread of misinformation to girls’ self-esteem and body confidence.

Chifundo Ngwale 

Country: Malawi

Girl Guide Youth Leader, Youth Training Facilitator, Gender Equality Champion, Mental Health Activist, and Action on Body Confidence Advocate 

Chifundo Ngwale is a youth advocate with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). Based in Lilongwe, Malawi. She speaks English and Chichewa.

“In Malawi 22% of Members of Parliament are women, we need to lobby for more representation of women in Parliament and leadership positions in other institutions so that girls should have role models to motivate them to achieve gender equality.”

Chifundo is a national advocacy champion for gender equality, a YESS alumnae to Madagascar in 2018, Girl Guide young leader and trainer. She is an experienced training facilitator on the WAGGGS leadership mindset, free being me, action on body confidence and voice against violence curriculums.

“I believe girls need to be trained that are not raised to become mothers and wives but to be productive in the society and their respective areas.”

Chifundo is a fourth year Agricultural Extension student. Through her project she aims to empower and motivate girls and young women who are facing gender-based violence and mental health disorder through agriculture and entrepreneurship to get their self-esteem and body confidence back to achieve their goals and to become responsible citizens of the country.

Ask Chifundo about

  • Action Sustainable Development Goal 5- gender equality
  • Training gender based violence
  • Climate action
  • Action on Body Confidence and mental health

Camila Takalli

Country: Libya

Youth Leader, Gender Equality advocate

Camila is a Girl Girl and Gender Equality advocate based in Libya. She is also currently a Dental student. ‘As long as I have a voice, it is my responsibility to speak up for what is right. I believe that we need gender equality to climb the ladder of improvement and development in our societies and to achieve that we need to empower girls since their early years to stand up for their rights and get what belongs to them.’

Camila works with other girl guides and her association to deliver sessions to ensure body confidence and self-esteem for all girls. Camila also shares advocacy trainings with other young women within the Arab region to ensure girls are empowered to be advocates.

Riju Manandhar  

Country: Nepal

Gender Equality and Body Confidence activist 

Riju runs an advocacy campaign called “Perfect Imperfections” to stop the normalization of derogatory body remarks and gender-based body policing in my country. Through this campaign, she intends to educate individuals through digital platforms on various ways of embracing imperfections; empower them through activities and programmes to make them feel good in their own skin; and advocate and strive for a community where body policing has NO place in our daily lives.

She recently completed her undergraduate study and currently works at WAGGGS as a Programme Assistant for the Surf Smart Programme.

She loves to be vocal on issues she cares about and in the recent months, she’s represented Nepal Scouts in UNICEF ROSA’s IDG event as a panelist and WAGGGS in the Dove Summit as a speaker.

‘I believe that you are never too young or never too old to make a difference in society. Even though your voice is being heard by only few, it is being heard! So never hesitate to raise your voice against what you believe is wrong.’

JESS

Country: UK

Computer Scientist, Brownie Leader, Peer Educator, Body Confidence Advocate, 2020 Advocacy Champion, member of the student Scout and Guide organisation ‘SSAGO’, and part of the international service team at various world Scout and Guide camps across the world

‘I believe that representation matters and that all people regardless of who they are, can and should be represented in the mainstream media, fashion and advertising. I’m a passionate advocate for gender equality and body confidence as well as getting promoting and encouraging more women into STEM fields.’

In 2020, Jess was selected to be 1 of 15, advocacy delegates for WAGGGS to help run a body confidence session at the virtual United Nations youth engagement ‘YOUNGA’. She has spoken at schools about her advocacy journey, written an extract in a book called ‘the resilience of being’ and is helping in the co creation team to develop the ‘free being me’ badge.

In 2019, she was selected to take part in girlguiding anglia’s ‘action for change’ project where she founded a project called ‘positively me!’ As well as creating an instagram and facebook page where she promotes and share people’s journeys with body confidence, I put on a fashion show in my local area which was featured on both national and local news which aimed to encourage more normal real people to be seen in mainstream media.

In 2015, Jess was selected to attend the ‘women in the world’ conference with Dove UK, where she learnt about the harmful effects that the media can have on young women’s self esteem and learnt what we could challenge the media to do in order to make more young women feel represented in what they saw.

MADHU SHREE K S

Country: INDIA

Speaker, Girl Guide Spokesperson and Advocate for Body Confidence and Self-esteem, Educating on harms of Child Marriage.

Madhu is a BSc Graduate in Life Sciences from Government Science College, Bangalore and a Rajyapuraskar Ranger in Guiding.

