BY: Isabella Iradukunda Elisabeth
The Rwanda Girl Guides Association (Association des Guides du Rwanda) on Monday, February 15, 2021 launched a a Charitable Guides week under the Kinyarwanda theme Twimakaze umuco w’amahoro twirinde, turinde n’abandi covid-19” roughly translated in English as “Promoting the Peace Culture and protect ourselves and others from COVID 19 “.
This week ends on February 22, 2021 and will mark the anniversary of Baden Powell and his wife Olave Powell, Founders of Guides Associations.
This day which is marked on 22nd of February every year, in Rwanda is preceded by a Girl Guides Week marked by charitable acts held in various parts of the country. The Executive Secretary of the Rwanda Girl Guides Association, Umulisa Pascaline, in an interview with TOP AFRICA NEWS reporter, said that in this case the guides around the world will conduct charitable activities as they did in previous years.
However, Umulisa added that this year they are adding ‘campaigns in various places to mobilize people to protect themselves from contracting Corona virus.
She said that even poor families who have been affected by the COVID 19 will be supported.
“It is normal for the Guides community to commemorate the annual Memorial Day of Baden Powell on the 22nd of February. It is a great day to celebrate Baden Powell’s birthday together with his wife Olave,” said Umulisa Pascaline.
She explained that: “In Rwanda we have our specialty before the D-day. We organise a week marked by charity activities, where members do charity activities where they live and help the orphans and help the widows.”
“However, this year due to the effects of covid-19 not much work will be done because it requires groups meeting and we want to protect and protect others covid-19” she noted
She further added that although COVID-19 continues to be a threat to the world, Rwandan guides will not cease to take part in acts of charity because it is their responsibility as part of the guides community.
“We want to protect ourselves and protect others, our charity acts will not stop because it is our mission here on Earth but where possible we will work with volunteers working against COVID 19, We want the guides to know the families that have been affected and help them.” She appealed to the other guides around Rwanda
She warned girls not to engage in misconduct, saying, “guard against temptation. COVID 19 is here today but will end. Let’s go through a difficult life but in the future, it will be better and COVID will stop disturbing the peace and our normal life.”
Safa Claudia, a member of the guides association in Rwanda says that even though the Corona virus has made it difficult for people to do their activities, she will use social media to spread the word of peace and charity.
Safa said, “I, as a girl, am ready to help the needy in my capacity…I will also do a campaign to promote peace as well as encourage people not to indulge into misconducts that can lead to the persistence of COVID 19,
“by posting messages on my platform I urge Rwandans to avoid conflict, and be the foundation of peace.”
Guiding in Rwanda began in 1962 with the help of members of the Guides Catholiques de Belgique. However, due to the lack of support from local leaders, interest in the Movement dwindled after independence later that year. In 1967, Guiding was revived as a branch of the Scout Association. The Girl Guides set up their own organization, the Fédération des Guides du Rwanda in 1972 with a small team responsible for administration.
The Federation was composed of two Associations, the Association des Guides Catholiques and the Association des Guides Protestantes. A proposal was made in 1974 to form a single association, and the first National Assembly accepted this idea two years later. In 1977, the Constitution was accepted at a general meeting, a permanent national team was appointed, and a work plan was drawn up. The Association des Guides du Rwanda (AGR) received official government recognition in 1980.
Unfortunately, many Rwandan girl guides were killed during the 1994 Tutsi Genocide, and obviously, the organization’s infrastructure was destroyed. Thanks to Pfadfinderinnenschaft St. Georg, the Guides Catholiques de Belgique and other partners, the AGR resumed its work in Rwanda in 1995. With the Peace Campaign (Campagne d’Action pour la Paix), the Guiding movement revived, reunited members and continued to empower girls, young women and the Rwandan community. In 2002, the AGR became a full member to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. It currently has more than 16,000 active members.483