Dr Cindy Kerawalla, lecturer in Childhood and Youth Studies at the OU’s Faculty of Education and Language Studies, worked with Girl Guides in Newport Pagnell, near Milton Keynes, to develop and evaluate a new badge which has just been adapted by Girlguiding UK.
The Guide Go For It! badge called Streets Ahead was initially awarded to Guides in Newport Pagnell who researched issues of relevance to them. Their research questions included: Do you want a country park and what do you want in it? Should there be a park for older children in our area? What do the police do for us and what do we know about them? Do people want new and better shops in our town? What do people think about hospital hygiene and food?
The Guides designed their own questionnaires for completion by members of their community and created posters and videos around these themes to illustrate what they found out.
With the roll out of the badge nationally, these activities are now available to Girl Guides all over the UK.
Commenting on the importance of this initiative, Dr Kerawalla said: “Citizenship features highly on the Girl Guiding agenda and the Streets Ahead badge activities give young people an opportunity to learn valuable empirical research skills whilst engaging with their local communities.
"Girl Guides can learn how to gather and analyse community opinion on a topic they feel strongly about and, if they choose, they can present their evidence to local representatives such as an MP or councillor with a view to exploring possibilities for change. These skills empower young people to realise their potential roles as citizens in their local communities.”