She started her Guiding journey in 2017, achieving Rajyapuraskar (Governor) Award in Feb, 2019 “I believe that each girl has to get the opportunities to enhance their self and bring up the voices up to the society and motivate the voices hidden and encourage upcoming voices.”

Madhu has represented Bharat Scouts and Guides in a number of national and global advocacy engagements, including championing youth leadership and participation at the Global Youth Summit in 2021 as a Facilitator, actively participating in the largest digital youth takeover of UNGA75 at YOUNGA2020 and training with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts as part of the Young Women’s Advocacy Forum.

Madhu is running a national campaign for girls to advocate on the Reduction of Child Marriage in India. Her project, First Step, has a number of advocacy goals including amending the Law on Child Marriage across India to ensure girls are supported and have bodily autonomy.

Leslie Figueroa

Country: México

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Youth leader, Public speaker on Gender-based on violence on women and LGBTQ community or allies

Leslie is a writer, a body confidence and equality and inclusion advocate. Her project Tu chispart provides a space where young women and LGBT or allies seek to be free to express themselves. She began her Instagram campaign in 2020 with other Girl Guides to talk about  prejudices impacting them in society. Their campaign focuses on various issues according to the theme of the month and supported by art as the tool for expression. ‘My goal is creating conscience by having representation on media  without all these prejudices that affect how girls see themselves inside. Prejudices cause violence against girls who don’t look or behave as society demands’

“I need to raise my voice about gender based violence, and I choose to tell this through arts because they can encourage people to raise their voice too, the same way arts teaches us how to see our light”

ERIKA JANE ASPERA

Country: Philippines

Youth Leader, Body Confidence Campaigner, Advocate against Weight Stigma, Women and Children’s Rights Advocate, Girl Representative to the Central Board of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines 

Erika Jane Aspera is a 21-year-old youth advocate with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), based in Batangas, Philippines. She speaks Filipino and English.

“Living in a society where girls and young women are vulnerable to discrimination and violence is a great challenge. Through programs such as Free Being Me and Action on Body Confidence, I was able to further understand these issues and it gave me the opportunity to align my passion and take action. Among these societal issues is weight stigma, which highly affects women and the youth in our country, and I am determined to use my voice and influence my peers in order to change this harmful view.”

Erika is a biology student at the University of the Philippines Manila and one of the Young Women’s Advocacy Forum 2020 delegates, attending and facilitating events in the YOUNGA and UN CSW. She is a 3-Year Service Awardee Cadet Girl Scout from the Philippines and delivers Girl Scouting programs and events in regional, national, and international levels.

She is an advocate for positive body confidence: her current advocacy campaign highlights the fight against harmful body image and weight stigma, which is prevalent among young women and the youth in her country amplified by the situation in this time of pandemic. During her term as a girl representative, she has led several events on girl leadership and served as guest speaker in camps and forums for different age levels. She also promotes public health through engaging in polio vaccination campaigns in her country and is affiliated with the UNICEF and other organizations fighting for children’s rights.

Erika is a filmmaker, actor, dancer, radio broadcaster and has an eye for photography.

Elizabeth Gerard

Country: Malaysia

Social Justice and Mental Health Advocate, Counselling Intern, Kuala Lumpur Clover Guides Commissioner

Elizabeth Gerard is a youth advocate with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She speaks English and Malay.

Elizabeth Gerard co-founded the Generation Now Youth Conference and #NoBridesUnder18 campaign (anti-child marriage); co-developed a mental health awareness proficiency badge; and represented WAGGGS and Malaysia at the #YOUNGA2020 Forum and Working Groups for gender equality and mental health advocacy. In 2021, she co-spoke on digital advocacy in the Global Youth Summit.

Recently, she founded Project #WonderfullyMade, a youth-led digital advocacy campaign aimed at tackling self-objectification among Malaysian youths. The campaign aims to lobby the Malaysian Government to make comprehensive positive identity development education essential across primary and secondary education levels. Currently training as a professional counsellor, she hopes to serve the youth and marginalized communities in Malaysia upon completing her postgraduate studies.

‘There is a mental health pandemic happening among young people: it’s silent, debilitating, and deadly. I believe the time is NOW for governments to make mental health resources a priority and a necessity.’

Ask Elizabeth about:

  • Action on Sustainable Development Goals 3, 4, and 5
  • Raising awareness on self-objectification
  • Campaigning for essential positive identity development education

Lindsay Saber

Country: United States

‘Global Health Advocate in reducing the burden ofpreventable disease. Artistic Expression Activist’

Lindsay Saber is a youth advocate with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), based in Georgia, United States. She speaks English, Swahili and Spanish.

