World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS)

Guide smiling at World Scout JamboreeGirlguiding is a member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). The World Association was founded in 1928 as the umbrella organisation for guiding and girl scouting associations around the world.

What does WAGGGS do?

WAGGGS is the largest organisation in the world providing non-formal education to girls and young women and has links with many other organisations, including the United Nations. It works to directly influence issues relevant to girls and young women, such as empowerment, life skills, leadership and the fight against HIV and AIDS.

The same but different

All 10 million WAGGGS members in 144 countries share the same traditions and aims despite ethnic, cultural, religious and economic differences. Each national Member Organisation accepts the basic principles and values of guiding, and works for the self-development of girls and young women through programmes suited to its own circumstances.

Symbols of unity

WAGGGS members' common commitment is expressed in the Promise and Law, although these may be worded differently from country to country. There are other links uniting Guides worldwide too:

  • The Trefoil represents the three-part Promise. Each national Member Organisation includes the Trefoil in its Guide badge.
  • The Good Turn is the service given by all Guides to the community. The youngest girls think of ways to do a Good Turn every day. Older girls and young women develop this idea into local, national and international service projects.
  • The motto 'Be Prepared' has the same initials as the Founder (Robert Baden-Powell) who introduced it. It's a reminder that guiding helps girls and young women to prepare for life.
  • The Guide sign and handshake can be used by Guides to greet each other. The sign is three fingers of the right hand raised to shoulder level. The handshake uses the left hand so that the sign can be given at the same time.
  • The World Badge can be worn by any member.
  • The World Flag is common to Guides and Girl Scouts around the world.
  • The World Song was set to music by Jean Sibelius and can be sung in English, French and Spanish.

Find out more

Visit the WAGGGS website.

To see websites from other Guide Associations around the world, visit the 'Our world' section of the WAGGGS website.

Find out more about our World Centres in London, Switzerland, India and Mexico here.World Centres