Kate Jenkin Girl Guides Australia Voices Against Violence Interview
Girl Guides Australia is proud to announce Voices Against Violence, a non-formal learning program about gender based violence. The program is designed for Guides ranging from 5-25 years, and stands in solidarity with Girl Guides Australia's many friends tackling this issue world wide.
Voices against violence has been developed in partnership with UN women and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. It is a program that has been built in the Girl Guides method to be rolled out Australia wide with assistance from the Australian Government.
"We are delighted to receive $25,000 from Minister Cash and the Australian Government to support Girl Guides Australia set this program up for success. We have a great team of young women from across Australia who are working collaboratively to ensure that our Guides can access this program at a time and a place that suits them," said Velia Nicholls, Director of Girl Guides Australia and State Commissioner for Girl Guides Queensland.
Member of the National project Team and Girl Guide from NSW, Kate Jenkin is excited about the program's roll out and the benefit she can see Voices against Violence will have for girls and young women.
"Voices against Violence is an innovative program that provides guides the opportunity to work through topics such as being safe in our community, building assertive communication skills, and learning about the root causes of gender based violence in our community," Kate said.
Girl Guides Australia is committed to working alongside other organisations tackling the issues around gender based violence and looks forward to future collaborations.
"We know that our work is part of a wider range of activities that many of Girl Guides Australia's friends in the community are undertaking right now," said Velia.
"We will be establishing partnerships with appropriate organisations working in the field of gender based violence, to assist our girls and young women to build their knowledge on the resources and information available in their communities and how they can take action to make a difference," Velia said.
Interview with Kate Jenkin
Question: What is the Voices Against Violence program?
Kate Jenkin: Voices Against Violence is an interactive, child and youth centred programme designed to be delivered to both boys and girls aged 5-25. It has been developed in partnership with UN Women and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS).
Question: Why have Girl Guides Australia introduced this program?
Kate Jenkin: Girl Guides are trained to take action – from a very early age Girl Guides are part of a program and range of activities that actually teaches them that they can make a difference in their community and in their own lives. Right now, the country is facing real issues when it comes domestic and gender based violence, and, naturally Girl Guides ask, well what can we do? How can we contribute – and this is why we are introducing this program. But we are not the only ones! Girl Guides is part of a world wide movement – we have 10million friends across the world in 146 countries and we are proud to say that many of our friends overseas are also implementing the program. We have introduced this to live our mission – to empower our girls and young women to grow into confident, self respecting, responsible community members.
Question: What's involved in the Voices Against Violence program?
Kate Jenkin: The program is delivered using non formal education and will take participants through the various aged appropriate topics.
Topics include identifying what it means to be safe, and learning about what safe spaces may exist in your local area. Other topics include getting girls to start to become aware about how there are gender stereotypes that exist and that boys and girls don't have to have certain roles and certain jobs in our community just because they are a boy, or a girl. For our older girls and young women we really start to get them to engage more broadly – the program asks them to identify resources and connections int eh community that can assist with gender based violence. Also, for the young women the program actually gets them to go out and investigate some of the key issues in gender based violence such as FGM and funding and resources to support the community.
Question: What is a -non-formal learning program'?
Kate Jenkin: In too words – NOT SCHOOL! No seriously, non-formal learning for guides is learning that is girl led, experiential, in small groups, where the Guides take the lead in their own development. It basically means that we don't have our Leaders (volunteers who lead the units) 'telling" our Guides what to do or what they should learn. They support and coach the guides to discover their own capability and learning … Our founder, Robert Baden Powell always emphasised the role of fun in learning – and at Guides we have a lot of fun. But, its not entertainment! We use the fun in non-formal learning as a 'sugar pill" for education.
Question: What are you most interested in learning about in the Voices Against Violence program?
Kate Jenkin: I am excited to deliver this program to our members and the wider community, I have completed training to be a facilitator and found the curriculum to be excellent and our members will relate to it well.
Question: How will the Voices Against Violence program benefit Girl Guides Australia members?
Kate Jenkin: It will benefit our members and the wider community by empowering those who take part to speak out and take action on gendered base violence. Like a lot of Girl Guide programs, it will also provide a strong foundation and context for them to discover what other learning they can do in the area. The real legacy of programs such as this is that we introduce key concepts and provide safe contexts to develop understanding of issues of concern. For our members the program will get them to engage and learn more about a part of our community that really is tricky and difficult to think about – it will create agency and a sense that they can make a difference. Very empowering!
Question: What types of topics will be covered in the Voices Against Violence program?
Kate Jenkin: The topics are age appropriate and range from identifying different forms or violence, being safe in ones community, building assertive communication skills and learning about the root causes of gender based violence.
Question: What other programs does Girl Guides Australia offer?
Kate Jenkin: Girl Guides Australia offers fantastic programs for girls and young women. Some of these include our Free Being Me program which is around positive body image. But as we are a girl led organisation so if the guides have an interest in a particular area such as science and technolgy, the weekly unit program will incorporate that. Outdoors is a huge part of our program as well and we have so many camps and other outdoor activities going on. In September there is a huge Jamboree in Queensland happening which will mean that thousands of guides from across Australia and the world will come together for 5 days. That Jamboree is called the Great Bunya Gathering – it is going to be great!
Question: What's a typical day like for someone involved in Girl Guides Australia?
Kate Jenkin: I am one of many thousand volunteers across Australia. All of our volunteer commitments vary but for myself I generally spend time meeting with other young women who are part of the Olave Program which is for members aged 18-30. We plan community service or advocacy projects, support guiding at a local, state or international level and take part in activities and trainings that are self development based such as public speaking, health and wellbeing, leadership and practical.
Image: Elizabeth Broderick, Sex Discrimination Commissioner
Bethany Green, Girl Guides Australia
Velia Nicholls, Director of Girl Guides Australia and State Commissioner of Girl Guides Queensland
Kate Jenkin, Girl Guides Australia
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash
Kit McMahon, CEO Girl Guides Australia
Interview by Brooke Hunter