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Today’s theme was advocacy. We started with a role playing activity where we took sides on an issue. We had two leaders debating whether or not an amusement park should be built at the Teopanzolco pyramids (this was hypothetically of course). All other delegates took sides based on the criteria they were given (e.g. choose the side that represents your values, choose the side of whoever spoke first, choose the side that is the loudest). This activity taught us what is needed to influence others.
Next we watched the ‘Girl Effect’, a short video demonstrating how to convey a message in a way that will affect people’s decision-making.
After these introductory activities, we were introduced to the WAGGGS definition of advocacy. We had an interactive exercise where people stood up to agree and sat down to disagree about a situation being advocacy or not. For instance, simply producing flyers about your organization is not advocacy on its own, or participating in a training. The only situation that was considered advocacy was changing laws, policies, and holding politicians accountable to their promises of actions. This exercise was debated heavily because all of the situations needed clarification and everyone had a different interpretation. This debate was beneficial because by the end, everyone understood the WAGGGS’ definition of advocacy.
Girls for Girls project
Following this intense discussion, the facilitators introduced the ‘Girls for Girls’ project. This was an inspirational example of an advocacy project, showing all the steps required. This project was based on helping empower girls to attend school in Londiani, Kenya during their monthly periods. As a result of missing school a few days a month, many girls fell behind and dropped out. The bathrooms at the schools were shared with boys, and there was no privacy. Therefore, many girls were not comfortable going to school when they had their period. They raised money to teach the girls how to make reusuable pads that they could sell for income, and allow them to attend school during their periods. After hearing this inspirational testimony, we sang the song “I am one voice” together, which was an emotional experience for many of the participants.
For the rest of the morning, we wrote advocacy projects onto pieces of paper in the dining hall and discussed advocacy projects amongst each other.
In the afternoon, we broke into our co-operative project groups to further discuss our post-task. Following our break, we had two simultaneous sessions to choose from: advanced project management or coaching clinic.
At the end of this day of work, we celebrated with a Mexican Fiesta (Fiesta Mexicana) farewell party. Most people were dressed up and Mixcocalli had traditional decorations. We ate Mexican food, danced to a Mariachi band, and broke a piñata. We took a lot of pictures and videos of the entire celebration. Towards the end, Diana read a letter that she wrote to all of us and we had cake. The party continued with several activities, such as bingo, hot potato, and crafts. We also finally revealed our secret sisters.