Scouting's significant role in the development of girls and young women in Saudi Arabia
Marking the International Day of the Girl on 11 October 2020, Abeer Hamed Baalousha, a female Scout Leader from Saudi Arabia shares her experience with Scouting and the impact it is having on young women and girls in her country:
We know that women have remarkable academic, scientific and practical capabilities, which is why it makes me deeply happy to see that girls and young women are being empowered through Scouting, and empowered to volunteer in Scouting to grow the Scout Movement across our country.
Being involved in Scouting has had incredible effects on volunteers and Scouts. As Scout Leaders, we have been trained to manage teams, organise Scout camps and become qualified leaders for our Scout groups and be role models for girls.
As a female Scout Leader for girls in the Saudi Arabia Scout Association, I have seen the great effect that Scouting can have on women and the doors it can open for them at any age.
Our Kingdom’s development strategy, Vision 2030, has placed women to play a vital role to achieve great successes on regional and global levels and continues to empower them to excel and make a distinct imprint in many fields and industries.
When HH Princess Sama Al Saud was appointed as the Chair of the Saudi Girl Scouts, she also formed the Saudi Girl Scouts Committee to ensure we are actively supporting and empowering young women and girls to be part of our national Scouting programme.
Today, we have multiple female Scout groups across the country and it makes me very proud to see the increased demand from females to join the Saudi Arabia Scout Association as well as the Girl Scouts Committee, and seeing the support for this on many levels.
Our association is working on growing the number of girls in Scouting by encouraging female students in schools, universities, technical colleges to join Scouting, to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, that also emphasises the role of volunteerism.
My own experience has been a memorable one that I enjoy, as our group has led many social and environmental initiatives and continued to be active during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stepping up during the pandemic has significantly developed the skills among the girls as they learned the meaning of service, helping their community, and making their own decisions according to their abilities and preferences.
It makes me incredibly proud to witness the progress that young women have made in Scouting in my country, including the spirit of volunteering, and hoping that we continue excelling at everything we do and reach more girls through our movement.