Muzvare Betty Makoni

Muzvare Betty Makoni
CNN Hero and Decade Child Rights Hero

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Fifty Global Awards make Muzvare Betty Makoni the most honoured woman globally so far

By Nicole-Just a friend
It is not meant to start a competition at all. It is said that when you do charitable works you give it all emotionally and physically.However, the world does not just watch when someone does good, the world rewards, encourages and supports. The good global villages gives constructive criticism when needed. The life of Muzvare Betty Makoni is worth talking about and its worth emulating. She told me every award she received was a unique experience to get more support in order to support other girls.All awards money was used to build four Girls Empowerment Villages in Zimbabwe.Before Muzvare built her home, she poured over $200 000 of award money and post award donations into eduaction of girls many of who are now top professional women leaders. The story which is all contained in her Autobiography, Never Again is a must to read. Congratulations Muzvare and please share my post with many out there that you worked and got rewarded but you took all rewards to invest in marginalised girls. Look where they are now and something I personally would never do. I am inspired.
50. Image Maker of Africa-The Voice Achievers Award-2015 49. Top 100 Most Influential Africans in UK-2015 48. The Winners Achievers Award-Winners Network Team 47. African Women in Europe 2015-Winner, Switzerland 46. Special Award from Disabled International-2015 45. Global Peace Award- World Congruence-2015, India 44. Lift Effects Star Award-2015 43. Women of Love International Award for supporting Girls Education, Ireland -2014
42. Women4Africa Recognition Award-2014 41. DIVA of Colour-Woman of Honour-2014 40. Top 12 List of African Caribbean Women in UK -Afro News 2013 Read more Click here 39. Profile Courage Award by National Black Crown Prosecution Association of UK-2013 38.Selected and Featured in the South African Legacy project for the most influential role models in the world young people should emulate and learn from 37. BEFFTA Humanitarian Award -UK 36. Friends of Africa Hall of Fame- Canada, 2013
35. Crowned Mother and Leader of African Princesses by Her Royal Highness Princess Deun Adedoyin Solarin, UK, 2013 34. Ambassador of Peace Award-Women Peace Federation 2 December 2012 33. Life Achievement Award-Africa Community in Scotland-November 2012 32. Zimbabwe International Performers Alliance Global impact award- 2012 31. Fest Africa global Humanitarian award- Washington DC 2012 30. Winner African Goddess Award in Washington DC —2012 29. Women for Africa Humanitarian award -2012-UK 28. Newsweek Named Betty Makoni as among 150 women who shake the world-2011
27. Awarded African Achievers Award-UK May 2011 26. Honorary Award from Duke University of Medicine (Top Ten US College)-2011 25. Decade Child Rights Hero by the World Children’s Prize alongside Graca Machel and Nelson Mandela—Sweden—2010 24. Interaction (Network of USA Non Profits) Humanitarian Award 2010 23. The Women in Film and Television Awards-Los Angeles—USA 22. My Hero`s project-featured for best practice in inspiring children round the globe 21. CNN Heroes award for Protecting the Powerless-2009 honoured by Sir Richard Benson and UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman. Interviewed by Anderson Cooper.
20. Giraffe Heroes Project Award 2009 –Read More here 19. Unsung Heroes of Compassion Award from the Dalai Lama—2009 18. Honorary award for protecting girls—Defence for children International Canada 2008 17. Amnesty International Ginetta Sagan Award for women and children’s rights, USA May 2008 16. Elected Ashoka fellow-—Global leading Social Entrepreneurs in recognition of creative and Entrepreneurial leadership and commitment to make large scale changes in Society 15. Drivers of Change Award—Southern Africa Trust 2007 14. Women Empowerment Award 2007 13. Runner Up-Director of the Year Award for NGO sector in Zimbabwe-2008 12. Finalist One World Person of the Year 2007 11. One of the Ten Outstanding young people in the World by Junior Chamber International a worldwide leadership organization for young leaders and professionals
10. Voted First out of Ten Outstanding Young in Zimbabwe 2007 the Junior Chamber Zimbabwe 9. Awarded Global Vote and Global Child Rights winner by World Children`s Prize in Sweden 8. Awarded by the World Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child the Global Friends Award—2007 World Children’s Prize an equivalent to Nobel Prize for Children in 2007 in a Global Vote by 5, 2 million children in 85 countries 7. Awarded the Zimbabwe Institute of Management National Contribution Award in 2007 immense contribution to the nation 6. The United Nations Red Ribbon Award—2006 for addressing gender inequalities that fuel the HIV/AIDS epidemic 5. Hafkin Prize Award Finalist, 2003 4. Creativity in Rural Life Award by the Women’s World Summit Foundation, Switzerland 2003. Prize Betty Makoni for Prevention of Child Abuse now Renamed Prize for Prevention of Child Abuse is celebrated on 19 November annually Click here 3. Small Technical Grant Award for the most innovative Grassroots Community Based Strategy
2. Certificate of Honour by Global Philanthropy Forum for being the most remarkable person, USA 2002 1. Officially installed and bestowed the birth title Muzvare by King and Chief of Makoni tribe and was hereby given to preside over Chitsotso Mountain which is a sacred mountain of Makoni tribe where over 30 000 princesses of the tribe are buried. She was also given the biggest treasure Gomo ReMhanda where the fiercest battle between Makoni and Mutasa was fought. This is symbolic of her peace and love of her people. Muzvare`s first award as a true modern working and African humanitarian Princess was given by her own people and true to the word she has lived up to the legacy of rebuilding a girls empowerment centre. Conferred with Muzvare-Her Royal Highness and given a sacred royal shrine- Chitsotso to preside over and protect all girls in Zimbabwe and beyond. Her portrait picture is first to receive owner to be in Women as Role Models Museum of Achievements-2001

