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Child Network's 2006 End of Year In Touch Newsflash
December 29, 2006
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- THE major
highlight of the year was the participation of Girl Child Network
at the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto where the
organisation was ably represented by the Director, Ms Betty Makoni
and wrote yet another piece of history by scooping the inaugural
Award for addressing gender inequalities that fuel the HIV/AIDS
pandemic. Also representing GCN was GCN Community Ambassador,
Shadreck Taona Gwashavanhu and Silence Mazunga a Girl Child HIV/AIDS
activist. On her return scores of GCN staff and networking friends
thronged the Harare International Airport to welcome her amid
song, dance and ululation. This fine feat was capped by a celebration
on the 8th of December 2006 where a UNDP representative presented
GCN with the award and the prize money. Betty Makoni led the Girls
National Executive Committee in accepting the award. The event,
attended by diplomats, NGO representatives, government officials,
traditional and church leaders, club members, and staff and community
members was spiced by catchy performances from girls, Amanda Sagonda
and the Muddy Face.
- Betty Makoni
followed up this with an attendance at a fundraiser dinner at
the University of Toronto. GCN would like to extend sincere gratitude
to Tara Doolan, Jerad and Bill Sparks, the University of Toronto,
the UT Faculty of Law, students and the lawyers and actvitists
who attended the fundraiser night in Toronto. Special thanks goes
to Tara and Bill for working so hard to ensure that the event
was a success and for hoisting the GCN flag so high, Graeme Hamilton
for all efforts leading to the successful event and prior and
hats off to Jared Kell for producing the film that was premièred
during the night.
- An erroneous
and mischievous Herald report caused unnecessary unease and despondency
to both GCN friends and enemies when it fallaciously claimed that
the organisation had participated in the authoring of the UN Special
Envoy, Anna Tibaijuka's Report on Operation Restore Order.
The implications of the article were that the organisation and
its Director were involved in opposition activities against the
government through its involvement in the doctoring of a report
that was dismissed by the government. Although it raised dust
and put the organisation and its Director under uncalled for spotlight
the organisation's unquestionable work on the ground saved
the day for the organisation. In the strongest terms the organisation
produced a press response that condemned the article and those
behind it as adversaries of the campaign against acts of violence
against the girl child.
- On the other
hand the International Women's Day celebrations roared into
life at the Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex. Vice President Joyce
Mujuru, women's organisations and scores of women who also
took the opportunity to display their craftwork, attended the
occasion organized by the GCN, Women's Coalition and the
Ministry of Women's Affairs. The theme of the year was,
"Women in decision making".
- The first
ever inaugural National Journalistic Awards was held at the Crowne
Plaza Monomotapa Hotel in Harare on the 4th May 2006. The colourful
event saw the organisation for the first in the history of fighting
child sexual abuse in the country honouring the media personnel
for their outstanding and objective reporting of issues of girl
child abuse. There were cash prizes and shields in 21 categories
for the successful journalists selected by a panel of people with
experience in the media and the development fraternity. The Deputy
Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr. Edwin Muguti was the
guest of honour who in his speech reiterated government's
commitment to fight child sexual abuse. The event was made possible
and the most successful owing to the financial and technical assistance
of NOVIB, the Royal Netherlands Embassy, The US Embassy, Zimsun
and CBZ Bank limited.
- GCN held
a Strategic Planning Workshop from the 29th~30th June 2006 that
was bankrolled by Oxfam NOVIB and Newfield Foundation and facilitated
by Development Consultant, Unity Chari. This saw the organisation
coming up with a Strategic Plan Document for 2006~2009 that defines
the organisation's direction for the next three years. GCN
has incorporated new strategies and programs to suit the changing
operating environment, changing needs of beneficiaries and implementing
strategies of our key stakeholders. For the organisation to be
effective and innovative in delivering its empowerment programmes
GCN has had programmatic and operational elements being either
introduced or changed. GCN considers the changes critical in that
they are responsive to the trends that either contribute to the
development of the girl child or hinder her development.
- GCN was
privileged to host a number of international visitors who also
had the privilege to experience first hand GCN's work. It
was an honour having Gerry Cameroon from Canada based Canadian
Crossroads International, which is a development organisation
that assists networks across the world.
- Betty Akuffor
a Social Development Consultant also visited GCN on a mission
sanctioned by the Stephen Lewis Foundation. From her visit she
intended to familiarize with GCN work and also assess the capacity
of the organisation to undertake a project funded by the Foundation.
- Paola Gianturco,
renowned photographer and writer of several books on real life
women's issues including; "In Her Hands" and
"Celebrating Women" who had been communicating with
GCN and interacting with GCN Director and Founder Betty Makoni
at various international fora, finally visited the organisation
this year. During the stay, she visited the Chihota Girls Empowerment
where there are girls' dormitories she personally funded.
Before she left a debriefing session was held and attended by
beneficiaries, staff and community members with lots of entertainment
the international visitors, GCN is grateful that there were local
corporate visitors to the organisation's project sites.
Having hosted the Stanbic Bank twice in Chihota and Chitungwiza,
Zimsun, represented by Mr. Manyumwa also visited and met the organisation's
needy beneficiaries from disadvantaged backgrounds Old Mutual
followed suit after a number of meeting s with GCN officials that
saw the emergency of a relationship that resulted in the institution
making donations to GCN. Will continue to court the support of
the corporate world in its quest to ensure a holistic and multisectoral
approach to the plight of girls and other vulnerable children.
- AS if proving
that 2006 will be remembered as the year of International visits
to GCN the organisation hosted Kenny and Rufaro Kangai from the
International Child Resource Institute. They got the opportunity
to tour GCN areas of operation and met some girls. GCN certainly
hopes this will give birth to a long working relationship with
the Institute. Other international visitors include four students
from Canada who made club visits.
Lonn and Paul Bolgrein from Sweden representing the World Children
Prize for the Rights of Children visited GCN and took the opportunity
to interview Betty Makoni on her life and work as the Director
of an internationally grassroots organisation. They also managed
to get on the ground experience of the work GCN does through visits
to 3 girls clubs, talking to girls at the Chitsotso Girls Empowerment
Village in Rusape and attending club launches at Chinyadza and
Chikumbu Primary in Rusape.
- GCN was
privileged to host the Asian Diplomatic Spouses in July 2006 who
got the opportunity to learn about GCN and its beneficiaries.
After meeting members of staff and beneficiaries the Group donated
goodies that included mealie meal, clothes and sanitary ware to
the organisation's Girl Empowerment Villages.
Tara Doolan from the University of Toronto's Faculty of
Law spent time with GCN as an intern in the organisation's
Advocacy and Lobby Program. Some of the major highlights of her
stay included assisting the organisation in crafting the 2006-2009
Strategic Plan Document. She also worked on refining the Child
Sexual Offences Bill that is the brainchild of Girl Child Network.
- DENISE Parmentier
(Programme Officer) and Monique van Zijl (Assistant Programme
Officer) form NOVIB one of GCN's biggest funding partners
came to undertake the Risk and Opportunity Appraisal toolbox that
is being used by NOVIB to assess partners for funding. There was
a two day session that saw GCN and the NOVIB team going through
the possible risk and opportunities that are either setbacks or
incentives for further partnership and the achievement of the
proposed project outcomes.
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