USA: How to Connect Kids to the UN’s #GlobalGoals

USA: How to Connect Kids to the UN’s #GlobalGoals

Lack of sanitation. Universal education. Poverty. Global Health. How is it possible to introduce a group of 70 kids about some of the world’s largest problems and how to solve them in one night — plus make it fun?

Well, last month I helped organize “World Thinking Day” for the Girl Scouts in my town of Holmdel in New Jersey, USA.  The day was celebrated on or around February 22nd by Girl Scouts and Girl Guides in 146 countries, and the theme for 2016 established by the Girl Scouts was “Connect.” As a Girl Scout volunteer and a global activist, World Thinking Day was where my worlds were about to collide!

To start, the idea of connecting the girls with what problems to be solved came from this viral Google quote I found in my Facebook feed one day:

WTD 2016 Google Quote

 

“Don’t ask kids what they want to be when they grow up but what problems do they want to solve.” YES!! In order to inspire future problem solvers, we needed to find some problems. And it’s actually not difficult to find the world’s most pressing problems — there’s a list!

Global Goals Chart

We ran straight to the United Nation’s  Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are the 17 global goals world leaders set out to achieve to help eradicate poverty and make the planet a better place. And With Girl Scouts that ranged in age from 5-years old to high school teenagers, we needed presentations and activities incorporating some of the goals which would keep their wide range of interests and attention spans!

We chose to introduce the girls to the concepts of SDGs 1-6: no poverty, no hunger, good health, quality education, gender equality and clean water and sanitation with the help of Save the Children, WaterAID and a kit purchased from Sole Hope.

On the day, 70 girls rotated through four World Thinking Day stations. Two stations were “presentation” stations and two were “maker” stations, where the girls would be hands-on. Upon arrival, we had tables set up in the center of the room for the girls to convene with their troops and have a snack. They also received their schedules of what station their troop would visit and in what order. Before beginning the rotations, we started the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance and the Girl Scout Promise. Then, they were off!

World Thinking Day Presentation Stations

We invited Save the Children and WaterAID to the event to present to the girls. Each brought a slide presentation and projector, and their enthusiasm for the work they do was relevant in how fantastically they engaged with the girls. They were introduced to how global nonprofits were applying solutions to solve some of the world’s biggest problems.

Save the Children

At the Save the Children station, girls learned how the organization helps children in over 120 countries. They were shown photos of what classrooms look like before the organization goes in and after. Save the Children is creating better, safer learning environments for children around the globe.

WTD 2016 Save the Children

Carmen from Save the Children educating a troop of Cadettes about their programs worldwide that are making a difference in the lives of children.

In 2014 Save the Children helped over 160 million children worldwide! Being kids themselves, the really related to helping children and the photos of seeing the organization in action were engaging.

“It was cool because you can also help one kid who needs help at Save the Children.” — Sophie, Brownie (on sponsorship)

WaterAID

At the WaterAID station, the girls had the opportunity to line up and try to carry a jerry can half full of water and imagine what it would be like if they had to carry that can to fetch water for their family. They also learned how over 1 billion people do not have access to a toilet on the planet!

WTD 2016 WaterAID

Manuel and Merry from WaterAID presenting to a Daisy Troop about how their organization helps communities gain access to clean water.

WaterAID explained why clean water is important to prevent disease and how so many people around the world lack access to it. They introduced the girls to ways in which their organization is making an impact in creating access to clean water in different countries.

A Girl Scout Cadette attempts lifting a jerry can half filled with water at the WaterAID station for World Thinking Day. These containers are a way in which some children around the world fetch for waters for their families.

A Girl Scout Cadette attempts lifting a jerry can half filled with water at the WaterAID station for World Thinking Day. These containers are a way in which some children around the world fetch for waters for their families.

“I was surprised how heavy the yellow container was, and it was only half filled. How do kids carry that?” — Sophie, Brownie

World Thinking Day Maker Stations

Sole Hope

World Mom and Anti-poverty mom, Cindy Levin, introduced me to Sole Hope, an organization whose goal is to provide shoes to children who need them most to prevent infection. I ordered a party kit online, and we asked the troops for donations of denim. At the station, the girls learned about how going barefoot can lead to painful foot parasites in some places on the globe. They cut patterns out of the old jeans and plastic that would be made into shoes for children in Uganda.

WTD 2016 Sole Hope

A Girl Scout Junior troop measures out patterns for cutting out shoes for children in Uganda out of recycled denim and plastic.

We also showed the girls photos of what the finished products would look like.

“I loved helping to make the shoes. They are so cute!” — Brownie, Ally

Girl Scouts’ SWAPS

What’s a Girl Scout event without making SWAPS? SWAPS are an old tradition of exchanging keepsakes among fellow Girl Scouts met while traveling. The acronym stands for “Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere.” The girls were led in making keepsakes to commemorate World Thinking Day 2016. Their SWAPS included gold and silver puzzle pieces to commemorate connecting with friends, as the lyrics go:

“Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold!”

 

WTD 2016 SWAPS

Girl Scouts creating at the SWAPS station to commemorate World Thinking Day!

It was so fun to intertwine the UN’s global goals for the planet into the Girl Scouts’ World Thinking Day. We were able to introduce over 70 girls to problems that children like themselves face around the world and they had the opportunity to meet some of the change makers that are providing solutions on the global stage — we definitely gave the girls something to think about!

(After all was said and done, our town’s Girl Scouts had some money left over from the event that they chose to donate to both, Save the Children and WaterAID, too!)

Do you have a Girl Scout or Girl Guide who participated in World Thinking Day this year? Let us know what they did to commemorate the day! 

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by World Mom, Jennifer Burden, who is the founder and CEO of World Moms Blog. *Special thanks to Leaders, Janice Petretti and Heather Behal who also helped plan the event! 

Photo credits to the author.

 

 

Jennifer Burden

Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India. She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post, ONE.org, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls. Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.

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