Girlguiding Scotland member, Aine Byers, 14, has been elected as the organisation’s next Member of Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYP), advocating on behalf of Girlguiding Scotland’s 40,000 young members to make sure their voices are heard at the national level. She will be joined by other new MSYP, Martha Dickie from Linlithgow.
Aine only recently joined Girlguiding Scotland as a young leader and volunteers at her local Brownie unit in Giffnock. She is excited for this next stage of her Girlguiding journey, working towards improving pathways for accessible education and youth work for disabled youth, as well as tackling gender-based prejudices and stereotypes that lead to violence against girls and women.
“I am so honoured to have been elected for Scottish Youth Parliament, especially as a GGS represent. I hope to make meaningful change for both girls in Girlguiding and young women across Scotland during my time as a MSYP and I am excited to get started”, said Aine.
Scottish Youth Parliament is the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people, made up of 150 young people aged 14-25. Its purpose is to bring the voices of young people to decision makers and design innovation, youth-led campaigns to create tangible change across the country. National campaigns have included improving young people’s knowledge of and access to the right to food, their experiences on public transport, and urging Scottish Parliament to adopt a rights-based approach to education reform.
Previously, Girlguiding Scotland’s MSYP’s have submitted, and passed, motions calling on the Scottish Government to increase funding to support outdoor education, for local authorities and businesses to reduce plastic consumption, and for decision makers and communities to work together to eliminate gender-based violence in public areas.
Scottish Chief Commissioner, Elaine, said “it is a brilliant achievement to be elected as our next Member of Scottish Youth Parliament, and Aine should be very proud of all the hard work and commitment she demonstrated throughout the election process. It will be an excellent opportunity for her personal development and growth, and I know that Aine will be an effective ambassador for Girlguiding Scotland.”
To be elected, Aine attended a series of training sessions on advocacy and activism, understanding the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), and campaigning. Following on from this, Aine developed her own election campaign both online and offline, talking to other young members and units about the policies she wanted to put forward and how she could best represent her peers. The voting took place over 2 weeks in November.
Now elected, Aine hopes to support more young people in decision making when it comes to the development of local communities and youth organisations, whilst Girlguiding Scotland and SYP will continue to support her development through more in-depth training sessions on presentations, interviews, and conducting consultations with members.
For more information on Girlguiding Scotland’s involvement in Scottish Youth Parliament, visit https://www.girlguidingscotland.org.uk/girls-taking-action/girls-speak-out/#syp