When the United Nations (UN) and Scouting work together

Many successful efforts have been made to integrate international solidarity, peace, environmental, and sustainable development educations into our Scout programmes. We are actively and constructively working to Create a Better World.

In September 2000, building on a decade of major UN conferences and summits, world leaders came together at the UN Headquarters in New York to adopt the United Nations Millennium Declaration. This declaration committed their nations to a new global partnership intended to reduce extreme poverty. It set out a series of eight, time-bound targets ‒ the millennium development goals (MDGs) ‒ with a deadline of 2015.

In 2004, appreciative of its partnership with the UN, the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) signed an agreement with the UN to contribute actively to the MDG campaign. The Scouts of the World Award (SW Award) was launched to encourage thousands of Scouts and non-Scouts to adopt world citizenship. It offers an educational framework to understand a global challenge and run a voluntary service, long- term development project to act on this challenge at local level. While the purpose of the award fundamentally remains educational, it also seeks to impact society.

In 2015, the UN adopted the sustainable development goals (SDGs): 17 new ambitious goals for the world to achieve by 2030. Following its initial purpose, the Scouts of the World Award now encourages youth to take on projects that tackle these 17 new global issues and show how they helping achieve.

For more information on the global goals, you can visit: https://www.globalgoals.org/
For more information on the UN-WOSM partnership, have a look at: https://www.scout.org/un

The Scout of the World Award

Fields for Action

From the SDGs, WOSM chose three areas to focus on with the SW Award: development, peace, and the environment. These three fields for action frame the projects run by Scouts and non-Scouts pursuing the SW Award.

1) Development – change, growth, or improvement over a period of time.
Today, the concept of a development approach tends to over-emphasise short- term priorities at the expense of the long-term development of communities and countries. Health, education, respect for human rights, and the sustainable use of natural resources are as important as economic growth when it comes to development matters. World citizens must work together to solve issues arising in these fields.

2) Peace – a situation in which there is no war between countries or groups.
So much can and must be done to build a culture of peace, to ght against prejudices and racism, to mediate tense situations and resolve con ict, to promote intercultural understanding, and to create dialogue. As world citizens, Scouts and non-Scouts can take action for peace in their communities and abroad.

3) Environment – the natural world including land, water, air, plants, and animals especially considered as something that is affected by human activity.
Climate change is expected to hit developing countries the hardest. Its effects are rising temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, rising sea levels, and more frequent weather-related disasters. Addressing climate change requires unprecedented global cooperation across borders.

When addressing these challenges, social, economic, political, environmental, technological, and cultural trends have to be taken into account. Educational values have also changed. No educational programme focusing exclusively on national history and culture can claim to prepare young people to play an active role in an increasingly interdependent world. No educational programme based on competition and individualism can claim to prepare young people for the cooperative efforts needed to tackle global issues. Scouting should prepare you to face these challenges.

Who is it for?

The SW Award is designed for you, if you are between the age of 15 and 26, regardless of whether or not you are a Scout. This is the age range in which you are preparing to carry out adult roles and nd your place in society. The programme offers you the opportunity to acquire the knowledge, skills, and values needed to become a world citizen: someone who can play an active role in making the world a better place, starting with your local community.

What are the aims of the SW Award Programme?

  • To encourage your stronger involvement in the development of society by giving you the knowledge, skills, motivation, and opportunities to face today’s global challenges.
  • To recognise and promote your voluntary service project in the fields of development, peace, and the environment. These take the form of long-term development projects (with a long-term vision) run individually or by a team.
  • To encourage National Scout Organizations (NSOs) to develop more educational opportunities to become world citizens. These initiatives will open up new fields of action and provide genuine responsibility, through partnerships with other key players in civil society. They will reinforce community service and international cooperation.

How does it work?


The SW Award Programme is simple and flexible with a clear educational process. 


  • 1) First, you need to contact your NSO SW Award National Coordinator who will help you start to explore one or more of the global challenges facing today’s world. These challenges relate to one or more of the elds for action: development, peace, and/or the environment. This initial phase of exploration ‒ SW Award Discovery ‒ lasts for a few days. It will usually be conducted on an SW Award Base or another appropriate site with a team of other young people. At the end of the SW Discovery, you will have begun to explore the challenges and will have started to draft your project to tackle the issue(s) at stake in your chosen community.
  • 2) After completing the SW Discovery, you will be given an SW Award Passport to keep track of the work you are doing. You will then further plan and run the SW Award Voluntary Service you started planning during the SW Discovery. Your project may evolve and change over its planning process, so the first draft you made during your Discovery is not binding. This project usually lasts around two weeks (a minimum of 80 working hours).
  • 3) Once your project is done, you will rst evaluate it alone (or as part of a team) and then with the SW Award Tutor (a member of the SW Award Team who followed your project from the beginning).
  • 4) If your experience ts the criteria set for the SW Award, the SW Award National Coordinator will grant you membership of the SW Award Network. You will need to submit a brief report on your project to the SW Award Network on scout.org.
  • 5) Finally, on joining the Network, you will now be awarded the SW Award. You will receive the SW Award badge and/or pin and the SW Award certi cate. You can also continue to contribute further to the development of the SW Award Programme and its causes. Congrats!
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