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The Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting Movement is the world's largest movement dedicated to the empowerment of girls and young women.

Through Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting, girls build friendships and learn new skills in a fun environment, which enables them to develop as leaders, grow in confidence and be equipped and driven to make a difference in their communities and the world.

With expertise in non-formal education capacity building and leadership, WAGGGS provides tools, connections and a global voice to the Movement which ensures Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting organisations remain thriving, united and growing. At the opening session of the 37th World Conference, our Chair, Heidi Jokinen, announced that Compass 2032 was adopted by written resolution as the new 12-year vision for the Movement:


For us to best contribute to creating an equal world where all girls can thrive, we must work together to achieve our Compass 2032 vision for the Movement:

By 2032, we will be a girl-led Movement where every and any girl feels confident to lead and empowered to create a better world together

The Compass vision provides the Movement with a strong foundation and direction. This 2024-2029 strategy outlines how WAGGGS, through our Global Team of staff, dedicated pool of volunteers and Regional Committees, will contribute to the Movement reaching this vision, over the next six years.

This new strategy will look different to previous strategies. We face difficult decisions over the future size, shape, offer and operating model of the organisation, affecting our offer to Member Organisations (MOs), the place of World Centres, and our membership fee structure.

This is a pivotal time for WAGGGS. Our strategy must reflect this so that we can address the challenges we face and ensure the sustainability of the organisation now and into the future.

Current position

Reflections on our 2022/23 strategy one-year in

The 2022-2023 WAGGGS Global Strategy was developed during the COVID-19 pandemic, during this time the Movement was experiencing the effects of limited Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting activities and global lockdowns. Plans to develop a six-year strategy based on the 12-6-3 cycle, agreed in 2018, had already been paused in 2020 by the need to develop shorter-term activity-based plans which focused on delivering the best Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting experience possible, within the limitations upon us, and supporting Member Organisations (MOs) to survive and recover from the pandemic. 

Over the past year we have achieved a lot against our strategy: 75% of MOs across all WAGGGS regions are actively engaged in WAGGGS opportunities and services; our network of volunteers has increased to over 900 volunteers from 110 MOs; we have mobilised £4.5 million in restricted funds allowing us to deliver global programmes on issues that girls and young women care about across 45 countries; we have demonstrated good practice in our girl-led approach through STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and International Day of the Girl consultations which engaged over 15,000 young women in total; 350 girls and young women participated in the virtual Juliette Low Seminar and will now go on to deliver projects to help 100 girls in their communities to break barriers to leadership; and we delivered five Regional Conferences and developed Regional Action Plans for the triennium (2023-2025).

We have achieved a lot as a global team but have also experienced the challenges of delivering activities in a context that is unstable. We go into 2023 with a significantly reduced budget and the ambitious Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which were fixed at the beginning of the two-year strategy. We know that for the remainder of this current strategy there will be some difficult choices and careful prioritisation to be made to deliver the strategy as best as we can in 2023.


Responding to the challenges we face through three key commitments.


We have drawn from the 2022 and 2019 Listen to Girls consultations, 2020/21 MO engagement surveys and Regional Conference discussions to reflect on the challenges facing girls and young women, WAGGGS and the Movement today. To respond to these challenges, we have identified three key commitments which will form the foundation of our 2024-2029 strategy and allow us to be best positioned to deliver on Compass 2032:


1️⃣ Challenges facing girls and young women

Women and girls across the world, in every culture, are disproportionately affected by many of the issues facing the world with inequalities, exacerbated by the pandemic, preventing them from being able to reach their full potential. Our members want to see a world that is equal. They care about environmental sustainability, gender and racial inequalities and peace and security and they feel they have the power, supported by Girl Guiding Girl Scouting, to act to tackle these issues. We know girls have the knowlege and agency to create positive change, and that when included in decision making, girls can create the best outcomes for girls. However their voices often remain unrepresented.


▶ We will be guided by Girl-Led3 principles and approaches

Compass is shaped by the future girls want to see, and we will achieve it if the young people looking for this future are the ones leading our work to get there. For the Movement to best contribute to creating an equal world where all girls can thrive, it must become girl-led. The delivery of our 2024-2029 strategy will have at its core the intention and ambition to be girl-led in all that we do. We will provide spaces for girls and young women to shape our plans and strengthen our capacity in meaningful youth participation and effective intergenerational partnerships. We will lead thinking, drawing from expertise across our MOs, to support the Movement to rise to this challenge.


