Girls at Risk Support Unit thrives on support from women and men role models-Betty Makoni

Girls At Risk  provides 24-hour emergency services to abused girls, especially for those who want to disclose abuse following Girl Child Network Worldwide (GCNW) awareness campaigns. GCNW carries out rescues for potential abuse victims, accompanies them to the police, social welfare agencies, and other children’s service and women’s organizations as appropriate. They also provide referrals for legal aid, shelter, counseling, and relocation of rape survivors.  Finally, GCNW conducts self-empowerment courses to aid victims of sexual, physical, emotional, and economic abuse and offers follow-up rehabilitation, scholarships, and reinstatement into school.

Since 1998 to date the Girls-at-Risk Support Program has tracked and tackled over 70,000 cases of child sexual abuse in six of Zimbabwe’s provinces, providing legal and psychosocial support to abused girls and their families, taking a dual approach through prosecution of the abusers and rehabilitation of the abused children.  Most of the girls who have been supported in this way have managed to return to their education, including several who have since completed tertiary education.

In summation, the program provides:

  • Emergency rescue operations for girls at risk. An integral part of GCNW is its Girls’ Empowerment Villages which serve as community – supported safe houses for girls who have been affected by abuse
  • Reinstatement of sexually abused, orphaned, and vulnerable girls into schools
  • Rehabilitation of girls in safer family homes
  • Women As Role Models (WARM) Program to link women achievers with poor girls for educational sponsorship
  • Effective referral service to all survivors of abuse especially rape

Girls’ Empowerment Villages

If a girl child is identified as endangered, the Girls-at-Risk Support Unit undertakes several strategic interventions and may implement emergency services. The unit undertakes emergency rescue missions, rehabilitation, and reintegration of girls-at-risk as well as providing access to education for survivors of abuse. The unit may also place particularly vulnerable girls within Girls’ Empowerment Villages. These are safe and secure havens for girls within the rural communities of Zimbabwe that are run by professional social workers. They allow girls to heal from abuse and get referrals from police, social services, and the judicial system. In addition, girls can access medical attention, psychological support, education, training, empowerment, and justice. The village enables victimized girls to transform into survivors and leaders. It acts to shelter and protect girls, allows for information exchange involving counseling and rehabilitation, and acts as a social support system. These villages include actual physical space with dormitories and a center where girls can gather. We will increase the number of Girls’ Empowerment Villages from the current 4, all in Zimbabwe, to a total of 8. The 4 additional villages will be located in Uganda, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa.

Women As Role Models (WARM) Program

There are many influential women who want to make a difference in the lives of girls. WARM intends to mobilize women to do small acts of charity in their own communities in order to support disadvantaged girls, especially in Africa. A woman role model is one who is a great leader and achiever in all spheres of her life. She is best described as a female who has worked hard to overcome patriarchy and works as an equal partner with men in her field and inspires girls to achieve the same through moral and financial support. A woman role model is a clear example of a leader who, through sheer hard work and determination, has overcome numerous obstacles to achieve success educationally, socially, economically, and politically.

Activities include:

  • Mobilising women role models to fundraise for girls in poor countries
  • Visiting schools and registering girls to donate one dollar per year to support girls education in poor countries
  • Connecting with a group of girls within a poor country and making donations such as soap, books, clothes and other such basic necessities.

GCNW has achieved a lot for the girl child with the help of women role models. Over the years we have seen many more women responding favorably to uplift girl children. WARM has greatly enriched GCNW as it is evident that women and girls work much closer together than before. Any woman who has made a difference in the girls’ lives is invited to receive a certificate of recognition for the fact that she has made significant contributions to GCNW

If you want to join this program please email on ceo@girlchildnetworkworldwide.org