Monday, 14 September 2015

Muzvare Betty Makoni to receive the Prestigious The Voice Achievers of Africa Award

Muzvare Betty Makoni is one of this year`s The Voice Achievers Award winners for The African Image Maker category according to the Voice All details of the ceremony are below and you are all invited to join her and many others to be honoured on the day.
The Voice Achievers Award
The Voice Achievers Award is established in the Netherlands as project of The Voice magazine to recognize Africans and friends of Africa of outstanding achievement on a yearly basis. Since 2012, the award took a global outlook recognizing people outside of the Netherlands The Voice Magazine is the First and the biggest African news Magazine published in The Netherlands. It was established in August 1999 to provide a voice for the African communities in The Netherlands and African people in the Diaspora at large. We have in every sense of commitment, engaged in this noble course over the years. Over these years, we rose to a professional and moral call to unveil Africa to Europe and the rest of the world from the perspective of the African people. Being the first formal African News Magazine published in the Benelux region of Europe, we have reviewed the tremendous development and growth within Africa over the period. The Editorial Board of the Magazine constituted an Award Committee that would under strict but objective appraisal; nominate distinguished Africans and friends of Africa, worthy of appreciation and Honour at every forthcoming “The Voice Achievers Award” in the Netherlands. It is intended that this Award ceremony will be annual to encourage Africans and friends of Africa in various fields of human endeavours to do more and attain an outstanding status. We are in no way saying these people we have chosen are the best but they do have outstanding qualities that we are proud to present to the world. “The Voice Achievers Award’ is programmed to be a spectacular media and mentoring event. The award is designed to serve to mentor people to aspire for excellence in all facets of human activities. It is a mixture of young and older minds being rewarded on the same platform. This Award is unique because it offers not only recognition per excellence to the winners but also create an opportunity to meet other professionals and entrepreneurs from other communities in an interactive atmosphere to exchange new ideas. We recognize governments, institutions, entrepreneurs as well as charities, social enterprises and those businesses that are making proven positive social or economic impact on Africans or a particular country in this contest. 2015 Nominees List African Leadership Award Alie Kabba African Woman leadership award Judge Florence Mumba African Political Leadership Award Pascal Bida Koyagbele African Hero Award . Pastor E.E.H. Hongerbron African Distinguished Career Award Dr. Lanalee Araba Sam Spiritual leadership Award Apostle Frank Quaye-Aikins Diaspora Media Woman of the Year Award Princess Moradeun Adedoyin-Solarin Africa Image maker Award Hrh Muzvare Betty Makoni African Motivational Award Leontine van Hooft African Community Builder Award Marinda Holtzhausen African Foundation Award Smiles Dental Foundation Dr. Mrs. Elfrida Angelina Quaye-Aikins African Entertainment Award Tammy Clarizza Abusi Inspirational Award 2015 Mercedes Monden African Gospel Music Award Minister Sonnie Badu African Humanitarian Service Award Rosalia Sibulelo Mashale African Community Service Award Bob Hensen African Diaspora Producer Award Kevin Bob Kargbo Diaspora Man of the Year Abubakar Bangura Africa Dance Act Award Petit Bagaza Business Entrepreneur Award Yvonne Williams Diaspora Health Care Award Carmelita Haynes MammaeCare Body & Mind African Top Model Award Nella Santo African Special Recognition Award Albert Chapel African Heroine Award Fatoumata Jahumpa Ceesay African Designer Award Carlos Dauvia Nijenhuis Liandro African Cultural award Taremeredzwa Munzara African support Group Award Women of Integrity African Public Service Award Hon. Samson Raphael Osagie African Ambassador Award Ambassador Odette Melono Cameroon Amb. to The Netherlands Diaspora Woman of the Year Bridget Fomukong Christopher Okigbo African literary Icon Award (Posthumous) African Writer Award Steve Mwase Diaspora Media Man of the Year Award Quayson Kwabena African Business Excellence Award Turkish Airlines Europe Life time Achievement Award Jan Pronk Life time Achievement Award Chief Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia African Supporter Award Dick Becht

