Send Rural Girls to School in Zimbabwe

by Girl Child Network (GCN)

Throughout a normal week in the Hwange District of Zimbabwe, 25 girls between the ages of 6 to 18 years visit GCN’s Hwange Empowerment Village. The Village provides a temporary shelter for girls rescued from rape and child abuse as well as a center for education and counseling and a place where girls can go after school. In these centers, the girls are fed, they receive basic health care and sanitary napkins, their uniforms are washed and they have a place to do their homework for school.

According to GCN staff, indicators of empowerment for these girls includes the ability to express themselves through poem writing and drama classes for self-esteem development as well as the ability to express their needs to their teachers and parents.

Empowerment Village staff recently held a Sports Day at the Village that included netball, three-legged races and egg tosses as a way for the girls to play and have some fun. They hope to use such techniques to build confidence for these girls, many of whom, have low self-esteem. All the girls come from poor backgrounds, and unfortunately many are now the head of their household, responsible for younger siblings, because they have lost their parents to AIDS.

Hardly a month goes by without us learning of the international recognition Betty received for her work and that of the Girl Child Network. Most recently Betty received the World Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child (WCPRC) in Sweden.

Betty was selected via a global vote of children with 6 million children in 89 countries. In accepting her award Betty stated that:

"It is quite humbling that I have received this award... I want to make it known that the award is the result of commitment to the upholding of women and girl's rights in Zimbabwe and I would like to thank and honor all those who help us back home in our empowerment and girl's rights programs".

IDEX congratulates Betty on this prestigious award!

On International Women’s Day (March 8th) IDEX hosted a compelling discussion between Betty Makoni, Founding Member and Director of Girl Child Network in Zimbabwe, and Walter Turner, host of KPFA’s Africa Today. Betty talked passionately about her work to bring about gender equity in Zimbabwe. Hear Betty talk of about the positive impact of educating girls and the benefits of encouraging them to stand up for their rights both on the girls themselves and the community as a whole. Listen to the podcast at


GCN Founder, Betty Makoni, in San Francisco

IDEX invites GlobalGiving donors who are in the Bay Area to celebrate International Women's Day, and join us for an engaging conversation with award-winning, Zimbabwean activist, Betty Makoni and long-time host of KPFA's Africa Today, Walter Turner. Betty Makoni, founder of Girl Child Network (GCN), will share stories of her inspiring work in advancing the rights of the girl child in the context of the HIV/AIDS crisis in Zimbabwe.

Started in 1998 the after-school program that has grown into GCN, now has over 350 groups, reaches 20,000 girls and is recognized internationally as a model for promoting girls' rights. Betty's work is rooted in her unwavering belief that girls and women must be treated as equals with men and that they need to confront the injustices they face to ensure a better life.

Thursday, March 8, 5:30 Reception, 6:30 Program, at the World Affairs Council, 312 Sutter Street, 2nd Floor, San Francisco.

To RSVP visit, or call (415) 824-8384.


Sarah Dotlich, Africa Program Director for International Development Exchange has recently returned from visiting the Girl Child Network (GCN) where she met with girls benefiting from the continuously successful work of GCN. On November 19, World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse, GCN staff and girl members took to the streets of Chitungwiza, a township outside of Harare, for a lively march to bring attention to the day and show the community that they will stand up against child abuse. They were met with cheers along the way. In addition the future is looking brighter with the prospect of a domestic violence bill becoming law, which will protect women and children. GCN was instrumental in shaping the bill and advocating for it to pass through the Zimbabwean parliament.

Sarah also met with Ruth Bikwa, GCN Area Coordinator for the Hwange District in western Zimbabwe where, with your continued support, GCN has: • paid for 62 girls to continue going to school this past semester, enabling them to graduate and even go on to university, • provided shelter and support for girls who were running from abusive homes or were orphaned and had no where else to turn, • held trainings for 20 teacher volunteers who donate their time to be coordinators of GCN’s girls clubs. These teachers learn how to counsel the girls, identify girls who are experiencing, abuse or who are in need to school-fee payment, and provide a strong role-model for the girls.

For Example, while in Zimbabwe, Sarah learned of 4 girls who were currently under the care of GCN in Hwange. One girl is HIV-positive and was kicked out of her home and 3 girls have been recently orphaned. If it was not for the GCN Empowerment Village they would have nowhere to go. Ruth is currently working to find homes for the girls. In the mean time, the girls have a safe place to stay and continue to go to school.

Thank you for your continued support of this impressive work.


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Organization Information

Girl Child Network (GCN)

Location: San Francisco, California - USA
Website: http:/​/​​gcn.html
Project Leader:
Sarah Dotlich
IDEX Africa Program Director
San Francisco, CA United States

Funded Project!

Thanks to 59 donors like you, a total of $17,767 was raised for this project on GlobalGiving. Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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