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Project Empowerment - Betty Makoni

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Betty Makoni is a gender rights activist and advocate. She founded the Girl Child Network Zimbabwe (http://girlchildnetworkworldwide.org/) in 1998 and served as its executive director over a decade. GCN is a community-based organization that champions the rights of girls and trains them to learn and defend their rights. During her tenure (which officially ends in August 2009), she established hundreds of girls’ clubs across the country, touched the lives of 300,000 girls and built four empowerment villages to heal and support survivors of sexual abuse. Drawing on her own experience as a child rape survivor, Betty developed a unique girl child empowerment strategy, the first its kind to target the holistic individual transformation of girls as well as the transformation of society to support girls in their recovery, education and advancement. Betty has shared the empowerment model in Ethiopia, Swaziland, Malawi and South Africa, among other places. She is a passionate international speaker and advocate on issues affecting the girl child. She also serves on several boards of nonprofit organizations in Africa and the US. Betty has a BA in English, Shona, Linguistics, University of Zimbabwe and a BA Fourth Year with Special Honors in Theatre Arts and Development, University of Zimbabwe. Betty Makoni is currently a candidate, along with Graca Machel and Nelson Mandela and ten other child rights activists were candidates for the 1999-2009 Children’s Decade Heroes Award. More than 22 million children are voting in 30,000 schools around the world. Betty Makoni was a top ten 2009 CNN Hero.

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