3 In Compass 2032, we use the word “girl” to mean all age groups where a Member Organisation would locally define “girls and young women”. We have omitted “young women” from the Compass 2032 statement for brevity and to put a focus on including our largest membership group in leadership. When we talk about a “girl-led” Movement, we are describing a Movement by, and for, girls and young women. Such a Movement provides genuine opportunities for shared intergenerational leadership, where girls of all ages have space to practice leadership, hold leadership roles, and play a meaningful role in decision making at all levels. 


2️⃣ Challenges facing WAGGGS

Like our Member Organisations, and many other organisations around the world, the coronavirus pandemic has had a significant negative impact on our finances. For WAGGGS, the pandemic intensified a multiyear period where the organisation’s unrestricted income has been falling – halving over five years (2016-21). In 2021, WAGGGS received £2.6m in unrestricted income of which £1.3m came from Membership Fees. Between 2016 and 2021, the organisation has succeeded in more than doubling our restricted (grant) income, allowing us to deliver a wider variety of programming to the Movement.


Over the last 12 years (2010-2021) WAGGGS has had annual unrestricted deficit totalling £5.26m. This is an average deficit of £438k per annum.

This deficit has been funded from WAGGGS’s reserves. Following a reclassification of OBPS designated funds in 2017, WAGGGS had £6.19m in reserves which has fallen to £3.28m by the end of 2021. In more recent years WAGGGS has worked to significantly reduce its unrestricted expenditure in line with income reduction. A 2019 redesign to bring spend in line with income was frustrated by the global pandemic forcing the organisation to continue to draw down on its reserves to a lesser extent – £336k in 2020 and £116k in 2021. The 2022 energy, cost of living and inflation crisis means WAGGGS will have made a further unrestricted deficit. This means that we are in a structural deficit situation that must be reversed.


Since the pandemic, membership numbers globally have fallen from a high of 10.2m in 2020 to 8.2m in 2021. The resultant effect of this is that Membership Fees have dropped by 20% (£350k approx.) in the same period with WAGGGS receiving £1.3m in 2021.


The WAGGGS triennial strategies (2018-20, 2021-23), have required a significant additional activity in support of the Movement well beyond that covered by the Membership Fees – predominantly in capacity building, volunteer engagement, support to MOs and the regions, communications and governance. In 2021, in a period of unprecedented pressure on MOs, WAGGGS allocated over £3m of unrestricted funds towards activity for Member Organisations; under half was covered by Membership Fees (£1.3m). This deficit has been covered partially by fundraising and partially by drawing down from reserves.


Looking forward, against a background of an energy, cost of living and inflationary crisis, we are also seeing a changing fundraising landscape. WAGGGS has had success in attracting grants from corporates, foundations and trusts allowing it to increase its programmatic offer. However, following the pandemic many funders are reassessing and pivoting their social investments and these grants contribute very little to unrestricted costs. Our donations from long standing supporters, which form the bulk of our unrestricted income, grow annually but slowly.


▶ We will prioritise difficult conversations and base our strategy on our reality

We have some important decisions to make including the future size, shape, offer and operating model of the organisation, the place of World Centres and what we as WAGGGS offer both to the Movement as a whole and to each and every Member Organisation. As we develop our six-year strategy we need to be conscious of our financial situation, so in this we will make space to have robust conversations about prioritisation and matching what we offer to our income. We will be evidence based in our approach to this work, looking at the impact Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting has on girls and young women and developing an offer with the greatest potential impact for our members. We will ensure we include intergenerational dialogue in these difficult decisions. This strategy must be based on the understanding that change is required if we are to sustainably deliver our wider work towards Compass. 


3️⃣ Challenges facing the Movement

One of the strengths of our Movement is its diversity - Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting (GG & GS) is delivered in our 152 Member Organisations on vastly different scales, across different cultures, with different models. We have school-based GG & GS, community based GG & GS, co-ed SAGNOs, girl-only MOs. Our MO diversity ensures Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting is for each and every girl, however it also poses challenges for WAGGGS when developing an offer that is universally beneficial.


The Member Organisations engagement surveys highlighted four common challenges affecting MOs which were further explored at the Regional Conferences: recruitment and retention, becoming girl-led, raising profile and international connections. However, they also highlighted that there are huge variations across the Movement in relation to capacity support needs, key challenges, strategic priorities and take-up of WAGGGS's services. Although we can pick out common themes the picture is very different Region to Region, MO to MO.