“There must be an effort to understand each other’s viewpoints, even if we disagree. Without this understanding, we cannot progress together, for a better future.”

Her advocacy work is centered around diversifying beauty standards and understanding other people’s lived experiences through art. She advocates for equal representation of genders, races, able- bodies and sexual orientations across all platforms, particularly in the media. Her main goal is to facilitate an exchange in cultural backgrounds.

As a current master’s in Global Health student, Lindsay focuses on the inequity of access to preventative resources in marginalized communities. She is passionate about young women’s health and their ability to receive basic care.

Lindsay is a trained facilitator in Free Being Me & Voices Against Violence curriculums.

2019 COHORT

Izabel Sanches

Country: Brazil

Body Confidence Advocate, Girl Guide leader of 15-17yo group, Member of the Local Training and Development Team of São Paulo Brazil.

Izabel is a 28 Girl Guide since she was 6. ‘Girl Guiding helped me with my leadership, to speak my mind, and to find out what I was good at. Most of girls in Brazil has body confidence issues and I want to help them feel strong, passionate and confident about their beliefs and dreams, and to be responsible for what kind of world they want to be part of.’ Izabel works with fellow advocate Marina to advocate for more recognision of female public figures in the public sphere. The Jeronymas Advocacy project has 3 goals: to showcase the amazing work of 100 different Brazilian women, to celebrate the National Women’s Day, and to have a artistic representation of women in Rio de Janeiro.

Justine Danielle Bautista

Country: Philippines

Vice Chairperson of the National Program Committee and Central Board Member at the Girl Scouts of the Philippines. Advocate for body confidence, gender equality, and mental health.

Justine Danielle Bautista is a young adult leader at the Girl Scouts of the Philippines (GSP). She has initiated different programs for her advocacies on body confidence, gender equality, and mental health.

“As the many different issues on mental health have come to light, I want to highlight how gender-based stereotypes affect our mental health and body confidence. I want every girl and young women to realize that regardless of what the society dictates them to be, they are beaYOUtiful and valYOUble just the way they are.”

She launched a project called valYOUble which aims to battle societal pressures and gender-based stereotypes affecting an individual’s body image, self confidence, and mental health. Aside from her project, she has led different programs and events of GSP.

Justine is also a licensed Psychometrician and has worked on numerous projects on mental health. She has also been invited as a resource speaker on different webinars about mental health and leadership.

2018 COHORT

Lucia Ruvarashe Ndanga

Country: Zimbabwe

Girl Guide Leader, Body Confidence and Gender Equality Advocate, One Health Leader, Former WAGGGS Advocacy Champion

“Gender equality is like a two winged bird, for it fly above limits women (one wing) should be equal to men(one wing) in opportunities and leadership. I therefore apply my advocacy skills in everyday conversations with family and friends and conduct my everyday life to challenge gender stereotypes and colorism”

Lucia’s project focuses on tackling colourism in her community by challenging standards of beauty around being light and advocates against skin lightening products.

Lucia serves as the Youth and Advocacy lead on the WAGGGS Africa Region Committee. She is a national trainer in Zimbabwe on the WAGGGS leadership model and ABC program. She speaks on panels local and international on Youth Leadership, Social Justice and Body Confidence with organizations such as USAID and UN WOMEN.

Currently studying law at Makerere University, Uganda. Part of a legal aid program at school that offers legal training and services to disadvantaged communities in Uganda. Actively involved with the Women and Gender ministry activities at university and One Health training.

Shauna Smith

Country: Grenada

Girl Guide Leader, Gender-Based Violence and Body Confidence Advocate and Sustainable Development Goals Campaigner.

“I am passionate about creating a sustainable world by tackling environmental responsibility, gender equality, and body confidence in any way I can. Hopefully, I can be a part of leading Grenada towards becoming a more inclusive and educated community.”

Shauna is a Girl Guide Young Leader from the Girl Guides Association of Grenada and graduate from St. George’s University where she majored in Psychology. Within her association, Shauna has worked under the Free Being Me program to advocate for Body Confidence in Grenada. She has also worked on many projects with the Education Conservation Outreach group to bring awareness to environmental sustainability on her island.

She works with Lucia on their project Brown & Beautiful to tackle colourism and skin lightening to defy the idealisation of lightness being the epitome of beauty.

Shauna is most passionate about working towards a sustainable world by tackling the Sustainable Development Goals and breaking the traditional biases that exist on her island. She also hopes to use her studies in psychology to examine the mental illness biases within the Black community.