Muzvare Betty Makoni

Muzvare Betty Makoni
CNN Hero and Decade Child Rights Hero

Friday, 16 September 2011

Ten indicators of an empowered girl according to Girl Child Network Worldwide

Girl Child Network Worldwide is working towards a world where girls are:
▪internally motivated and fully engaged
▪self-responsible in creating a life they want
▪authentically communicating with others
▪living with passion, purpose and joy

Designed and developed by Betty Makoni in 1998 and officially launched at Zengeza 1 High school in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe, the girl child empowerment strategy has been tried and tested by GCN for over a decade and has churned out thousands of empowered girls from Zimbabwe and Africa.

The strategy works wonders for girls; some girls who are now women leaders, benefited from it and are now coming to plough back what they benefited. The good thing about empowerment is that it is personally attained and cannot be stolen from an individual. It’s a gift for life, for it is a positive behavioural change. The girls who went through the empowerment process have made it in life. They entered into previously male-dominated fields like engineering, mining, actuarial sciences, medical field, politics etc. Girls are inspired by such mentors.

Girl Child Network definition of empowerment

Empowerment means different things to different people but for GCN, girl child empowerment is defined based on recognizing the cycle of gender based violence that has historically impeded the growth and development of the girl child, as well as suppress the voice of the girl child. Empowerment is therefore a process of providing, facilitating and instilling the means of addressing issues which impede the full growth and development of the girl child in all spheres of home, school and community.


Identifying what is meaningful and important

Developing a compelling vision to provide direction

Belief clearing:
Transforming the limiting thoughts that inevitably arise

Supporting the new beliefs and actions to see results

Instilling – is a way of “drilling” a new set of values through deconstructing previous beliefs, practices and attitudes in the girls and those around them on traditional gender roles of men and women. This is done through confidence building and leadership training workshops.

Providing – this is premised on GCN principle that no meaningful empowerment takes place when basic needs are not made available to girls. Through providing basics to young girls, GCN reduces the degree of vulnerability of girls, to for example, sugar daddies and other economically, socially and politically advantaged members of society. Given the degree of poverty especially in rural areas where 80% of girls are impoverished, access and control of resources is next to none and parents prefer providing resources like educational support to boys than to girls. As such GCN also provides some basics where lives are seriously threatened by poverty. Provision of basics is accompanied with information provision such as on Post Exposure Prophylaxis and other such referrals to other service providers

Facilitating – Allows girls’ clubs and communities to learn the “best practices”. Such strategies as peer to peer counselling training, Train the trainer programmes in governance, management, community group counselling, how to start and run girls clubs, training in self help projects facilitate and leave girls and communities in charge and control of their situation. Sustainability of programs is guaranteed even after GCN has left.

When GCN has instilled, provided and facilitated the “means” the following indicators are evident:
·Individual transformation targeting the girl child for her to assert her rights and deconstruct gender stereotypes
·Instilling a new culture and values on gender equality and equity in communities where the girls are socialized
· Providing such platforms like girls’ clubs and opportunities where girls develop confidence and learn to be in charge and in control
· Providing basic needs for girls in the form of shelter from violence, school fees to facilitate access to education, sanitary ware for realization of reproductive rights, and other such basic needs to decrease the girl child’s vulnerability to abuse.
·Utilisation of acquired information

Girls in GCN clubs are different from other girls because they:
v Have focus
v Are determined to tackle life challenges
v Actively participate in girls’ programs
v Work towards achieving set goals
v Are clear on what career path to take
v Make informed decisions about their future plans
v Prevent and protect themselves from abuse at all costs
v Create one metre space away from potential abusers
v Highly respect GCN values

The yardstick to measure how empowered girls are is very clear and girls understand it. It comprises of 10 indicators of empowerment listed below:
·Identifies and names an abuser
·Articulates and lives up to her rights and ensures they are protected and promoted in the home, school and community
·Develops and lives up to her life goal and vision
·Jealously guards her “one meter space”
·Plans, implements and evaluates gender, HIV and AIDS and Human Rights activities with or without an adult
·Analyzes the status quo and knows which behaviour to apply as each situation arises
·Demonstrates sharp gender analysis skills and applies them in her daily life
Use information provided to her in a positive way
·Loves, respects and appreciates herself
·Communicates effectively and efficiently

This information is brought to you as a voluntary community service by Chief Executive Officer of Girl Child Network Worldwide Betty Makoni via Bulawayo24 iBlog
Girl Child Network Worldwide
Global Center for Girls Empowerment
Essex, UK

Africa chapters
Girl Child Network Zimbabwe
Head Office
131 Duri Road
Unit F
Seke, Chitungwiza
Zengeza Girls Empowerment Centre
Stand No 16352
Zengeza 4
Hwange Mwemba Girls Empowerment Village (Matabeleland South)
Chitsotso Girls Empowerment Village
Chihota Girls Empowerment Village
Girl Child Network Sierra Leone
Girl Child Network South Africa
Girl Child Network Uganda

North America
Girl Child Network Canada
Girl Child Network USA

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