Betty Makoni, Founder and Director of Girl Child Network (GCN) Zimbabwe is also Chief Executive Officer of Girl Child Network World Wide, an organization that champions the rights of the girl child globally.
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Since 1999, Betty has mobilized over 300,000 girls to be empowered so that they reach their full potential. The Girl Child Empowerment Model she came up with has since been replicated in many parts of the world and it is spreading like veld fire. Betty has mobilized financial resources to build four Girls Empowerment Villages, a unique model that provides safe shelter and healing for sexually abused girls. Today, over 35,000 sexually abused girls have been empowered and rehabilitated through family, school and in the community.
A survivor of rape at age six and orphaned at nine, Betty fought for her education and continues to do the same for girls in similar circumstances, being the consistent voice reminding policy makers and leaders to change attitudes and laws that are detrimental to the growth and development of the girl child.
A passionate speaker with worldwide acclaim, Betty is also a mentor, coach and trainer on gender equality, girls’ rights and an inspiration to young women, influencing and empowering thousands.
She is renowned for her innovative, proactive and preventative girl child empowerment programmes which today directly benefit over 45 000 girls. From just one Girls’ Club at Zengeza 1 High School, Zimbabwe, GCN now has 700 clubs in ten provinces of Zimbabwe. Betty has implemented innovative strategies directly eliminating gender-based violence and the harmful cultural practices that fuel the spread of HIV and AIDS among girls .
Betty is the founder of Ray of Hope–Network, an organization for rape and domestic violence survivors and is featured in the bestselling book, Women Who Light the Dark, by Paola Gianturco. She has received eighteen national and global awards, including the CNN 2009 Heroes award for protection of the powerless, the Decade Global Child Rights award alongside Nelson Mandela and Graca Machel, the coveted United Nations Red Ribbon award, Ginetta Segan – Amnesty International award, Zimbabwe National Contribution award and two Global Children`s awards. Betty Makoni is an Ashoka fellow from Zimbabwe.