Girlguiding leader heading to Brazil for UN conference

A GIRLGUIDING leader is preparing for the trip of a lifetime next month when she is to travel to Brazil for a United Nations conference.

Maggie Simmons, 23, of Birch Way, St Leonards, has been chosen to join a delegation sent by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro (Rio+20).

The former Helenswood student has been involved in Girlguiding since the age of six, and has recently completed a Masters degree in Environmental Sustainability.

She is currently a leader with the 13th St Leonards Rainbows and Brownies, and a member of Vision Rangers.

She said: “I am very honoured to have been selected by WAGGGS to be a member of their youth delegation to Rio+20.

“We will be running side-events, activities, discussions and giving media interviews in the run-up to the conference, to raise awareness of the issues of women and the environment.

“Women are disproportionately impacted by climate change in their day-to-day lives. In fact, many of our delegates will have been negatively affected by environmental changes.

“WAGGGS provides informal education and leadership skills to encourage young women to become agents of change around the world.”

Maggie will join 23 other delegates from 15 countries at the conference, all of whom will lobby decision-makers on behalf of girls and young women around the world to take strong and decisive action on climate change.

She said of the Girlguiding movement: “We are quite a force to be reckoned with.”

Last week, ahead of the conference, Maggie spoke at the UN Global Compact UK 2nd Quarterly Meeting on Gender and the Environment in London.