Happy Women’s Day!

Dear Scout family,

Today #NationalWomensDay we celebrate the women in our society, the people who often are the backbone and the strength of our homes, schools, churches, places of employment, and our Scout Groups. A lot of emphasis has been given nationally to the inclusion and equality of women in our communities, and to improving their resilience. This has really resonated with me.

Since 2000 SCOUTS South Africa has been open for girls and young women. Currently, nearly half of our membership are female. I am proud of this feat as this means that as a youth movement, we can help build the skills, confidence and the resilience of our young women and girls. Furthermore, our programmes are offered to boys and girls so together can learn to communicate, to work as a team and to take turns in leading their peers to achieve a common goal. This methodology fosters understanding, fosters inclusion and enables our members to internalise the concept of gender equality.

Our programmes also enable the development of inner strength and resilience. Resilience is the ability a person has to adapt and overcome amidst challenging circumstances. Research shows that one key factor in building resilience in women who face adversity daily, is to provide them with opportunities to serve as role models and peer mentors to other women in their community. Now isn’t this what Scouting’s leadership programme is all about? To enable girls and women to develop and roll out initiatives that promote and enhance the wellbeing of our members. Also, the strength and ability to adapt, to mentor, and to enjoy Scouting by our adult volunteers is being observed by the children and youth we serve. They watch, they learn, they internalise.

I also want to highlight the incredible value of our male adult volunteers, young leaders, and Rovers in contributing towards gender equality. The way you respect and value the women in your team as equals also doesn’t go unnoticed. Your Scouts observe and emulate your actions within their lives.

I want to thank all our Scouting volunteers for investing in the education and wellbeing of our girls and young women. Your actions enable them to grow and thrive. To our girls and young women in Scouting, I would like to say “Don’t be afraid to dream big. If you put in the work at school, your workplace, and in Scouting, you will have the knowledge, abilities, and confidence needed to succeed. You are equally skilled and resilient, you got this!”

Yours in Scouting,

Khonzaphi Mdaka
Chief Scout