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GCN nominated for the world's most respected award for the rights of the child
January 15, 2007

This year's three finalists for the World's Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child (WCPRC), with prize money totalling SEK 1 million (USD 140,000) are:

  • CYNTHIA MAUNG, Burma, who has fought for the health and education of hundreds of thousands of refugee children for 20 years, both under the military dictatorship in Burma and in refugee camps in Thailand.
  • INDERJIT KHURANA, India, who has run over a hundred schools and two phone help lines for 21 years, helping the poorest, most vulnerable children who live and work on station platforms.
  • BETTY MAKONI, Zimbabwe. After being abused as a child, Betty began to fight to give girls the courage to demand their rights. She supports those who are exposed to abuse and protects others from assault, forced marriage, trafficking and sexual abuse.

This year's prize ceremony will be held on 16 April at Gripsholm Castle in Mariefred, where HM Queen Silvia will help the children to give out the prizes. All three final candidates will be honoured. The recipients of the prizes will be announced at a press conference at 12 noon on 13 April, at Södra Teatern, Mosebacke Torg, Stockholm, Sweden.

More about Betty Makoni and her Gild Child Network
Betty Makoni is a survivor of child sexual abuse at age 6 and grew up with the vision to break silence on discrimination and oppression of girls in the home, school and community. In 1998 she founded the Girl Child Network which is an activist development girls rights organisation that supports the empowerment of the girl child in all spheres of social, economic and political. GCN presents a unique model that supports the empowerment of the girl child in the home, school and community.

To date over 20 000 girls have been rescued physically from sexual abuse and rehabilitated as well as counselled and reinstated back in school. In the past before Betty Makoni broke the silence on child sexual abuse cases most of the cases were swept under the carpet and girls feared to report, especially when the cases involved high profile people.

The Girls Empowerment Villages are unique in that most rural girls can now access justice, stand against harmful cultural practices and access education. Many girls in the poorest
Remote parts of Zimbabwe have been taken through empowerment programs where new gender equality and human rights beliefs, practices and attitudes are instilled. GCN is maybe the only most effective and proactive organisation that focuses on the girl catches the girl child whilst young in a holistic way that identifies and deals more practically with issues that may impede her full development. There is gender discrimination and inequality that is perpetrated against the girl child from birth until old age.

Realising that the girl child empowerment strategy works , the model has been replicated all over Zimbabwe by different players. Whole communities, chiefs, kraal heads, teachers, orphaned girls, boys and men are in support of GCN because Betty Makoni identified positive cultural practices and blended them with the human rights and gender equality concept .

However in some instances, for Betty Makoni breaking the silence on rape of girls has led to her victimisation.

Many girls are now walking in the fullness of their potential. There are 30 000 girls in the poorest areas of Zimbabwe who are members of the Girl Child Network Clubs. A full package of empowerment that includes confidence building, humanitarian aid in the form of sanitary ware, school fees and uniforms is provided to the girls so as to prevent them from falling prey to older men who ask for sex in exchange for money from poor and vulnerable girls.

There is a new breed of future women leaders in Zimbabwe coming from the Girl Child Network Clubs.

Visit GCN's fact sheet

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