The global headquarters of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGS) movement is located in the United Kingdom, but the heart of its activities in solar cooking is in California, USA, where the foremost advocate for solar cooking activities within the WAGGS network, Ms.Barby Pulliam, lives. This tireless worker has conducted workshops literally around the world, on several continents and to hundreds of guide/scout leaders and leaders of other non-governmental groups at the same time.
WAGGS is an organization that has 100,000 volunteers, and perhaps ten million girl guides/scouts in the 70 countries where it is active. The organization is divided into five regions, is managed by a 17-person board, and holds a world meeting every fourth year, moving from continent to continent. The organization's mission is clearly stated: service to girls and young women. Programs employ the following principles: a value base, peer education (learning from one another), experiential learning (learning from doing) and volunteer leadership.
Ms. Pulliam has created training guides, cookbooks, CDs, Power Point presentations, and other educational materials on solar cooking. In the early years of her work, she principally conducted workshops for new cooks; more recently she has concentrated on training others to be the trainers of new solar cooks. A detailed outline for a 5-day training course for trainers is available for leaders of scout groups and other organizations. More recently, Ms.Pulliam (sometimes in concert with Rotary activities) has been promoting what is known as the "Integrated Cooking Method". The approach teaches households how to create a complete cooking system, using a fuel-efficient stove (for times of rain or darkness), a haybox or retained heat cooker, and a solar cooker. Ms. Pulliam is an energetic trainer whose training is always accompanied by songs and exercises, in good Scout tradition.
To date, she has conducted workshops in over 20 countries, with an estimated thousand attendees. The overwhelming bulk of her work has been personally supported, at a very considerable cost to her. The WAGGS organization, in turn, has cooperated in the preparation and promotion of a badge in solar cooking for scouts and guides, as well as commitment to the programs of Ms. Pulliam.
Ms. Pulliam has, because of limited finances, been unable to conduct full-scale evaluations of the consequences of her very considerable volunteer effort. Her energy and enthusiasm for the cause of solar cooking is noteworthy and it is unfortunate that more adequate documentation of the lasting consequences of her work is not available. Her work in this area, dating to the early 1990s has been continuous and well integrated with WAGGS activities. The impact on girls and young women may well be considerable and a careful evaluation is clearly called for.
World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts
World Bureau, Olave Centre
12c Lyndhurst Road
London, NW3 5PQ
Tel: +44 (0)20 7794 1181
Fax: +44 (0)20 7431 3764