The plight of the girl child

Betty Makoni, a Zimbabwean gender activist who founded the Girl Child Network. Photo by: Betty Makoni

Last week, the world’s attention turned to the plight of the girl child, particularly in the developing world, where they struggle to gain equality in areas such education.

Betty Makoni used to be that girl child. And in an exclusive editorial for Devex on the occasion of the International Day of the Girl Child, Makoni shared how she turned her life around and is now helping others to do the same.

Our readers expressed admiration for the work of Makoni and her organization, Girl Child Network Worldwide.

“It was great to read your story,” Varun Vidyarthi wrote, noting that he also works with children in India. “But I am humbled by the fact that whatever we do seems so little in relation to the magnitude of the problem. We realise that despite all the useful work, we make more enemies than friends. People watch from the sidelines unconcerned. Having good workers is a constant challenge.”

Takashi Ashida agreed with the necessity of providing more scholarship at the university level for underprivileged girls and boys. He noted how “very depressing to see that girls … full of intelligence and motivation I work with at the high school have no means to go to college and end up with pregnancy.”

According Oliver Chapeyama, even if girls are empowered, they still run the risk of growing up poor if there is no appropriate framework for sustainable development in the countries they live in.

“The development of the Sustainable Development Goals for the post-2015 period is the appropriate venue for this discussion here is a challenge to the UN system!” he wrote.

Richard Mutinda, meanwhile, shared some of the challenges of launching a girl child network in a part of Kenya that is prone to conflict.

“We would love to benefit from your experience and wisdom on how to tackle some of the challenges we face in ensuring that the girl child get protection from the abusers and in this case the family members by forcing her to get marriage after taking her through the [female genital mutilation],” he wrote in response to the editorial.

Do you have a story similar to Makoni’s? Check out her op-ed and let us know what you think!

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About the author

  • Eliza Villarino

    Eliza Villarino currently manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.

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