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Girl Child Network Zimbabwe intensifies work to empower girls –Know us better

10 years ago | 23252 Views

Betty Makoni who has been named by Newsweek as one of the women to shake the world founded the organisation and took it to greater heights. Today the organisation has achieved so much in terms of mobilising communities, families, school and traditional leadership in empowering girls.


Girl Child Network Zimbabwe scored a first when it became the first organisation world over  to win the prestigious  United Nations Red Ribbon award world over at International HIV and AIDS conference in Toronto in 2006. The organisation continues to score a first in front line voluntary service to girls. Through its empowerment programs girls are being empowered to start self help projects and reach highest levels of leadership. The work of the organisation has needs to be fully supported so that it continues to benefit other girls in other countries.

Girl Child Network Zimbabwe work to be scaled up worldwide: Best Practice Model for empowering girls



The idea to come up with an organisation that champions the rights of the girl child in Zimbabwe was perceived in 1998 by Betty Makoni, the current director of GCN and her ten upper six students. She was deeply influenced by her experiences of abuse as a child and the many incidents of gender based violence in the community where she grew up. 

After listening to the often horrifying stories of girls, the founder members felt that something had to be done and in November 1998, they formed an informal discussion group, which became a safe space for girls to meet and talk freely about their problems and devise possible solutions. The club at Zengeza 1 High became the first girls’ empowerment club in Zimbabwe. As the word spread about the club, neighbouring schools subsequently adopted the idea and began forming their own clubs for girls, all with the objective of helping provide a safe forum where girls could meet, discuss challenges, offer each other support and devise solutions to their problems

On March 1999 the organisation was formally established with a specific mandate to a voice for the voiceless school aged girls between the ages of 0-18. It set out not only to advocate on their behalf, but also to empower the girls to speak out for themselves when their rights were being threatened. The beginning of its formal existence in 1999 marked the beginning of great things to come as the forgotten girl child found a channel to highlight her plight, interests, voice out sensitive aspirations and hopes in an effective manner.




GCN’s mission is to resocialise girls (0 -18 years old) so that they articulate their individual rights and strategically position themselves to take charge of their own empowerment.



We envision a society where girls are empowered and enjoy their rights with support from whole communities so as to walk in the fullness of their potential in line with the Millennium Development Goals.



To protect and promote the rights of the girl child and to support the economic, political, social and cultural empowerment of the girl child in order for her to assert those rights in the home, school and community.



GCN’s mandate comes from the girls of Zimbabwe themselves, who in joining girls’ empowerment clubs have signalled their desire for GCN to lead the holistic empowerment of the girl child and to act as a voice for vulnerable girl children through leadership training, confidence building, advocacy to legal access and for child friendly laws and policies, community education on child abuse and  the urgent need for eradication of harmful cultural practices that hinder the full physical, spiritual and emotional growth of the girl child.



·         To support individual transformation of girls through capacity building training in gender, HIV/AIDS, human rights, leadership and confidence building.

·         To ensure laws and policies that promote reproductive, economic, social and political rights of girls are in place and fully implemented so as to minimise gender based violence.

·         To register media attitude change and gender sensitive reporting on the girl child.

·         To support girl child survivors of gender based violence and girls at risk through emergency rescue operations, provisions of emergency safe shelter and referral to legal and medical aid and counselling services in partnership with other stakeholders so that the girl child realises her full potential. 

·         To support and promote girls’ access to education through the provision of school fees, sanitary ware,

panties, exercise books and other basic needs to the orphaned and vulnerable girls.



We are committed to the following values

ü  Innovation

ü  Integrity

ü  Excellence

ü  Passion,

ü  Transparency

ü  Professionalism

ü  Empathy



GCN has five main programmes all aimed at facilitating, instilling and providing the means of addressing issues which impede the full growth and development of the girl child in all spheres of life. The programmes aim to create a culture of prevention and these are strategic units well coordinated and focused on girl child and community development and empowerment.



  • Setting up and management of girls clubs in schools so as to create platforms where girls meet and go through the above stages of empowerment   
  • Promote information, knowledge and skills sharing   on career guidance, scholarships, referral to service providers within girls’ clubs
  • Educate girls on their legal rights, reproductive health issues, HIV/AIDS, peer to peer counseling, leadership and how to start and run girls clubs etc.
  • Develop girls’ social, problem-solving through peer to peer counseling, leadership, self-defense skills, with the aim of helping groom confident, assertive young women.
  •  Skills training (life skills)
  • Implement mentorship programs (Women As Role Models program)
  • Club launches are monthly celebrations that officially recognize girls who would have excelled in the empowerment programmes