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Muzvare Betty Makoni-How much do you know about her?

Muzvare Betty Makoni (BA Gen, BA Special Hons, currently pursuing MSc Post Graduate degree Full Time at Royal Holloway University 2014-2016) is Founder and current Chief Executive Officer of Girl Child Network Worldwide, a registered international organisation championing for empowerment and education of girls in Africa since 2009. She was recently appointed as Advisor to Board of International Peace Group based in South Korea. From 1998 to 2008 after founding Girl Child Network in Zimbabwe she worked with over 350 000 girls over a decade and helped many of them to grow into confident women leaders that they are today. With her proactive and preventative girls empowerment model which has been replicated in over 10 countries worldwide, she churned out thousands of girls from poor backgrounds who are in various careers previously dominated by men.
In her many high profile titles, millions across the world passionately call her CNN Hero as she was the top in 2009 category for Protecting the Powerless and was honoured by Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman. Recently in UK she was presented with the Prestigious Profile In Courage award for her role to stop FGM and harmful cultural practices in UK and Africa. In her many other community leadership roles she is an Ashoka Fellow, CNN hero, UK Diaspora Changemaker and an officially approved and awarded Motivational Speaker of the year-2014 in UK . Her career spans over many years as a gender activist to UK Gender Based Expert with special focus on girls . In her tribe and many African Royal communities round the world, she holds an official title Muzvare-Her Royal Highness-The Princess. Recently she was officially installed as a Yeye Ashiwaju Omoba translated means Mother of and Leader of African Princesses by Princess Deun Adedoyin Solarin of Nigeria which is the highest honour an African woman can get from her people.
Muzvare Betty Makoni`s experiences shaped her to be the advocate and champion for girls rights she is today. Orphaned at age 9, she grew up as one of the most poorest and marginalised African girls in the early 1980s and the education she attained up to degree level was through the Work For Your Education program where she became a child labourer at a middle girls` catholic school in Zimbabwe and it is this experience that shaped her to be the humanitarian she is today. In 1998 she founded the Girl Child Network in her home country and gave her time fundraising in order to build Girls Empowerment Villages that rehabilitated over 70 000 girls sexually abused. Realising what she had done to empower herself as a poor girl , she went back into the poorest areas of Zimbabwe with a leadership and mentorship program that inspired, motivated and empowered over 350 000 girls in school based clubs. Today Girl Child Network is a model replicated in six African countries with her volunteer time to train, nurture and support many leaders. She has started a Girl Child Empowerment pilot project at a Girls School in UK and USA. In 2012, Muzvare Betty Makoni was one of the first to be selected to the team of experts for Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) was officially launched on 30 January 2013 by the UK Foreign Office. As a Gender Based Violence expert she had the honour of campaigning and advocating to leaders of G8 and diplomatic missions based in London on the need to support initiatives to prevent rape as a weapon of war. She is apparently developing her career as a gender based violence expert for recently she was selected to be part of the Team of experts to work on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict an initiative by Foreign office.
Muzvare Betty Makoni has passion to work to save the most vulnerable and powerless women and girls and those invisible and therefore her activism to speak and advocate for women from her base in UK. Her efforts are focused in creating the Girls Empowerment and Education Fund to be managed by Girl Child Network Worldwide ensuring marginalised girls in Africa get support for their projects without bureaucracy and delays leading to loss of lives and human potential. Despite the challenges, persecutions and trials and tribulations, Muzvare Betty Makoni has not stopped her humanitarian work to rescue and protect the most vulnerable women and children wherever she sees them suffering. She has become the spokesperson and advocate of the voiceless. She recently published her second book entitled Never again, not to any woman or girl again and has gone to inspire and speak to many women round the globe on the need to strengthen their work and build sustainable income at