In addition, the past few years have shown that the world in which we live is unpredictable and we must be ready to help our MOs rapidly respond to change. 


We will focus on outcomes and approach

Recognising that there is no ‘one size fits all’, WAGGGS's strategy will be one that is flexible and able to respond to the diversity of the Movement with an adaptable offer that enables each and every Member Organisation to benefit – albeit in different ways and perhaps at different times. We know that our offer can be wide-ranging, but we also know that we need to prioritise taking account of the most pressing needs at the time. We can’t deliver everything to every MO at the same time.


Through adopting a high-level strategy that moves away from language of deliverables to language of outcomes and approach, we can be agile to select the outputs and activities from our wide-ranging offer to suit the needs of different MOs and the changing needs of our Movement. We will do this by returning to the 12-6-3 model of planning agreed in 2018. In this six-year strategy, you will not see detailed lists of activities and multiple KPIs but instead our overarching approach to delivering on Compass as well as an intentionally broad picture of what success looks like if we achieve these outcomes.


Following approval at the 38th World Conference of this strategy, WAGGGS will develop a three-year action plan that responds to the priorities identified by MOs and through further engagement with girls and young women. The Action Plan, approved by the World Board, will detail what we will deliver within the strategy, our Key Performance Indicators and be adapted on an annual basis based on context and current realities of the Movement and the world. 


Our 2024-2029 strategy




By 2029 WAGGGS will be operationally and financially sustainable contributing effectively to Compass 2032 and supporting our diverse Member Organisations in their contributions to the Compass vision.

We will get to this goal by achieving the following OUTCOMES:

🎯 OUTCOME 1: WAGGGS Global Team has a fit-for purpose model that is financially and operationally sustainable and able to provide an offer that meets the different needs of its Member Organisations


Success looks like: 

👉 Clear role and offer to Member Organisations with respect to Compass 32, reflective of their differing needs.

👉 A financially sustainable model for the organisation where the services that WAGGGS offers and delivers to the Movement match income and resources 

👉 Flexible approaches to working that are resilient and adaptable to a changing environment

👉 Effective leadership through strong management, governance and spaces for girls and young women to lead

👉 A strong brand and profile – a leading voice on issues affecting girls and young women

👉 Effective systems and processes that enable us to measure our contribution to Compass 32 and the impact of Girl Guiding Girl Scouting

📌 Prioritising Outcome 1: In order for us to achieve Outcomes 2 and 3, and make progress towards Compass, it is vital that we work quickly on Outcome 1 within the first half of this strategy period and ensure WAGGGS is sustainable in it’s shape, size and offer. WAGGGS will start this work as soon as possible, engaging MOs and young women in the process

🎯 OUTCOME 2: WAGGGS Global Team is contributing directly to the Compass 2032 vision for the Movement


Success looks like: 

👉 A clear understanding of what it means to be girl-led linked to meaningful participation of girls and young women and strong intergenerational partnerships 

👉 Girls are connecting through accessing international experiences 

👉 Girls across the Movement are accessing opportunities to build their leadership skills and take action on issues that they care about 

👉 Girls’ voices are being amplified and affecting positive change towards gender equality 

🎯 OUTCOME 3: WAGGGS Global Team is supporting Member Organisations to deliver their own strategies to contribute to the Compass vision for the Movement


Success looks like: 

👉 Member Organisations are thriving; able to retain and grow their membership of girls and leaders and be financially sustainable

👉 Member Organisations deliver a high-quality Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting experience that is relevant and exciting for members and follows WAGGGS’ non-formal education methodology

👉 Member Organisations have a strong understanding of, and demonstrate meaningful participation of girls and young women 

👉 Member Organisations actively benefit from being a part of, and contribute to, a connected global Movement 

Our Approach

How we work


🧭 How we directly contribute to Compass 32:

  • We model best practice in being girl- led through engaging more young people in the way we work and our operations.
  • We offer opportunities for girls and young women to lead and take action on issues they care about
  • We offer opportunities for girls and young women to connect and have international experiences, including through our World Centres
  • We use our position to gather data on and amplify the voices of girls and young women
  • We leverage our brand to increase awareness and understanding of the value of the Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting experience 

👩‍💻 How we support Member Organisations (MO) to deliver on Compass:  

  • We build MO capacity to ensure they are thriving and growing
  • We provide expertise and thought leadership in non-formal education, leadership and meaningful youth participation helping MOs to become girl- led
  • We create spaces for Compass conversations across the Movement, connect MOs and build a community of practice on key topics to draw from MO strengths
  • We facilitate the effective governance of the Movement
  • We fundraise and support our members to build partnerships to sustain their work 

Next steps 


WAGGGS will develop the 2024-2029 strategy through a process of consultation with Member Organisations and young women in the lead up to World Conference in July 2023. 


