Betty Makoni
Betty Makoni.jpg
BornHazviperi Betty Makoni
(1971-06-22) June 22, 1971 (age 50)
  • Activist
Known forBeing an activist for women and girl child rights
Spouse(s)Irvine Nyamapfene

Hazviperi Betty Makoni who is affectionately known as Betty Makoni is a gender activist and a multi-award winner who was born on 22 June in 1971. She founded the Girl Child Network (GCN) with the sole aim of mitigating the plight of girls and women. She is married to Irvine Nyamapfene and they have three sons.


Makoni grew up in Chitungwiza and she witnessed the death of her mother who was a victim of domestic violence. When she was 6, she was raped together with ten other girls by a business who was residing in their neighbourhood.[1] It was reported that, the businessman was instructed by his traditional healer that the more he sleeps with virgins the more he will amass wealth. Of all the 11 girls who were raped, Makoni managed to survive from the trauma.[1] Makoni's mother died when she was 9 and was thus faced with the daunting task of taking care of her siblings.[2] The fact that she was also a victim of rape fuelled her determination to assist girls. This in turn resulted in the formation of the GCN.

Betty Makoni is now based in the United Kingdom having relocated with her husband in 2009.


She is married to Irvine Perkins Nyamapfene.[3]


Betty Makoni and her husband have three sons, Tinopiwanashe, Spencer and Mukudzeishe.[3]


Makoni was enrolled at Zengeza Primary and later Farai and Chishawasha Mission for her primary education.[4] She did her secondary education at Chishawasha Mission. At the mission, she was offered a work for your school fees scholarship in Form Two because she was unable to raise money for her fees on time.[4] She completed her studies and was one of the best pupils. She was then enrolled at Nagle House in Marondera where she did her Advanced Level studies.[4] Makoni also worked for her school fees.

In 1992, she was at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts General Degree in 1994.[4] She pursued her studies and was enrolled for a Special Honours Degree in Theatre Arts at the UZ and she graduated in 1995.[4] Makoni also holds several certificates and diplomas.[4]

In 2019 she was awarded an honorary doctorate degree by the University of Essex.[5]

Teaching career

Whilst at Nagle House, Makoni was employed as a temporary teacher and this experience was a launch pad which ushered Makoni into the teaching industry. In 1993, she was at Glen View Primary School and in 1994, she was at Nhowe Mission before proceeding to Zengeza 1 High School in 1996 where GCN was born.[6]

Formation of the Girl Child Network (GCN)

When she was at Zengeza 1 High School, Makoni formed the first organisation and or club in the country with the aim of advancing the rights of girls as well as unearthing sex predators. Ten of Makoni's pupils narrated their ordeal of sexual abuse to her. Hence Makoni felt obliged to protect the girl child.[7] By the end of the year, they were about 100 clubs under the network in the country.

In 2000, Makoni resigned from her teaching post to focus more on the GCN. By the end of 2000, they were about 700 clubs under the GCN in the country. Regional countries also began to emulate Makoni and they also founded their own networks drawing inspiration from Makoni's GCN.

In 2007, branches of the GCN were set up in Uganda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, the United States of America (USA) and in the United Kingdom (UK).[7] Makoni was thus the Chief Executive Officer of Girl Child Network Worldwide.

Going into Exile

On 17 March 2008, Makoni relocated to USA and she stated that her life was in danger.[1] This was mainly because the GCN had unearthed and exposed that some senior Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) members were also sexually abusing girls. For instance, Madzibaba Nzira, Reverend Obadiah Musindo and Chris Mushowe.

In 2007, she was arrested together with Mai Chisamba for contravening the Child Protection and Adoption Act after several girls under her GCN narrated their stories during one of Mai Chisamba's shows on the national television.[8] In the wake of all this, Makoni stated that she was running away for her dear life. Makoni also stated that, she was grilled by the police who allegedly accused her of harbouring ambitions of being the president of Zimbabwe.[8]

Theft Accusations

In November 2008, it was reported that Makoni had swindled money donated by the GCN's donors such as Oxfam Novib (based in the Netherlands) amongst others.[9] In November 2009, investigations were reportedly carried out by the donors but the results of the investigations are still yet to be known.[9] These accusations were prompted by the failure of Makoni to clinch the 2009 CNN Heroes Award as it was stated that her defeat was premised on the fact that her organisation was financially incompetent.[9]


