Scaling up the growth of Scouting across India for more young people

4 minutes
Girl Scouts in India in the Outdoors

As Scouting continues to adapt to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, National Scout Organizations around the world are discovering ways to maintain and grow their membership. 

The Bharat Scouts and Guides in India are a shining example of an organisation, that despite the challenges of the global health crisis, is working to engage even more young people and volunteers in Scouting by establishing a clear and actionable growth strategy for their whole organisation. 

India is currently home to a fifth of the world’s youth, and more than half of the country’s 1.3 billion people are below the age of 25, representing a sizeable opportunity to equip the next generation of young women and men with the skills needed to be active global citizens. 

Already this growth effort is underway thanks to a project being implemented by the Bharat Scouts and Guides with the generous and ongoing support from Alwaleed Philanthropies, a key partner of World Scouting and the World Scout Foundation. 

The project is rolling out in places such as Chennai, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Jaipur, Benguluru, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Shimla, Dehradun, Raipur and other communities to expand the number of young people involved in Scouting from 3.7 million to more than 6 million in the next five years. 

Indian Scouts celebrating at a Jamboree

“We need to work hard to reach all corners of the country with Scouting. Scouting can only change our nation positively,” said Arup Sarkar, Project Manager for the Bharat Scouts and Guides. “We have defined a realistic goal and developed our action plan for growth. We hope, after a few years, to further expand Scouting in schools and communities.” 

Key to the success of achieving membership growth for the Bharat Scouts and Guides is having a clear, actionable strategy with achievable targets that could be measure. With support for growth via the WOSM Services Platform — developed with support from the World Scout Foundation — the Scouts have transformed their national growth strategy into a collective call to action with buy-in from leadership and Scouts.

The first phase in 2020 saw the rollout of the strategy with a focus on coordination efforts, including the establishment of State growth coordinators in eight focal States across India — Assam, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh — and the development of a national growth unit to provide day-to-day monitoring and support. The Scouts trained 65 facilitators and 13,744 Scout leaders in the first year and a half, opening 10,918 units for 185,492 new Scouts and Guides to join Scouting.

Scouts in India supporting the local community

While the global COVID-19 pandemic stalled in-person Scout training and activities at various times last year, Scouting in India has continued to grow. Today, four more States have been included in the growth project — Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, and West Bengal — and work is ongoing to sustain and support the growth of Scouting and engagement of new Scouts. 

The National Scout Organization has run additional 100 growth coordinator training courses involving 5,000 new Scout Leaders, carried out a series of six online webinars for young people on skills development, and undertaken a review of their Youth Programme and existing training system for volunteer engagement and membership management.

“The coordination training enabled me to see the opportunity that we can create for many more young people in my State. It was important to understand that the membership growth is directly linked with our mission and the reason Scouting exists, said Kaushik Chatterjee, State Growth Coordinator in West Bengal, India. “Thanks to the training, we understand the diverse areas that contribute to growth and how we can create more outreach. Now with our new State growth plans we will make sure we provide possibilities for many more young people to benefit from Scouting.” 

The growth agenda has also positioned Scouting in India as an ideal partner to contribute to the national government’s efforts to extend education for all and expand Skill India as a key initiative to provide more young people with 21st century skills for the future. 

Scout in India supporting their communities

Related news

Read more
Read more
See all news