grassroots level to support whatever innovative strategies that alleviate poverty and violence. Even though many associate Muzvare Betty Makoni with formation of Girl Child Network only, she has many organisations she formed like Ray of Hope in Zimbabwe which supports survivors of domestic violence at grassroots level. Her life was spent volunteering to shape policies and strategies of other big organisations like Oxfam Novib, UNAIDS and currently she is dedicated to supporting the work of Restored UK as a Trustee to ensure there is a strong global alliance to stop violence against women. Girls round the world have expressed gratitude to Muzvare Betty Makoni as they passionately call her by writing her story and making it a life donation that has inspired and empowered many girls round the world. One of her girls she admires the most Memory Bandera set up Girl Child Network Uganda where she helps many girls.
Muzvare Betty Makoni has a lifetime of volunteerism and service to many causes and has served on Oxfam Novib and UNAIDS Round Tables. She sits on many boards of high profile organisations like RESTORED UK and serves as Ambassador and Patron of Africa Achievers Award and Zimbabwe Achievers Awards. Muzvare Betty Makoni is the first woman to serve as Global Ambassador for UN 19 days of Activism for prevention of Child Abuse by Women World Summit an organisation with UN consultative status. Muzvare Betty Makoni recently accepted to be Patron of UK based Malawi Women`s Association, an organisation whose success she wants to see.
For all her hard and passionate work she has been featured by major television and radio stations and global newspapers like Metro UK just recently as Woman of Courage, CNN, BBC, Huffington Post, Channel Five UK, New York Times, Marie Claire, Voice of America, The South African to name but a few. The world has responded by documenting the success of her work and the many beneficiaries whose lives were saved or transformed. CNN, Dalai Lama, World Children`s Prize and My Hero`s Project awarded Muzvare Betty Makoni as a hero. Zimbabwe Institute of Management awarded their first national contribution to Muzvare Betty Makoni. Her tribe where she is a royal officially conferred the Title Muzvare- Her Royal Highness the Princess to Muzvare Betty Makoni for saving girls lives. To her name are 46 global awards from the most Prestigious organisations in the world making her the most awarded African women where with the Decade Global Child Rights hero she became one of the honorary winners alongside President Nelson Mandela.
Muzvare Betty Makoni might be the highest honoured and awarded African woman in the world with 42 local, regional and global awards for innovation, commitment and passion for her work to protect over 300,000 girls in Zimbabwe. United Nations Red Ribbon award honoured Muzvare Betty Makoni and Girl Child Network as having the most innovative strategy for gender equality. Muzvare Betty Makoni is an Ashoka Fellow and singled out as one of the investors in poor and marginalised women and girls deserving of this life honour as a fellow. News Week named Betty as one of the 150 women who shake the world, alongside US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. An Honorary Decade Child Rights Hero award (2011) that Muzvare Betty Makoni received alongside President Nelson Mandela, who won the award, also shows the impact Muzvare Betty Makoni has made globally. In UK, Power Women named her Motivational speaker of the year.
Muzvare Betty Makoni is a published author of a poetry book, A woman, Once a Girl: Breaking Silence, which was recently launched in London. Her Autobiography Never Again, not on any woman or girl is inspiring women round the globe. Her latest poetry book entitled, The Inspiring and Empowering World of Muzvare Betty Makoni celebrates many women who inspire her and also creates a 21st century rhythm for the women`s movement.
Muzvare Betty Makoni is a hostess of a women and girls empowerment program on Pamtengo Radio every Monday. She is also hostess of a radio program called Never Again whose title is taken from her official Autobiography and weekly featured on the popular Zimbabwean radio called Nehanda Radio. Muzvare Betty Makoni is featured in best-selling books including Women Who Light the Dark by Paola Gianturco, On The Up by Nikki and Rob Wilson, as well as main subject in the award winning documentary, Tapestries of Hope, by U.S. Hollywood Director Michealene Risley. The Girl Child Network Empowerment Model which she started in 1998 has been singled out as Best Practice and included in University of Essex Journal for Human Rights 2010.
She is a mother of three boys and has fostered 15 children in her lifetime. She is married to Engineer Irvine Nyamapfene.