  • This program saves as a “mouthpiece of the girl child” in lobbying policy – and law makers to formulate, amend and implement policies and laws that protect the girl child, including those that address gender equality and equity, HIV/AIDS, orphan care, sexual offenses, Child/Victim Friendly Court structures, and harmful traditional practices.  Advocacy also targets harmonizing Zimbabwean laws with regional and international legal statutes like the Convention on the Rights of the Child and AU Protocol on Women’s Rights (To which Zimbabwe is a signatory member) 
  • GCN conducts extensive community based sensitization about existing laws and policies that protect the rights of women and children and engages in a significant amount of media, radio and television debate and publicity.
  • At a strategic level, the Girl Child Network seeks to engage stakeholders , including communities, schools, government, and policy makers in advocacy and lobbying for eradication of practices which impede the  girl child’s’ full physical, emotional, spiritual growth and development.
  • Policy change is critical to ensure that court cases of child sexual abuse are handled within the shortest time possible.  (In Zimbabwe, sexual abuse cases can take up to two years  to be heard in the courts, during which time the abusers may still be living in the communities with ample access to their accusers, often resulting in intimidation. 
  • Popularization of laws, policies, regional and international legal instruments that promote and protect girls’ rights in the home, school and communities
  • Lobby for the enactment of the proposed Child Sexual Offence Bill and review of the Marriages Act and other laws that undermine the rights of the girl child
  • Advocate for effective implementation of laws and policies that protect girls
  • Train traditional leadership on laws and  policies that protect the rights of the girl child
  • Lobby government for a functional children’s court and effective Victim Friendly Courts with Victim Friendly people and equipment
  • Advocate for girl child friendly language and programmes through the media, radio and television
  • The programme belongs to various child welfare and Gender Based Violence Taskforces nationally, regionally and internationally which are watchdogs of children’s rights. GCN has built strong coalitions with local, regional and international coalitions to ensure protection of children’s rights and help to build a strong voice



  • Monitoring and responding to media coverage of gender, child abuse, HIV and AIDS, etc.
  • Producing information materials to be disseminated to the public
  • GCN joins other stakeholders in celebrating commemorative days like the Day of the African Child, International Women’s Day, World AIDS Day and World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse.  GCN uses such events to remind government to “walk the talk” since Zimbabwe is a signatory to many regional and international conventions whose principles are not being enacted
  • Sensitizing the public and media practitioners to issues of child abuse and to the activities of GCN.
  • Raise the visibility of GCN in all its core activities through timely media responses, research and media
  • Reach out to all the publics of GCN through the production of the newsflash, in – house publications and documentaries on issues such as abuse, gender, HIV and AIDS girls rights and empowerment
  • Organise image building strategies such as media awards, workshops for journalists and engage in corporate social responsibility activities
  • Document program reports, organisational reports and any other relevant promotional material meant to promote and enhance the image of the organisation 
  • Document all empowerment activities carried out by GCN in all areas of operation and produce regular news bulletins for girls and other stakeholders from all areas of operation
  • Collate data and statistics relating to Gender Based Violence and carry out desk studies from time to time so as to evaluate impact of GCN programmes in areas of operation
  • Carry out media awareness and sensitization campaigns through dissemination of accurate information on issues affecting the girl child
  • Ensure positive portrayal of girls through the media by tracking news articles, adverts, music, films and documentaries
  • Girls’ active participation in documentation and dissemination of information is key and there is a strictly Girls’ team in the information programme that produces news bulletins and fully engaged in creative writing and editing 






This is the driving force of the organization’s humanitarian assistance to the target beneficiaries-the girls. This includes providing subsistence, food, school fees, sanitary wear and other related needs of girls from economically disadvantaged families. To date the programme has paid school fees for more than 15, 000 girls in primary and secondary schools. The programme has also managed to assist 4 000 beneficiaries through paying for medical expenses, transport expenses, food allowances and other educational related needs of the girls. No much empowerment can be achieved without providing the basic needs to girls, in the form of food, shelter and clothing and hence this program attaches more meaning to what we mean by empowerment..Since establishment over 70 000 rape survivors have passed through girls empowerment project.



·         Implement Self-Help Grant Schemes strategy as exit and wean off  package for old girls clubs and community based organisations

·         Community capacity building through school based parents committees on girls’ rights, gender , community group counseling and HIV and AIDS

·         Community based sensitization programmes on trafficking in girls and other harmful cultural practices

·         Men’s and boys’ Gender Based Violence programme to enable men and boys to be supportive of girls’ empowerment and development and help men and boys to support a gender violence free society

·         Implement HIV and AIDS and National Orphan Care Policies

·         Lend assistance in emergencies

·         Community Group Counseling training imparts basic skills in counseling to communities to enable them to handle and manage child abuse through Girl Child Monitoring Committees

·         Gender and HIV  and AIDS training 




Please note Girl Child Network invested so much in girls property and all offices below are wholly owned by the charity


The Girl Child Network

Head Office

Zengeza Girls Empowerment Centre

Stand No 16352

Zengeza 4


Telephones:(070) 31332 –Admin

                    (070) 31221 -Progs

Cell: 077 288 255

Contact Person: Kumbirayi Kahiya Chikowero





Hwange (Matabeleland South)

592 Empumalanga


Cellphone  : 077 288 254                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             


Contact person: Robina Chimowa


Chitsotso Girls Empowerment Village

P.O Box 253



Near Manyaira Primary school




6 bettymakoni


Comment as Anonymous Submit
Anonymous user 6 years
Can I please have your contact details. I havd a story to share
Anonymous user 6 years
your mobile numbers are incomplete
Anonymous user 6 years
I wanna join this club I like helping people especially girls I'm 16 I wanna help
Anonymous user 6 years
Can I have your contact detail I have a story to share
Anonymous user 4 years
Where are your offices in Bulawayo. M desperately looking for you.
Anonymous user 4 years
Please i need your in Bulawayo.your contact details are not enough
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