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Girl Child Network's 2006 End of Year In Touch Newsflash
Girl Child Network (GCN)
December 29, 2006

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2006 major highlights

  • 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 and beverages.
  • Besides 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.
  • ANDREAS 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.
  • CANADIAN 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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