Activists, We Are Not Alone- UK Based Artist who boosted my media campaign against Type 4 Female Genital Mutilation

On 19 September 2013, I got featured in the UK National Metro newspaper and the story was written by journalist Etan Smallman. The story I had shared was on my experience of Female Genital Mutilation Type 4-pulling which campaigners never speak against but affects girls whose genitalia is forced to reach certain lengths in order to please men in future should they get married. There is a lot that a girl must do to her private parts even at expense of school. She has to worry more about them than books.
Well, if this happened to me as a child I had the right to share it. I had the right to denounce it if I felt my privacy as a child was violated by older women forcing my legs open and pulling my body parts. It is undignified way to prepare a child for womanhood because you are not mature enough at age 7 to understand sex and sexual organs and let alone how these body parts work for you even before a man starts using them. Society is not patient at all as long as men benefit from it. Like FGM type 1 to 3 and at least according to me as a child then, FGM 4 is equally painful. It was adult women pulling my genitalia out and forcefully sometimes using thread and pegs and with no Anesthesia. I was not given painkiller or anti biotic after every session. I sustained bruises and even today the pain has haunted me. That is me and my body and pain. I had no idea why I was doing it like millions of other kids because as girls we are told to please men in future. But was that not a choice we could make when we are over 18? When one is a minor they cannot be forced to prepare their genitalia in order to please a man. It is tantamount to mental and physical torture just like with FGM types 1 -3. It is unlike when a woman does it out of choice. Let`s say, for instance, the so called future husband says he does not want extended genitalia and he wants natural ones, would then those who pulled them out cut them off? Honestly choices some cultures make for girls can be risky and what with stories I heard of what happens to women at child birth? I heard horrifying stories from midwives where the pulled genitalia blocked safe passage of babies and some women had to be rushed for emergency C- section. I was not so sure if my speaking out against such violations of children`s and not adults private parts could warrant such anger from a community where 90% of women and men are in favour of the practice and majority practise it. Or it could be that people are naturally angry especially these days when one of theirs begs to differ. There are societies that are so backward that harmful practices are norm and cannot be challenged. Some harmful cultural practices are obviously undergarment crimes that are so silenced about that they have become norm. We are expected to be uniform in our positive acceptance of such hidden harm and violations of children`s private parts. Imagine if there was a scheme to pull male organs in the same community, what would be the reaction? If this is done to a girl it is culture, but when same sexual assault is done to a boy it automatically becomes criminal. I tell you, this caused outrage in the Zimbabwean UK Community. A lot of those who waged verbal war against me did not read the depth of the article. First I was not asking for donor money. I was asking society to be civilised and stop pulling young girls genitalia because this was tantamount to forced masturbation. Also I was raising issues on Safeguarding because bruises and infections post FGM Type 4 can affect mental and physical well-being of a child forever. Children who get any of their body parts mutilated outside normal surgery are violated at an early stage and it is impossible for them to reverse such damage in future should they wish to be otherwise. For some of them it harms them physically and mentally and in the case of FGM type 4 the likelihood of indulging in early sex is high because pulling arouses the labia and clitoris and prepares girls for early sex where they do not consent. If children cannot consent to sex why there are private schemes like these where they are being aroused and taught the very sex they can’t consent to. There is a lot of double speaking by adults. If it worked for you as a woman, it might not work for every girl because not every girl who is forced to arouse their private parts can have the moral development to suppress the feelings. In other words FGM Type 4 arouses the children and prepares them for it but most girls are so young to understand consequences like pregnancy and being exposed to sexually transmitted disease like HIV and AIDS. We always make assumptions that we can control girls and their sexuality. Moreover, if those in and from West Africa cut off the labia and clitoris why is it those in Southern and Eastern Africa pull them out? What if a man in Western Africa wants to marry a woman from Southern Africa and vice versa?` What if a girl in future decides to get married to a man from a region where they cut and not pull? Who must dictate the physical appearance of your genital organs as a girl?
My article initially intended to share something quite interesting. I want to express gratitude to an artist called Lynda Reid for artistically coming up with my face to portray the civilisation and sanity in the work we do to save girls lives. Whilst I was being attacked for speaking against FGM of children who are powerless and defenceless as I stated before by mostly fellow Zimbabweans in UK, ironically I was being honoured by a great artist in UK. In sharp contrast, Lynda Reid made a powerful statement by drawing with much detail and with her hands the picture she saw of me in the Metro. As you know artists speak through their creativity. Instead of spending her time saying otherwise, she artistically did my picture in the Metro and gave me inner strength to carry on campaigning. She ignited my spirit. Is that not beautiful symbolism? That, no matter what we say against activists, we artists we say let them speak and we duplicate their voices through our art. So instead of Chris Brook pictures only, I ended up with an artistically hand done picture which one day I will exhibit to just show the power of artists in activism. What a boost for my campaign against not only FGM but all thirty harmful cultural practices that undermine the emotional and physical development of girls who go through such harm. I receive my portrait as big honour and I cherish the symbolic significance of speaking out against injustices. The portrait is here for everyone to share. Thanks so much Lynda Reid.