The timeline is as follows:

📅 19 January 2023: Circulation of the first high-level draft of the WAGGGS Global Strategy 2024-2029 to MOs, staff and young women's focus group. 


👉 Mid-January - early February 2023: Consultations with staff (30/31 Jan), MOs (28/29 Jan) and young women's focus group (4/5 Feb) 

Member Organisation (MO) consultation will involve a sense check of the high level outcomes, and discussion on what is currently most useful for MOs of our offer to help develop our 3-year action plan. MOs are invited to bring 4 participants - 2 of whom should be young women. A separate break out space will be available for discussion with young women from the MO. 


📅 12 March 2023: Circulation of the second draft of the WAGGGS Global Strategy 2024-2029 along with a summary of how we have responded to the feedback received on the first draft.

👉 12-31 March 2023: Member Organisation (MO) consultation will involve a sense check of the high level outcomes, and discussion on what is currently most useful for MOs of our offer to help develop our 3-year action plan. MOs are invited to bring 4 participants - 2 of whom should be young women. A separate break out space will be available for discussion with young women from the MO. 


📅 26 May 2023: Final version of the WAGGGS Global Strategy 2024-2029 circulated to Member Organisations.

👉 26-31 July 2023: Adoption of the WAGGGS Global Strategy 2024-2029 at the 38th World Conference.


📚 Glossary 

12-6-3 model 

The core elements of the “12-6-3” cycle are:

  • Compass 2032: a broad, aspirational 12-year vision for the Girl Guide and Girl Scout Movement. It can be used to set priorities, identify what needs attention, and strengthen our strategies.
  • WAGGGS Global Team Strategy: a six-year strategy for the WAGGGS Global Team, which identifies the core focus areas that the Global Team, which includes the Regions, will deliver in support of Compass 2032 and to keep Member Organisations united, thriving and growing.
  • Three year rolling action plan: the activities we will deliver at global and regional levels to implement the WAGGGS Global Team Strategy. The three-year rolling action plan is approved by the World Board 
Compass 32 

Compass 2032 is the new vision statement for the Girl Guide and Girl Scout Movement: an equal world where all girls can thrive. 

It will act as a pointer along the path that every Member Organisation and member of the WAGGGS Global Team will travel from 2021 to 2032: By 2032 we will be a girl-led Movement where every and any girl feels confident to lead and empowered to create a better world together. 

Girl-led  When we talk about a “girl-led” Movement, we are describing a Movement by, and for, girls and young women. Such a Movement provides genuine opportunities for shared intergenerational leadership, where girls of all ages have space to practice leadership, hold leadership roles, and play a meaningful role in decision making at all levels. 
MO  Member Organisation – meaning all WAGGGS Member Organisations across each of the five Regions. 
Operational and financial sustainability For the purposes of this strategy WAGGGS is referring to its long-term operational effectiveness in terms of governance and physical sites, and its financial viability.
Reserves Reserves (sometimes referred to as Free Reserves) are those funds held by the charity, excluding fixed assets (e.g. a building), which can be freely used to support the charitable purposes. The reserves are normally held back to ensure the charity has the means to continue it’s operations should there be an unforeseen event (e.g. a dramatic drop in income). WAGGGS’ audited accounts for 2021 showed that the organisation had £3.3m in reserves at 31 December 2021. 
Restricted income  Income that must be spent on a specific (or restricted) use, as defined by its donor. For instance, a grant may be received by WAGGGS to deliver a specific theme of work. These funds can only be used in pursuant of this work. There are legal restrictions on how this income is managed. 
Unrestricted income This is income which can be used by the charity in pursuit of its charitable purpose. In pursuit of this, the charity overseen by its Board can decide where to spend these funds in the delivery of its charitable purpose.
WAGGGS Global Team The WAGGGS Global Team is the central ‘business organisation’ part of WAGGGS used to manage the affairs of the organisation and deliver the WAGGGS Strategy. It includes all staff and volunteers engaged by WAGGGS, both governance and implementation, and at a region and world level.