Kathmandu, August 30, 2016:Â The 12th Asia Pacific Conference of World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) aimingto formulatefuture strategies of the association commenced in the Capital amid a grand opening ceremony on Monday. The five-day conference,inaugurated by President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, has a participation of 300 scouters from the 26 member countries from the region, including 50 observers from various parts of the globe.
This is the first international conference the Nepal Scout is conducting in its 64 years of service in Nepal. The Girl Scouts,which started in1910 three years after Lord Baden Powell started the scouting campaign, has now expanded to 143 countries across the world,where millions of girls and women have be united under Scouts banner to serve their communities. The Girl Scouts in Nepal was established in 1955 and currently theirmembership outnumbers boys. Nepal has a total of 60,000 scouters in the country.
The dignitaries addressing the inaugural session lauded the role of Scouts and WAGGGS in expanding the feeling of brother and sisterhood across the globe and expressed the hope that there will be significant rise of members in the future. In her inaugural address President Bhandari appreciated the role played by Nepal Scout in the rescue and relief operation after the devastating earthquake last year. â€œI expect the Scout will have similar support and contribution in the reconstruction campaign,â€ she said, expressing hope that scoutsfrom the world over would also support the campaign.
She also asked the delegates from different countries to observe the devastation of the disaster and contribute towards the reconstruction in any way they could. According to Nepal Scouts officials as many as 5,000 scouts and scouters did voluntary service in the relief and rescue operation and significant numbers are now supporting the reconstruction drive.
â€œItâ€™s a matter of pride that the conference is being held in here. The government is ready to lend any kind of support to the Scouts and will help in extending the scouting services in the schools and communities,â€ said Minister for Youth and Sports, Daljit BK Sirpaili, at the inaugural session. The Nepal government and Nepal Scouts have been working collaboratively since the organisationâ€™s establishment in 1952.
According to the organisers, a number of discussions will be held in various plenary sessionsin the nextfive days before coming out with the â€˜Kathmandu Declarationâ€™ on September 2. During the discussions there will be updates on scouting activities taking place across the globe which help in shaping the mission of taking the Asia Pacific region in step with other regions around the globe. Similarly, the delegates in the event will evaluate the triennial progress report, as the conference is held every three years.
â€œThere will be intense discussions on whether the incumbent committee worked as per the target set three years before,â€ said Rabin Dahal,chief commissioner of Nepal Scouts. â€œThis will be a good way to assess the strengths and weaknesses of our working modality.â€ In addition, the delegates will also share the best practices from their respective countries which can also be replicated in other countries, when applicable.
With days of brainstorming, the conference will also come up with future strategiesregardomg risk management and capacity building of the members, and increasing the numbers of Scouts in the future. The conference will conclude after election of four, out of six, member executive committee including chair and vice-chairperson,who will lead the girl scouting bodies of the region for the next six years.
The international delegates will visit various parts of the country, including Pokhara and Chitwan and will go on mountain flight not to mention about the trip within the Kathmandu Valley. The organisers say this is a step towards boosting tourism in the country as the delegates will go back their home countries with good impressions of Nepal. In an attempt to attract the Scout tourist, Nepal government in 2007 had renamed 5,890 meter Urkema Mountain in Dolakha as BP Peak, after Baden Powell the founder of Scout. Similarly, a trekking route from Kakani to the Peak has been dubbed the BP trail.
The event protrays strength of Nepal Scout
The 12th Asia Pacific Regional Conference of World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts has commenced in the Capital. The five-day conference will formulate regional strategies for the organisation for the next three years. With Nepal hosting a scouting event of this scale for the very first time, The Post caught up with Nepal Scoutsâ€™ National Chief Commissioner, Rabin Dahal, and its National Secretary, Lok Bahadur Bhandari, for a chat about the different facets of Nepal Scouts and the on-going conference. Excerpts:
This is the first time Nepal Scouts is organising an event of this scale. What does its success mean for Nepal Scouts in the international forum?
This is a portrayal of the strengths of Nepal Scouts as an organisation. It projects that the present leadership is capable of hosting international events successfully. The conference will give a positive perception of Nepal Scouts in the international forum and will boost its image internationally. We also hope to give out the massage that Nepal is safe and capable of hosting any kind of international events.
We have also been prioritising scouting tourism; therefore, we are for organising as many events as possible. This will boost Nepalâ€™s tourism while also giving a message to the world that Nepal is a safe and a beautiful place.
What are the objectives of the conference?
The main objective is to formulate strategies that will lead the Scouts in the Asia Pacific region in the future. In next five days the participants will evaluate the triennial performance of the Scouts in the region and also elect a new leadership for the next three years.
What will be the outcomes of conference?
The conference will come up with a new programme for the Asia Pacific with regards to all scouting activities. After days of brainstorming, the conference will formulate plans and policies for the expansion and promotion of Girl Scouts in the region.
How is Nepal Scouts managing the event?
As the host nation we bear the sole responsibility for making the event a success. We have formed seven separate committees to look after different aspects of management, which range from event management, secretariat management to hospitality management. The Nepal government is also supporting for the event.
Hamro Danphe is the theme of the conference. What does it signify?
Danphe or the Lophophorousâ€”Nepalâ€™s national birdâ€”is a beautiful bird with multiple colours. Through its nine-coloured plumes, we want to project the message of unity in diversity. The Danphe perfectly sums up our goal for the conference: bringing together a diverse group of organisations and people for a common good.
We are focused in expanding our networks
How has Nepal Scouts evolved since its founding 1952?
Nepal Scouts was established over six decades ago with just 32 Scout masters. Now, it has 60,000 scout and scouters across the nation. Every year, at least 2,000 new Scouts are inducted under our umbrella. However, we hope that the numbers will increase more rapidly in the future. We are planning to add 250,000 more members by 2025. To facilitate the new wave, we have been organising scout masterâ€™s trainings, who are assigned to train students in the schools. As the government came out with the â€˜one schools one troopâ€™ programme a year ago, this will help us in attaining our goal. We are moving together with the help of the Nepal government on this mission.
Currently, the Scouts memberships are concentrated in private schools compared to those in community-based schools. We are now also shifting our focus to community schools and hoping for great results.
What are some of the areas Nepal Scouts is working on?
As the goal of the Scouts is the social, physical, spiritual, intellectual and emotional development of the youth, it has always been our primary driver through which we hope to generate self-reliant and confident future leaders. As â€˜Be Preparedâ€™ is the scout motto, we prepare scouts and scouters to work in disaster management as well. Hundreds of our members actively participated in the rescue and relief works during the devastating earthquakes last year. Similarly, scores of Scouts are engaged in volunteer work during festivals and large public gatherings. We are also actively participating in the Clean Bagmati initiative, traffic awareness, cleanliness and other various awareness programmes.
There were some criticisms levelled against Nepal Scouts in the past. How have they been addressed?
We are very careful in working as per well-established international principles. Additionally, we have also hired a consultant to work as per ISO standard 9001-2016 with the objective of acquiring a certification of standardisation. We are strictly following the evaluation tools developed by World Scout Bureau to assess our performances, which play a vital role in the reformation of Nepal Scouts.
How is Nepal Scouts partnering with the Nepal government?
From the very beginning, we have been working together with the Nepal government. Nepal Scout Act 1994, formulated by our Parliament, guides our functioning. The ministry for Youth and Sports is the line ministry we work with.
What are your future strategies?
We want all students to be a part of the Scouts so that, through the scouting education, they become disciplined and competent and help in nation building. We want to make our organisation effective from the national to the grassroots level.