  1. Officially Conferred with Muzvare-Her Royal Highness and given a sacred royal shrine- Chitsotso to preside over and protect all girls in Zimbabwe and beyond by Traditional Leadership of Makoni (2001)
  2. Certificate of Honour by Global Philanthropy Forum for being the most Remarkable person, USA (2002)
  3. Small Technical Grant Award for the most innovative Grass roots Community Based Strategy (2002)
  4. Awarded for Creativity in Rural Life by the Women’s World Summit Foundation, Switzerland (2003). Prize Betty Makoni for Prevention of Child Abuse now Renamed Prize for Prevention of Child Abuse is celebrated on 19 November annually
  5. Hafkin Prize Award Finalist (2003)
  6. The United Nations Red Ribbon Award (2006) for addressing gender inequalities that fuel the HIV/AIDS epidemic
  7. Awarded the Zimbabwe Institute of Management National Contribution Award in 2007 immense contribution to the nation
  8. Awarded by the World Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child the Global Friends Award (2007) World Children’s Prize an equivalent to Nobel Prize for Children in (2007) in a Global Vote by 5, 2 million children in 85 countries
  9. Voted First out of Ten Outstanding Young in Zimbabwe (2007) the Junior Chamber Zimbabwe
  10. Finalist One World Person of the Year (2007)
  11. Women Empowerment Award (2007)
  12. Drivers of Change Award — Southern Africa Trust (2007)
  13. Elected Ashoka fellow-—Global leading Social Entrepreneurs in recognition of creative and Entrepreneurial leadership and commitment to make large scale changes in Society (2007)
  14. Amnesty International Ginetta Sagan Award for women and children’s rights, USA (2008)
  15. Runner Up-Director of the Year Award for NGO sector in Zimbabwe (2008)
  16. Honorary award for protecting girls—Defence for children International Canada (2008)
  17. CNN Heroes award for protecting the Powerless (2009) honoured by Sir Richard Benson and UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman
  18. Giraffe Heroes Project Award (2009)
  19. Unsung Heroes of Compassion Award (2009)
  20. Decade Child Rights Hero by the World Children’s Prize alongside Graca Machel and Nelson Mandela—Sweden (2010)
  21. Interaction (Network of USA Non Profits) Humanitarian Award (2010)
  22. The Women in Film and Television Awards USA (2010)
  23. Awarded African Achievers Award - UK (2011)
  24. Honorary Award from Duke University of Medicine (Top Ten US College) (2011)
  25. Crowned Mother and Leader of African Princesses by Her Royal Highness Princess Deun Adedoyin Solarin (2012)
  26. Ambassador of Peace Award-Women Peace Federation (2012)
  27. Life Achievement Award-Africa Community in Scotland (2012)
  28. Zimbabwe International Performers Alliance Global impact award (2012)
  29. Fest Africa global Humanitarian award (2012)
  30. Winner African Goddess Award, USA (2012)
  31. Women for Africa Humanitarian award - UK (2012)
  32. Profile Courage Award by National Black Association of UK (2013)
  33. BEFFTA Humanitarian Award - UK (2013)
  34. Friends of Africa Hall of Fame- Canada (2013)
  35. Selected Amongst Top 100 Diaspora Change Makers in UK (2014)
  36. Women 4 Africa Recognition Award (2014)
  37. DIVA of Colour-Woman of Honour (2014)
  38. Women 4 Africa Lifetime Achievement Award (2017)[10]


  • The Inspiring and Empowering World of Muzvare Betty Makoni (2014)


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Truth About: Betty Makoni, New Zimbabwe, published:13 Oct 2009,retrieved:28 July 2014"
  2. CHILDHOOD AND GROWING UP, Betty Makoni:,retrieved:28 July 2014"
  3. 3.0 3.1 Betty Makoni, Inside Betty Makoni's new book – Nehanda Radio, Nehanda Radio, Published: April 12, 2014, Retrieved: June 22, 2021
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 EDUCATION AND CONTINUED PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, Betty Makoni:,retrieved:28 July 2014"
  5. Graduation 2019: Our Honorary Graduands, University of Essex, Published: Juen 3, 2019, Retrieved: June 22, 2021
  7. 7.0 7.1 FOUNDER OF GIRL CHILD NETWORKS, Betty Makoni:,retrieved:28 July 2014"
  8. 8.0 8.1 Feminst Chronicles: Diary 28: Rebecca Chisamba, MaDube's Reflections, published:31 Jan 2012,retrieved:28 July 2014"
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Tainted Betty Makoni loses CNN hero to a Filipino, Zimbabwe Online Press, published:21 Nov 2009,retrieved:28 July 2014"
  10. Awards, Betty Makoni:,retrieved:28 July 2014"