Monday, 24 August 2015

My leadership is stronger with Trustees, Donors and Volunteers- An Invitation To Donor Appreciation Day 29 August 2015

I started Girl Child Network in my home country at age 25. Of course as I matured my leadership also matured. However, one thing I would never stop doing even as a girl who survived on a scholarship from Roman Catholic is to stop expressing gratitude. No matter how big or small someone gives you, their generosity makes your life easier. So my song as a girl was on thank you sister. The same song I have taken to my leadership at global level. Not many girls come back to say thank you but am so sure their current positive stories are songs of gratitude. Therefore on 27 August, I have decided to have first ever meeting with trustees, donors and volunteers just to spend some quality time together. Its not a very big forum. Just 20 or less than leaders and philantropists. I like face to face meetings. This one is unique because everyone brings something to share. I am so excited and below is the formal invite and more details. Girl Child Network Worldwide invites you all to a day of inspiration where those making the most contribution to the charity meet to share and help develop the charity further. The number of individuals signing up to donate at least £3 monthly is rising daily and therefore we feel we have to meet at least once a year to know you better and to hear from such extraordinary individuals. Yes we receive your donation but we also value building lasting relationships with you all. It is vital to find time and space to keep each other well informed about the charity and how you can support further. On the day we expect to present our annual report and progress and allow feedback and comments from our donors, volunteers and trustees. Each one present will be given a platform to speak, make contributions and help shape mission and vision of Girl Child Network Worldwide. We value feedback from our donors, trustees and volunteers. This is a special day we set aside to meet and talk and strategise. It is a ‘bring and share’ day and please bring any drink or food to share with others. Please bring a friend too. Family members are welcome. Girls who want to join Girl Child Network Worldwide as members and for future training are also welcome. Time: 11am to 4pm Venue: Basildon Enterprise Centre, 33 Nobel Square, SS13 1LT, Basildon Please if you wish to be part of this great day, do not hesitate to contact us and confirm attendance on 07951522790 or email us on New donors, volunteers and trustees will be officially welcomed on the day and asked to share about their future aspirations with the charity. Muzvare Betty Makoni On behalf of Girl Child Network Worldwide

Books First, Babies Later-Prevention is better than cure

Now we must face the facts and tell young girls that marriage is never guaranteed at all. Therefore have your empowerment handbag before babies. Not everyone who will have babies with you will marry you. Secure your future first and the rest will follow. Stories we have listened to for decades and things that happened to us and many girls as we grew up make us think about facing up to facts. Books First and Babies Later -Just food for thought

Why Books Now, Babies Later Global Campaign-Girls Must Be Empowered ?

Since I started Girl Child Network in 1998 I have seen over 350 000 girls coming out of our girls clubs in Zimbabwe and many parts of Africa. Well, for new comers to the world of empowerment, you might think the words girls empowerment came from somewhere far. Not at all. When I was a girl I knew this word. I knew empowerment action more than the word. Now I developed it into a campaign, an organisation and a global strategy. I was criticised for using it by so called experts but the more I do the more I feel I am doing the right thing. We all know our backgrounds of poverty and deprivation in Africa. I was in it as well but due to foresight I worked my way out. Over the years I worked with girls who through simple words like in this campaign, Books First and Babies Later, they took time to reflect and think before being forced into early sex. Mind that girls dont understand sex at all and thats why this campaign we used Babies which is a product of premarital sex or statutory rape which is more common. Girls are living in a jungle. They are being stalked and stopped on way to school. They are lured with crisps and sweets. I know one girl who was lured into sex by offer of a house which the man did not even know. Well it is time girls open their eyes to see danger. Even at level crossing, there are robbots, green means Go and Red means Stop and the same books means Go and Sugardad means stop. Honestly some tragedies are children can detect and decide quick and even possible share with parents so that they get help quick.
For some reason stories of girls eloping to men or boys who impregnanted them are playing hard in my head.The girl would be taken to the man or boy's parents house after she revealed she missed her periods ,no time was given for pregnancy test. Once aunt of girl and the girl got to the man or boy's house they sat outside the gate until they were called in.The man or boy was called to say yes or no to pregnancy.The whole issue behind forcing all these matters was to force the boy to marry.I peeped through our window to watch girls covered in white eloping to same man one day...mmmm I wish I could change history on things considered unseen and unknown. When aunt dumped the girl she left and I tell you most girls became slaves of the house ...time you wake up to clean,put hot water for everyone,cook, think a girl stopped school for this hey...most girls were rejected by the men and forced back to their parents ‪#‎BooksfirstBabiesLate‬

