Betty Makoni is a true grass roots community leader who has established the Girl Child Network and brought Africa that much closer to Gender Equality through her work with young sexual abuse victims.
Betty Makoni is founder of the Girl Child Network and is the exemplar of a grass roots community activist who was able to take the immediate issues within her community worldwide. In 1998, Makoni established the Girl Child Network for young sexual abuse victims in Zimbabwe. A high rate of sexual violence has been proliferated throughout Zimbabwe due to the myth espoused by traditional healers that the cure for HIV can be acquired through the rape of a virgin. Makoni has rescued over 35,000 young girls who have fallen victim to rape and has expanded the Girl Child Network to include centers in Kenya, Ethiopia, Swaziland, Malawi, and South Africa. Makoni herself has established four empowerment villages centered around healing and supporting victims of sexual abuse. She is credited with developing a holistic perspective of recovery from sexual abuse for young girls by creating programs which target the development and transformations of the individual girls as well as the evolution of society in support of the recovery, education, and advancement of these young girls. As a champion of the rights of the girl child in Zimbabwe and the rest of the world, Makoni's story exemplifies the way grass roots local efforts can translate into global interest and support. With her passion and zeal for the rights of young girls throughout Africa, Makoni in her own way has forged one of the many pathways that will lead to the accomplishment of the MDGs by 2015, such as MDG 3 for Gender Equality.
For more information on the Girl Child Network and Betty Makoni, please visit their website at: http://www.girlchildnetworkworldwide.org/leadership.html