IGG awarded European Citizens’ Prize

We were thrilled to hear that Irish Girl Guides (IGG) has been chosen to receive the European Citizens’ Prize in recognition of our achievements in promoting awareness of the European Union (EU).

Since launching our Europe badge in partnership with European Movement Ireland (EMI) on Europe Day (9 May) 2019, 2,957 of our youth members have earned a Europe badge.

To earn the badge, girls and young women take part in age-appropriate activities that help them gain an understanding of the EU and how it affects the lives of Irish citizens.

The youngest members (Ladybirds aged 5-7) learn to recognise the EU flag, learn greeting customs from other EU countries and make rubbings of Euro coins. Brownies (aged 7-10) learn about other cultures and the role of MEPs while Guides (aged 10-14) learn about the formation of the EU and the advantages of being an EU member. They also celebrate international cultural festivals and invite politicians to talk to them about the EU.

The European Citizens’ Prize is given to organisations and individuals around Europe that contribute to European cooperation and the promotion of common values.

Jenny Gannon, IGG’s Programme and Training Commissioner, said, “We are thrilled to win a European Citizens’ Prize. We were delighted to get the opportunity to work with European Movement Ireland when putting the criteria and resources together for the Europe Badge, so a big thank you to them. The Europe Badge is a welcome addition as members of all ages get the opportunity to learn more about the European community they belong to, while encouraging them to be empowered and take action in the European movement.”

“We in IGG strive to develop programmes that are responsive to our girls’ needs and the needs of our society. We have developed mutually beneficial partnerships with a number of organisations in recent years, including EMI, and we are always on the lookout for partners to develop badges with that will add to the depth and breadth of our programme.”

Jillian van Turnhout, a volunteer with IGG and former Chief Commissioner as well as former Vice Chair of EMI, said, “I am ecstatic the work of Irish Girl Guides’ volunteer leaders and girls to earn the Europe Badge has been recognised through the awarding of the European Citizens’ Prize. From its launch, the leaders and girls have demonstrated their quest to learn more about the European Union, and they have clearly shown they wish to influence and shape the European project.”

Noelle O’Connell, CEO of EM Ireland and Vice President of European Movement International, said, ‘Almost 3,000 Irish Girl Guides’ members from age five-plus have gained Europe badges and learnt about our shared European home and Ireland’s EU journey. It is a great tribute and testimony to their hard work and accomplishments that it is being recognised by the European Parliament through the awarding of the European Citizens’ Prize. EM Ireland was delighted to partner with the Irish Girl Guides in helping so many girls and young women influence Ireland’s European project.”

Deirdre Finlay, member of the Irish national jury for the 2020 European Citizens’ Prize, said, “The 2020 entrants for the European Citizens’ Prize from Ireland were of a very high standard, representing the realities of EU citizens in current times. I am delighted to see the Irish Girl Guides Association and Family Carers Ireland announced as winners and wish them continued success in their work.”