I am honoured to be Child Rights Decade Hero. I started Girl Child Network a decade ago in Zimbabwe and helped thousands of girls to reach their potential as women leaders. I did this work not for personal gain but to donate who I am to inspire more girls. Today I come to the world to say I am an empowered woman.I blog on what can help an African girl to be what I am today. There is a silent genocide of African girls because of harmful cultural practices.
Muzvare Betty Makoni
CNN Hero and Decade Child Rights Hero
Monday, 24 August 2015
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,iron...to think a girl stopped school for this hey...most girls were rejected by the men and forced back to their parents #BooksfirstBabiesLate