Appreciation Day for Trustees, Donors and Volunteers-All Welcome for Face to Face

Friday, 13 June 2014

Media campaign on Female Genital mutilation-voices of Female African traditional leaders -community celebrities

Well it was back to media campaign against Female Genital Mutilation again but this time it felt the more different because I had Queen Naa Tsotsoo 1 from Ghana as a copanelist.Leaders within the African traditional systems have been overlooked.Who said African women had no power traditionally to an extent we had to import it to help us get rid of some die hard harmful cultural practices? Women are Queens and they are respected leaders who when they speak people identify easily with them than a flier or picture with a stranger.Like when Queen Naa spoke,you felt she had the correct selection of words for her chew and digest.She did not choke them like those taking big manuals and sophisticated materials and spending millions of money to stop something a woman ruler can just in one minute with just a few direct messages.I think if the power of African women Royals is still respected it is time we officially recognise that they exist as the leadership key to bringing gender equality.That said Queen Naa Tsotsoo 1 is always with the transformation words.They come gently and always well thought out and no wonder quietly her people follow her with respect. As for me i was there on the panel and my message was that clear that a culture that cuts any part of your body is Criminal.Cutting genital parts of any part of the body is like cutting a leg or finger.One will be disabled.FGM brings some sort of disability to that part of woman that remains hidden under garments. Our host was Kwaku of Vox TV Channel 218.It was my first time to meet a man who is angered by FGM. He had done so much research and indeed his panel of experts and one woman from Ghana who testified shows what great deal of work he put into this piece.He had news clips,medical commentator and a great social male commentor from Nigeria called Chedu.He is brilliant and so honoured to listen to his wisdom.It comes out naturally. It is good we focused on Northern Ghana.What a shame in this day and age people still take knives to cut such delicate parts of girls all to please men in marriage.It is girls who carry the trauma of being disabled.More so some of the men hop from woman to woman without squashing their sexual hunger.Then we think cutting girls will keep them less sexually active and later in life we think their sexual activity will come back through some miracle.How naive to think like this honestly. Going forward I think traditional authority of women like Queen Naa and others can make the campaigns strong. oh well Africa has leadership places for women and can we respect and support these so that we eliminate such die hard practices like FGM.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Angeline Joline gave me a chance for photo shoot but it came out blurred

