- Anita Korma launches GCN in Siera Leone
- Esther Said is an example of our work to empower girls
- Betty Makoni, founder of GCNW with her siblings
- Girls' empowerment villages work to empower rape survivors
- A girl child brought to our attention from Tanzania whose father-in-law slashed her ears as punishment for playing rather than fulfilling her wifely duties
- Olivia Lange, aged 15, fundraises for girls in Zimbabwe
- 31 Global Awards for excellency, passion, and innovation for girls’ rights
- Betty Makoni and girls march against abuse
- Alec in Los Angeles fundraises for girls
- Founding Trustee Leanne Grossmann fundraised first grant for girls
About Girl Child Network Worldwide
A warm welcome to Girl Child Network Worldwide by Her Royal Highness Princess `Deun Adodyin- Solarin -Chair of Trustees.
Girl Child Network Worldwide(GCNW) is at the centre of a global commitment to gathering, codifying, training and promoting the experiences and expertise of African girl advocates and marginalised girls who are invisible.
Our mission is to support and promote girls’ rights, empowerment, and education by reaching out to and advancing the circumstances of African girls who are economically deprived, at risk of abuse, subject to harmful cultural practices, or living in areas of instability.
Girl Child Network Worldwide envisions girls in Africa are empowered and retained in school to attain quality education with support of whole communities. Quality education in a violent free, supportive and conducive environment in the home, school and community builds their career aspirations leading them to walk in the fullness of their potential as women leaders. Read More
Our Journey and the story: From African Village to Global Village
The need to establish an organization to champion the rights of girl children in Zimbabwe was perceived in 1998 by Betty Makoni after listening to the horrifying experiences of ten of her female students. Her personal experiences of abuse as a child further fueled her determination. An informal discussion group was subsequently created to provide a safe forum for girls to meet and talk freely about their problems and devise possible solutions. This initial group became the first girls’ empowerment club in Zimbabwe.
In March of 1999 Girl Child Network (GCN) was formally established with the specific mandate to be a voice for the voiceless, particularly school-aged girls between the ages of 0 – 16-years-old. The organization was born out of the helplessness and hopelessness of the girl child in Zimbabwe with the objective to assist girls in their quest for emancipation. GCN set out to advocate on behalf of girls and to empower them to speak out when their rights were being violated. Therein the previously forgotten girl child was able to highlight her plight regarding sensitive issues like rape, HIV/AIDS, forced marriages, premarital sex and also effectively communicate her hopes and aspirations.
By the end of 1999, there were at least 10 active clubs in Chitungwiza, and in 2000 GCN began building Girls Empowerment Villages that served as ‘safe houses’ where survivors of rape and sexual abuse could seek refuge and rehabilitation. To break the silence, the founding members, 500 girls, and a few gender-sensitive men, women and boys undertook a 17-day march against child sexual abuse, covering 290 kilometers from Chitungwiza to Mutare, proving itself a true champion of girls` rights.
In 2006 GCN was firmly established in Zimbabwe and indeed became a household name. By July 2006, over 30,000 girls belonged to some 500 GCNW clubs in Zimbabwe, spread over 35 of Zimbabwe’s 58 districts. Today, the number of girls joining GCNW has grown and many girls` clubs and initiatives, with the purpose of fundraising on behalf of girls, are sprouting up around the globe with over 900 girls’ empowerment clubs in Africa alone. Other countries with clubs involved or affiliated with GCNW include Uganda, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Ethiopia, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. Girls everywhere are taking the initiative and mobilizing to defend their rights. Clearly, girl child empowerment is spreading like wildfire.
The idea to expand GCN into Girl Child Network Worldwide (GCNW) was conceived in September 2007 by Betty Makoni, and current US-based trustee Leanne Grossman who started fundraising projects to support girls in Zimbabwe who had fallen into disastrous situations for which no one immediately and effectively mobilized. This had a huge impact as the assistance benefited 160 girls over a three-month period.
GCNW replicates a best practice model that has secured 32 global awards for excellence, innovation, and effectiveness in the delivery of girls` empowerment programs at the local grassroots level. It is a globally acclaimed organization anchored in many parts of the world. It stands as a great inspiration to girls and women who want to actualize their full potential. By taking a unique empowerment and proactive rather than welfarist or reactive approach, GCNW motivates girls to spearhead their own liberation.
The GCNW Empowerment Model has worked very well in Zimbabwe and in other parts of Africa, however, its transformation into GCNW comes at a time when its founding members strongly feel an international platform would unite girls in their activism and allow them to speak out with one well coordinated voice, ensuring a clear worldwide leadership and solidarity on issues affecting the girl child. GCNW is meant to be the center of coordination and learning, and to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and resources.
In England, the Girls’ Empowerment Center is the empowerment strategy and we continue in the spirit of the Vazvare meaning Princesses. The GCNW Empowerment Center model is not replicating aspects already served locally but will instead act as a center for research, the accumulation of knowledge and dissemination of best practices, consultancy, and training regarding issues such as sheltering girls-at-risk. Training is a core activity of the GCNW Center in the UK in order to facilitate the employment and development of the girl child empowerment model. It houses the Museum of Achievement, which puts a spotlight on many African traditions that are positive and can be used in fight for gender equality.