For first thing first!!! Those of you not aware there is a Global Summit to end sexual violence let me tell you this is a must to attend.I was there and felt as if the world will be changed in seconds.Well it is Secretary William Hague who made a commitment he would support this issue.I was selected to be amongst 83 UK experts for Preventing Sexual Violence and am a gender based violence experts.Some friends wondered how I got to meet Angeline Joline - a celebrity everyone wants to meet.Well, as you are aware she is the woman of the moment and her role is UN Envoy on sexual violence.I have been to two high profile meetings where she spoke and truly a woman with passion is a woman of purpose.She speaks on sexual violence with passion.Excuse my overuse of the word passion but it is my way to hammer a point. So today after Foreign Secretary William Hague addressed us the team of experts on his desire to see it strengthened and supported for future deployments he then reassured everyone the work ahead would be accomplished.Then when speeches were done with great ovation it was time to mingle and mix.Mind you I move around with my empowerment handbag.Of course in it is a good dosage of confidence.I saw many delegates jostling to meet Angeline Joline.Mind these are the best of UK experts and so high profile.I told myself that I would not jump the queue at all to shake the gracious hand of Angeline Joline.So after some 30 minutes came my time.I told myself I needed some good minutes and then I said to Angeline Joline thanks so much for going on the ground to be in solidarity with women. She has a natural gracious smile that speaks love and peace.She smiled but her eyes with tears.I told her that her passion had taken the campaign far.I tell you Angeline Joline is humility. She is down to earth.She looks very ordinary even though she has some unique sparkle. She stopped to greet me.She gave me time and even allowed a photo.As you are aware in such meetings you can't just take photos. But she actually took time to pose for the photo.The photo came out blurred four times.Oh oh the woman I asked to be camera person was in a hurry to get hers too. Well even though Angeline Joline photo came blurred and half cut off but mind not her work of stopping rape during conflict.Today I met a woman who says it is time to act. Yes stopping sexual violence is a mission of us all. It needs to be accomplished urgently so that lives are restored and humanity heals and moves forward. I walked away with renewed energy to undertake my role as gender based violence expert ...After all am not expert to take photos and so I leave for next opportunity. I also went to Tearfund reception.There were a number of survivors who gave testimonies.Very sad women had to go through all this. But there is hope because all survivors who spoke know strategies to heal, prevent and protect.But am heartbroken such would happen. As I said if you missed the last two days better make sure 12 and 13 June you are there.Rape as a weapon of war must stop wars must stop too. Civilised people fight using knowledge and not guns.

Maya Angelou inspirational and empowerment inheritance makes us all worth

The day I took the poem Still I Rise and started feeling it in my whole system is the day I proclaimed freedom.Maya Angelou spoke to my inner self and touched my soul to an extent I felt Rising to be the only option .What a great legacy she left us. Some words are the heritage we pass on.They are rich in meaning and they keep the echo Still I rise, Still I rise ....I personally said she is a Mountain and a superhero.She is the poem and the poetry in the Poem.Now it feels as if we will thrive for centuries because of her words. In the picture there I attended a conference on her other work on Women, health well being and I came from this workshop a new woman leader.That's how powerful Maya was.Even in her absence I just felt her strength.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Girls Education Seminar in Cork City -One of its kind

Last week I was in Cork City and went with my Royal Sister Princess Deun.So excited were we on the way and what a great exciting time we had with Women of Love International.Esse Agesse is a woman of passion.She has put her whole in ensuring that she supports girls education.No doubt about that.By the way Girls Education seminar is now in its second year.It is not one of those big events organised by millionaires.Not at all and not one of us women would be one anywhere!!! Oops why am I thwarting dreams and aspirations like this? All I want to say is that Girls Seminar is quite at grassroots level. It is mainly women from Nigeria with grand ideas of mobilising communities to give.From the way I have learnt so far yes we come from same continent but women from Nigeria have worked their way to their empowerment handbags.They are such hard workers. Esse Agesse the founder member of Women of Love International speaks through song.When she sings her words translate into action.Here I am not trying to flatter anyone.Am now her biggest fan.According to what I heard she was in fact like Brenda Fascia of South Africa.She has the voice ... Then speakers came. Quite great a presentation from Plan International Because Am a girl campaign.Their Director of Fundraising walked us through their work to protect girls and support education.It was very professional.I like it when people keep such matters professional and not emotional.Good lesson for me indeed. Then all high profile speakers including the Outing Ambassador of Nigeria who called for Nigerians to unite and shun tribalism, then Minister of Education who walked us through his passionate work on girls education, then it was the Lord Mayor forget whether Lord male or female this Mayor is female - a powerful woman who spoke for a few minutes and filled room with activism. I thought she should be President instead I then spoke.You can see I have started a new paragraph as I don't want to be a spoiler to the great professionals above.I shared stories of how even bacteria could not eat me because poverty had taught me to kill it.Everyone burst out laughing.Hey great people why laugh when am speaking.Seious when I said men should come to us older women for marriage instead of stalking babies and toddlers .... The comedian who flew all the way from I Nigeria just to support is quite witty.He cracked some great jokes on gender and all I know about him is that he is witty.Always being a comedian requires high degree of intelligence.Our comedian is one with jokes that stay permanently and them you laugh when you need them.There are comedians whose jokes goes like ptu and once said it is gone. Last but not least we had the Chair of the Nigerian community in Cork City coming to give vote of thanks.He is a great man and I have seen him helping out with all his heart. So this is how we are organising mobilising our communities to make a change Be hold as I go take all the correct names -I hate to misspell. ..

Why marry girls instead of brave women like us?